News & Stories


Our church is growing, but our building is old

Sapporo International Church (SIC) is in the city center of Sapporo, not far from Hokkaido University. The urban location opens opportunities to minister to students, academics, and workers from a variety of backgrounds. SIC began as an OMF church plant, and continues to collaborate closely with OMF missionaries.

As OMF, we aim to plant churches like SIC that become independent. However, many Japanese churches face major challenges with new building projects and raising finances. An OMF Friend serving at SIC shares how the church is grappling with this issue as they launch a building project.

Hello, I’m Elijah Caldwell. God called me to Japan as a tentmaker missionary—to leave my country of origin to be an active witness in the workforce abroad, and to actively help and support other missionaries and local Christians. For the last 4 and half years, I have lived in Sapporo, Japan’s 4th largest city, in the snowy north island of Hokkaido.

I consider SIC my home church. Started in 1984, we now have services in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and English. It’s really a blessing to worship with 150+ brothers and sisters from around the world who call the church home.

SIC started small and through God’s blessing grew. We had the privilege of buying a 3-story building that was previously a shop, office, and house all combined. We renovated it into the church building that it is today.

But that was a while ago, and now the building is in need of constant repairs. Sometimes pipes break, the roof leaks, and rooms must be closed off for repairs and damage clean-up. There is no elevator for easy access, and the building can be very cold in the winter. However, God’s blessing abounds! Our congregation keeps growing — growing so much so that the space is becoming cramped. However, the biggest issue facing our current building is something I didn’t think of often as someone from the east coast of the US.

The biggest issue is earthquakes. The current building is right on the fence for meeting the government’s new earthquake requirements for public buildings. It’s barely ok for now, but in a few years it will be considered unsafe.

We are currently praying for and working on building a new church building by 2027. However, the cost is immense. Although we have 11% of the total funds we need, 89% remains. We are in constant prayer for the Lord’s provision.

As an international church, we can connect to God’s family around the world, asking them to pray with us and potentially support us. Please pray for us and many other churches in Japan facing similar situations.

We always welcome visitors, so if you ever come to Sapporo, we would love to meet you!

By Elijah Caldwell, an OMF Friend

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.