Japan Day 6

Today we experienced Shiogama and the neighborhood where Robert and Roberta live and serve.

We started by meeting the leadership of SBBC and looking around the church building. It is a mega church in Japan. Weekly attendance in services is around 100 people. This congregation is currently actively planting 6 new churches. These new churches will not be filled with Christians who transfer their membership from another church or from the larger congregation, but rather with converts who meet Jesus and become new believers. Each congregation is becoming a new place where God’s name is known.

Next Robert took us to the 1200-year old Shiogama Shrine complex. Psalm 115 describes exactly what was happening in this modern day technologically advanced country of Japan as worshipers came to ring the bell and clap to wake up the god before hanging their prayers on the line. Many of us felt the spiritual oppression as the priests performed a ritual.

We prayed.

After lunch we walked around the Adair’s neighborhood. Benjamin and Joseph were excited to show us their neighborhood children’s center, a place where many families connect. Through translation we were able to meet a few of the staff there. Robert and Roberta are respected here and are asked to participate. Recently, they were the only parents asked to chaperone an important overnight field trip with some of the older children. Robert presented a message from the Bible about light and dark.

Another important place in the neighborhood is the Fujikura church plant building. Their sponsoring church, SBBC, has a long history of desiring to see the kingdom of God take root in this place. They have owned the building for many years. Some neighbors remember going to the building for Christian activities as children. Now once again, there is an outreach there and a small group of worshipers who meet a few times a month.

We prayed.

Robert and Roberta and their church family are doing the hard work of daily connecting with people, ministering to their felt needs and offering opportunities to intersect with the gospel of Christ here in this town and this neighborhood.

We ended our afternoon by hiking up and over “Shiogama Rock” where we could see the harbor from the top and ending in a park where the victims of the tsunami are memorialized on a stone. Along the way we encountered a small shrine where people had left gifts to whichever god lived there in hopes of an answered prayer.

We prayed.

All along the way we prayed that the God of the universe would send His Spirit to these people and places we crossed paths with today.