Ayako* is a junior in a Japanese high school. She enjoys studying, but her favorite time at school is the taekwondo club that meets after school. Her parents are not Christians, and she has never read the Bible or gone to a church.
Recently Yoriko, a Christian taekwondo athlete who won a bronze medal at the Olympics some years ago, hosted a sports clinic on a national holiday in a park in Ayako’s neighborhood. Ayako couldn’t believe that such a famous athlete was visiting her hometown, and she was the first one to sign up.
During the clinic, Yoriko didn’t just teach taekwondo. She also talked about her faith in Jesus Christ, and what it means to be a Christian athlete at a world-class level. All the participants listened attentively to everything they heard. Ayako didn’t understand everything that was said about the Christian faith, but it did make her curious to know more.
Sports ministry in Japan
Surveys show that around 70% of Japanese people participate in some kind of sports. Testimonies of well-known athletes like Yoriko is just one way Christians in Japan are using sports ministry to reach those who do not know Jesus Christ.
Pray that sports ministry outreach will not just be one-time events, but that churches will find effective ways to follow up with new contacts like Ayako. And pray that seeds of the gospel will fall on receptive soil.
Because of the pandemic situation, most sports clinics like these have been cancelled this year. Let’s pray that they can be held again soon and will reach many new Japanese people.
By Ralph, an OMF missionary
*Ayako is a pseudonym