“I don’t have anyone except Jesus!” was Mrs N’s response when asked if she trusted in the Lord. She has been on a rough journey: diagnosed with late stage cancer and undergoing treatment and surgery only to have it return several times, each more difficult to treat. This diagnosis and her falling out with her family is what brought her to seek Jesus through our Ladies bible study.
However, as she shared more with us, we learned that she had come to some Christian events in her town when she was a child. Long before a church existed there, missionaries had worked to reach out in the area and it seems she had attended some of these events.
We have been serving in our town in rural Japan for just over a year now. The town’s population is gradually decreasing. Children and young people are decreasing in number more than any other demographic and those who do grow up here will most likely move away to continue their education and find work.
In the face of this we might wonder if there is any point in putting any energy into children’s ministry and reaching out to young families. But time and time again we hear testimonies, like Mrs N’s, of believers whose first encounter with Jesus was as a child. For some it is a one-off children’s event, but others come to regular classes or activities.
Hearing these testimonies has encouraged us to persevere in reaching out to children in this small rural town. Of course we pray that we might see these kids and their families come to saving faith! But we also pray that those we don’t see will return in the future to the truths they have learned and, like Mrs N, find their strength, comfort, and hope in Jesus.
By Emily and John