Greetings from Japan, friends!

I am writing from Katsuta Church in Hitachinaka, outside of Mito City (a bumpy two and a half hour bus ride from Narita International Airport in Tokyo). I am leading a team of five people from our church community in San Diego for a twelve-day outreach in Japan.

While less than 1% of the population here follows Christ, we are privileged to be partnering with a beautiful church here. The congregation here has been nothing but hospitable, warm and gracious — and we see in them a vibrant faith that is often missing back home.

We did not come here with any colonial notions of “bringing Jesus” to the “pagans” of this nation. In fact, we have tried to maintain a missional mindset from the get-go: God is already at work in the world, and we are simply participating in whatever He asks us to do. And it has been very clear that much of our work here will be as learners.

Katstuta Church planted a church in a nearby city, Ohmiya, a couple of years ago. I had the privilege of sharing my testimony there this morning. At first glance, the church might seem small — only about ten adults and four children. However, consider that they are the first and only Christian church in the city. In this light, the two people who have given their lives to Christ and been baptized through the ministry of this church are nothing short of a revolution. Our church has a lot to learn from their example.

One really great phrase I have heard throughout the day here is the word Subarashi for the Gospel. Subarashi can be translated as “wonderful, awesome, great.” I often hear that phrase used in animes — so it definitely tickled my ears to hear it used during a church service. But more than that, I love that image of the message of Christ as wonderful, awesome and great — subarashi news!

I will try posting photos tomorrow (I foolishly left my memory card reader — and camera charger! — at home). Please keep our team and this church in prayer if you have the chance. More updates soon!

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