Hokkaido is the biggest and most northern prefecture of Japan. It’s famous for the abundance and diversity of its natural resources. The biggest industries on the island are agriculture, fishing and farming, and tourism. The great diversity of scenic view and activities in different seasons are the most attractive point of Hokkaido. It continues to be ranked as the most popular area in Japan among Japanese people.
OMF also has a great diversity of ministries in Hokkaido. We have three main areas of ministry: church planting ministry, supporting local Japanese churches, and parachurch ministry.
Church planting ministry
At the end of 2021, five church planting projects were in progress. The Hiragishi Izumi church is a church plant project in Sapporo aiming to share Jesus locally. In Nayoro, one of the biggest cities in the north of Hokkaido, OMF works together with a Japanese denomination (JECA) in the Nayoro Grace Chapel church plant. Our missionaries have teamed up with a Japanese pastor and his family to outreach to Nayoro city and surrounding areas. Three other church planting projects that use creative methods are also on going in Sapporo City—the Kibō network, COEN Bible Community, and Maeda House Church.
Supporting local Japanese churches
OMF highly values walking alongside as well as working with Japanese churches. In the last 50 years we thank the Lord for providing many opportunities to work together with local churches. Recently, 12 missionaries have worked in established churches to help them with evangelism and discipleship. At the same time, we also learn from our partners. Working alongside the local churches requires a lot of communication and mutual understanding, but it can result in both sustainability and long-term blessing to local churches.
We also have missionaries involved in theological education (Hokkaido Bible Institute), university student ministry (fmZero), sports ministry, wedding ministry, and ministry in a Christian school. All of these ministries aim to share the gospel and funnel Christian and non-Christian into local churches, as well as help to build up Christian workers.
What’s the highlight of OMF’s ministry in Hokkaido?
The highlight of our ministry is knowing, loving, and supporting each other. As a mission community, our ministries are not isolated. We have a lot of diversity in our members, so it is not a surprise that we have so many differences, but in God’s love, we aim for three things: understanding each other, loving each other, and supporting each other.
By Edwin, an OMF missionary