My 2013 Japan Trip In Less Than 4 Minutes


I didn’t take as much video once my family came (footage with Ian Nagata and Pastor Joshua Hari’s family is nonexistent). As such, this video is not exhaustive of everything I experienced, but hopefully this gives you a glimpse into my journey through Japan.

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Reflections on Japan

Reflections on Japan

In 2004, I applied to go on a short-term summer missions trip to Japan. I had developed a heart for Japan after serving as the Missionary Support Group leader to a certain Ian Nagata, who had gone to Japan on a summer team about a year earlier.

There were not enough people to send a team to Japan that year, so I was redirected to E. Asia, where I would eventually return on five different occasions. I was able to embark on ministry trips to other countries since then, just not Japan.

That was until a couple of weeks ago, when the Lord allowed me to finally visit Japan, particularly the Sendai, Nagoya and Tokyo areas over the course of three weeks. Here are my reflections on the time: Continue reading “Reflections on Japan”

For Such a Time as This

Fuji,_Japan_-_Cherry_Blossoms_and_Mount
Wait.

That was what Elliott Snuggs of Asian Access advised after the tsunami hit Japan in 2011. Though it was difficult seeing other churches heading out to the devastated Tohoku region, we waited.

On May 7-29, we will embark on the biggest surge of ministry overseas in recent memory. And it all came about by waiting.

Last September, we sent out our worship pastor Ian Nagata to roam the land of Japan to discern his long-term ministry there. A few weeks later, we commissioned Garrett Inouye for a two-year term with Asian Access as a church planting associate in the Tohoku region.

The Prayer Council had been praying for a missions trip where they could train up churches in prayer ministry. They were invited by Asian Access to do prayer ministry at their annual staff and missionary retreat in Japan this year. However, Pastor Ron was hesitant about committing until they heard who the speaker was going to be.

When Pastor Cory was asked by Asian Access to speak at their retreat, he was open yet reluctant, because of his reluctance to travel. When he heard members of the Prayer Council were invited, he knew God may be calling him and his wife Reine to Japan.

Elliott had asked me if I wanted to attend the retreat but I saw no reason to, until I found out Pastor Cory, Auntie Reine and members of the Prayer Council were going. I asked Pastor Ron if I could be an honorary Prayer Council member and assist in their ministry, as I already made a promise to Ian and Garrett that I would visit them within their first six months in Japan.

After the retreat, Pastor Cory will be speaking to various groups of pastors in the Tohoku region. This came about due to the impactful time of sharing he had with a visiting group of pastors from Japan on the day Garrett was commissioned. The prayer team will train churches in the Tohouku region in prayer ministry. I will spend a week with Garrett and pay for my family to come join me to see Garrett’s church and thank the individuals and families that have supported him. We will visit Kelly’s family in Nagoya during the following week and then head to Tokyo on the weekend to visit Ian, his church and also thank the individuals and families that have supported him.

I believe it is because we waited, that God has allowed us to embark on ministries with a longer projected impact than if we had simply responded right after the tsunami. We are heading into the Tohoku region when all the major relief organizations have pulled out.

Even prior to the tsunami, our ministry in Japan had grown dormant to the point where people were questioning whether we were even called to Japan. But our ministry in Japan is not done.

God just wanted us to wait for such a time as this.

Meet Evergreener Garrett Inouye -Asian Access/SIM Missionary to Japan

When I initially took on this position at Evergreen SGV, my prayer was that God would raise up full-time overseas missionaries within our church. Soon after, I met with Garrett Inouye (who I remembered as a high school student) and he shared how God had called him to Japan.

We began to meet regularly for over a year in preparation for Garrett going on the field and now he is officially approved as an Asian Access/SIM missionary and is currently raising support so he can go on the field for his initial two-year term.

Garrett is currently an Outreach intern at Evergreen SGV and is also overseeing the college ministry, “the Floor”, as part of his preparation for Japan. He has been a great encouragement to me as I have been blessed by his passion for the Lord, his faith to venture out and his heart of mercy for others (he is also one of the funniest guys I know).

Recently, I was able to catch up with Garrett regarding the journey God has taken him on: Continue reading “Meet Evergreener Garrett Inouye -Asian Access/SIM Missionary to Japan”

Don’t forget about Japan (updated)

Yesterday, I had the privilege of hearing Rev. Akira Sato from Fukushima First Baptist Church at a function hosted by Asian Access at Evergreen SGV. It was eye opening to hear Rev. Sato share firsthand experiences with his church being just a few miles from the nuclear reactor site, as most of what we hear about the tsunami devastated areas are just cold figures and statistics.

Among the things I learned from the talk that we can keep in prayer are:

  • Discrimination is common against people from Fukushima, where parking lots, restaurants and even hospitals refuse people because they are from Fukushima.
  • Deaths are common after the disaster as Rev. Sato shared about a constant cycle of sermons, baptisms and funerals.
  • Workers at the nuclear reactor site are viewed as the reason for the disaster and so apologize profusely to residents. Even relatives of workers apologize on their behalf. You can imagine what sort of issue this is in a shame filled society.
  • People from evacuated areas are literally dispersed throughout Japan. Those who want to move back in the area are discriminated against and even denied.

Throughout this all, I was encouraged by the blessings Rev. Sato realized having gone through this disaster. He shared that little things now bring great joy such as being able to take a shower or being able to eat warm food. He believes the tsunami effectively knocked down previous barriers existing between churches and communities, denominational barriers between churches and barriers between Japan and the rest of the world. Finally, he shared that he knows of no other time in history when the Church around the world has prayed this much for Japan.

Let’s continue to pray for Japan.

Rev. Sato recently purchased land for the church to rebuild near the Fukushima area. It is fitting that one of the founding themes for this new church is “resurrection”. Read his reflections on his experience here (click on the English button)

Visit the Asian Access website to see where Rev. Sato will be sharing next in the Southern California Area.