Encouraging missionaries in Japan

At the end of February we attend two days of encouraging meetings. Both were connected to the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association’s (JEMA) annual meetings. JEMA has 44 member missions and just over 1,000 missionaries linked to it. The organisation has served missionaries in Japan for over 60 years for the purpose of networking and equipping missionaries to make disciples for Christ.

First day

We began the day with a roll call of agencies including Lutherans from Norway, Baptists from America, interdenominational international missions like OMF, and everything in between: all serving Jesus in Japan. What an encouragement!

We heard reports of JEMA’s ministries, including a ministry to encourage women missionaries, a prayer ministry, and a big ministry to equip missionaries in church planting. These all help us do what we do for Jesus in Japan better. Great!

JEMA also has other groups they call endorsed ministries—about them JEMA says ‘”These are really good, get involved and get behind them.” Three that we heard about in February were:

  • a share house ministry that provides accommodation for short term mission teams and other Christians,
  • a media ministry that produces great videos, and
  • a ministry to prevent child trafficking and to care for children in need.

Hearing about these ministries inspired us. God’s people in Japan are doing great work!

Second day

This day my wife, Janet, got to present the results of her Masters dissertation on Member care in Japan.

Packed around tables in a small room, 45 missionaries and mission leaders spent the whole day thinking, talking, and praying about how to prevent missionary loss and how to encourage missionary longevity in Japan.

They thought about the results—”What does it mean that God’s call is the number one factor that keeps people serving in Japan?” They guessed the most important on-field training factor is language study.

Participants also looked at their own lives in the light of the thesis. They thought about developing a personal care plan—so that they could stay longer serving Jesus in Japan.

They also got together in mission-agency groups and thought about how their organisations might encourage long term service.

There was a buzz in the room all day and the feedback afterwards was great—“This is just the kind of thing we need!” “Can I read the dissertation please?”

That 45 missionaries and mission leaders would take a whole day to think and talk about the care of themselves and their colleagues is just great.

Be encouraged

Two great days. Lots of encouragement. And for readers of this blog post too—be encouraged too. God’s people are doing good work in Japan and they want to continue doing so.

By Peter, an OMF Japan missionary

Photo: six of the eight JEMA leaders who were present in the meetings in February

Will you pray for Japan?

  • That missionaries would continue to seek to look after themselves and one another with the view of longevity of ministry in Japan.
  • For JEMA’s ministries of networking and encouraging missionaries, that they would be wise in all they do.
  • For the encouragement of missionaries in general.

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