News & Stories


Empty chairs but a heart full of hope in Japan

I can still remember what he looked like, standing there posing for the photo I was about to take. He’d been in the Self-Defense Forces, flown over Hokkaido countless times. Now he was standing here in front of me, the only remaining member of this church. Next to me were 30 empty chairs, neatly cleaned and arranged ready for Sunday service. Oh, how much I longed to be able to tell him that OMF would send him missionary support.

What had happened? It was his wife who had gone to Bible college and had a strong vision to plant a church. Which by itself is unusual, but even more that she went and did it. Initially, the small church plant met in a few shipping containers put together, but soon the congregation grew and they were able to build a really nice country church building. She pastored the church while he continued serving in the Self-Defense Forces. However, after some years, she became ill and eventually passed away, leaving behind her husband and a small congregation.

The church continued to meet—listening to sermons from CDs and the occasional guest preacher, but one by one the members of the congregation moved away or passed away. Until there was only the proud man left behind who was standing in front of me, smiling into the camera. Every week, he produces a weekly bulletin, prays the Lord’s Prayer, sings hymns, and listens to a sermon downloaded from the internet. And hopes that someone would join him for the service the next Sunday.

Can—or should—OMF support this man in his stubborn quest to bring people back to this church? How would we go about it?

As I pondered these thoughts, I also realized the opportunities we had there: a complete church building with several meeting rooms, many chances to reach out into the community, and the obligation to bring Christ to this small town without any other church.

And so I began praying for this church, for this man, and for the situation. I prayed that people would join the congregation again and that God would call missionaries to Japan who are willing and able to serve in such a church. Would you join me in prayer, so that God’s name will be glorified again in this place?

—By Samuel, an OMF missionary

Will you pray for Japan?

  • Pray for this church, and others like it, that people would join the congregation again, and that God would call people who are willing and able to serve there.
  • Pray for wisdom for OMF Japan’s leaders as they receive requests like this to send missionaries.
  • Pray that God’s church would thrive in Japan—that many would come to faith in Christ and that his name would be known throughout the land.

Share this post

Get Involved

Have Questions? Send us an email.

To help you serve better, kindly fill all the fields (required). Your query will be routed to the relevant OMF team.

Contact Form

By clicking Submit, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with the terms in our Privacy Policy.

You’re on the OMF International website.
We have a network of centres across the world.
If your country/region is not listed, please select our International website.