Japan During the Holidays

Dawn Birkner posted this important prayer request:
“Will you join me in praying that many of the Christians living in urban Japan who will go to see relatives in home towns throughout rural Japan for the New Years holiday season will have the boldness to sensitively share Jesus with them this time. If you are in an urban church and know someone returning for the holidays to a rural hometown, maybe you could encourage them and pray for them in that regard?”

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Operation Japan Prayer

Yesterday I started a Facebook group called Operation Japan Prayer. The purpose of this group is to help us to pray daily during 2012 for Japan using Operation Japan.

Let me give you a little background concerning the prayer guide, which is now only available in CD format.

It was about 1995 when the Lord put it on the hearts of a handful of people that Japan desperately needed a prayer guide that would help people to pray for the whole country of Japan, not just for a particular denomination or para-church organization, not just for a particular part of Japan, but for all of Japan. An Operation Japan Publishing Committee was formed with the blessing of the Japan Evangelical Association (JEA) and the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association (JEMA). Rev. Mitsuo Mitsumori and the Church Information Service (CIS) spent months putting together the calendar of requests, and the information needed. It was then translated into English and the first editions in Japanese and English were published in 1997. A combined total of about 15,000 copies were printed.

Then three years later the second edition was printed in Japanese, English and Korean. Rev. Mitsumori again served as editor of the Japanese edition, Yeong Sang Cho, a Campus Crusade for Christ missionary served as the Korean editor, and I (Don Wright continued with the English oversight.

In 2005 the third edition was published in English only. These three English editions were were under the supervision of JEMA, for which we are very thankful. Each of these editions had their unique characteristics, put followed the basic structure that Rev. Mitsumori had engineered.

Since 2005 Japan and the missionary community has changed. There was need for an updated edition, but JEMA was not able to continue their cooperation. So the format has changed from a hard copy to a browser friendly html format that is contained in one CD. Operation Japan has moved from a 96 page hard copy to a huge 700 MB copy, full of updated and expanded information, pictures and illustrations, and with an abundance of internet links. It has become a unique tool for information and prayer.

That’s the short version of Operation Japan. We praise God for what He has done. We hope that many will join us for this year long prayer time using OJ.

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Keep praying for Japan

The Japan Today News reported today the following: “As of August 1, 2011 the government reported that 20,425 people were either dead or missing, while more than 90,000 people remained displaced because of the tsunami and the ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushim Daiichi plant.” Continue to pray for God’s special grace.

I noted the other day that Asian Access along with other organizations are praying and seeking to start a church in each of the 86 devistated communities in Japan.

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A New Discovery

When JoAnn and I were in Japan, one of the opportunities to serve was to edit the Japan Update newsletter for Japan Evangelical Association. It was the one English publication for JEA so it was an honor to serve that way. And the opportunity allowed me to connect with Japanese and international church leaders who came to Japan.

The newsletter continues under better leadership. The other day I happened to check the JEA website and was excited to see that they are now posting Japan Update. Let me recommend you download these PDF files. You will find them very informative.  Go to JEA and you will see “Japan Update on the left sidebar. Right now there are ten editions dating from the Fall, 2005 edition to the Fall, 2010 edition.

Here are some highlights:
Fall 2010 Edition: Pastor Katsuhiko Seino of the Tsuchiura Megumi Church shares how to have Christian funeral in Japan.
Spring 2010 Edition: Reports on the 5th Japan Congress on Evangelism.
Fall, 2009 Edition: Reports on the 150th Anniversary of Protestant Missions in Japan.

And much more. The back several pages of each edition is full of Christian news stories from Japan.


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Reaching Japanese

A pastor in Brazil asked me today about how best to reach Japanese for Jesus. Here are a few things I sent out.  What would you have said?

  1. Pray much. Trust Jesus to guide.
  2. Find out where Japanese are. Are they in schools, businesses, tourist locations?
  3. Establish good personal contacts.   Some times language classes, cultural events, home stays help.  Find out how you can be of help to them.
  4. Have fun.
  5. Share Jesus.

