30 Sep 2019
In September of this year Cairns Family Church conducted its first international Missions trip to Japan. We sent a team of seven youth and young adults to outreach with and minister at Lifehouse Sapporo. (Lifehouse is a group of nearly 20 contemporary churches in Japan associated with the ACC).
Firstly our team spent two days in Tokyo and visited the mother church there. We were lucky enough to be flying up to the North Island the very day that they had a Typhoon which grounded all flights. Instead we went via the 8 hour bullet train ride into Sapporo (the capital city of the North Island with a population of 2 million)
In being briefed for the week of outreach to come we were explained about the state of Japan. When surveyed the most common response of young people in Japan was that they had either one or none significant friends. This coupled with the incredibly high demand of workplaces sheds light into the country's 30,000 suicides each year.
Furthermore, Japan is a place of rich culture and history. A majority of Japanese have a culture of Shintoist or Buddhism but only hold to the notions of superstition and tradition while being closer aligned with atheism or agnosticism.
While technically around 1% of the population identifies as Christian, that statistic includes the Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses and all other Christian derived religions which are common in Japan. The true number of spirit filled believers is very low.
However Japan has religious freedom and is a tinderbox ready for Revival.
Our main method of outreach was sports in the park or card games in cafes. While Japanese reject the relevance of Western religion immediately, they love foreigners and are very open (and excited!) to making an international friend.
We would invite those young people around us to join us in our games with a very high participation rate. Over the week we connected with over 100 individuals.
After getting to know them, we would ask to get a photo with them (which they were always super excited for) and then tag them through Instagram. This creates a lasting connection with them. We would then invite them to our Sunday afternoon Australian themed party and church beforehand.
On the Sunday we had three come from our outreach and some others come through connections with church members. All three who came responded to the salvation call! This was very exciting for both our team and the local church.
Our Australian party was a lot of fun with fairy bread, Vegiemite, Tim Tams, Milo and more. We played some of our youth games like Hopscotch Paper Scissors Rock, which they loved.
We plan to continue visiting the church in Sapporo every year and feel God saying that he has an incredible harvest there.
Japan is very underreached and the prevailing church mindset is that it is not a mission's field. However, it is not just for holidays, it is filled with 180 million people who need to hear the Gospel. Please pray for Japan because its need is great and the opportunity greater.