    1. Take your time and explain the gospel over a number of times.
    2. Since Japan is a group society, it is often good to meet in groups, especially with Japanese Christians.
    3. Ask questions about what the person believes.
  6. When they make a decision:

    1. Celebrate.
    2. Encourage them.
    3. Be sure to check concerning what kind of a decision they have made, and help them to make the right decision.
    4. If they will recturn to Japan make sure that you prepare them to return, and help them to make good connections in Japan.
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RJC Items

I am sending out the latest RJC Network EMail right now. It includes an opportunity for a paid interpreting job with Samaritan’s Purse, working in the Tohoku area. Also, several ministry resources, including a paper by Don Urquhart listing various ways we can be involved with Japanese ministries, and information about Samuel Lee’s latest edition of his popular book, Understanding Japan Through the Eyes of Christian Faith. If you are interested, let me know.

Also, you might want to know why I have not been writing additional “Rules of Thumb.” Hopefully I will continue these when I find my outline. Perhaps the title will be “DON’T LOOSE THINGS.”

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Continue to pray

This morning three things came across my computer. One email told of a missionary friend in Japan who was leaving tomorrow (Monday) with a team of nine to help in the clean-up work.   Lord,bless their ministry.

A second was a news report of a 7.0 “aftershock” that hit off the Tohoku coast this morning, Sunday. Lord, help those who are struggling to put their lives back together, and help the Christians who seek to serve them.

A third was the report of how the high temperatures were affecting the relief workers. The high temperatures, the lack of shade, and the lack of running water in many places are causing health problems for these workers. Lord, give special strength for these.

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Great Videos and Audios

For the last few days I have been doing something I should have been doing five months ago. I have uploaded most all the videos and audios from our 10th annual International RJC Conferenc in February. RJC Videos and Audios.

Here is a quick list:
Two Video Presentations of Jack and Keiko Marshall.
Two Video Presentations of Yusaku Ota.
Seven Audios in Basics in Ministry Track, including Japan from the Outside In-Dennis Peters, Literature Tools for Evangelism-Don Regier, Manga Tools for Evangelism-Roald Lidal, Outstanding Christian Leaders-Roberta Peabody, Outstanding Past Christian Leaders-Izumi Araki, Preparing Them to Return-Ken Milhous
Five Audios in Ministry Issues.
Four Audios on Christian Life (Japanese only).
Four Audio Workshops.

Enjoy! And let me know your feedback.

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Rules of Thumb #14 Sinner, Saint and Servant

I discovered this little outline after we returned from Japan, but I have found it extremely helpful as I think of ministry and my personal faith walk. The outline comes from Philippians chapter 1. The second and third words are clearly stated in chapter one, verse one. The first word, “sinner,” seeps through all of Paul’s writings.

We know that we are sinners, imperfect and quick to stray from God’s paths, but in the excitement of ministry it is easily forgotten.

This word reminds us that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection we have become completely forgiven, perfect before the Lord. The word allows us access to the Lord’s mercy and blessing.

This word can arrange our daily schedule, our priorities and life style. This day is yours, Lord.

These three words have become part of my daily devotional time. I try to look in the mirror at the beginning of the day and say, “Wright, you are a sinner! You will most likely foul things up, say the wrong words, and miss God’s wonderful plan.”

“Wright, you are a saint! No slouching allowed. Your sins have been cleaned up because of Jesus, and today you can be confident that I am with you. Be bold in your saintly work.”

“Wright, you are a servant! Today is another opportunity to serve Jesus and serve one another.”

Leaving one of these out, or concentrating on one more than the other hinders our ministry!

Join with me in the Triple S Club

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Christ is All!

Recently I started back through David Bryant’s classic, “Christ is All.” His sub-title is “A Joyful Manifesto on The Supremacy of God’s Son.”

This book is a great reminder that RJC needs to have the C (Christ) in bold, huge font size. It is only He who makes the “Reaching” meaningful. And it is only He who can give meaning and hope to the “Japanese.”

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