Japan is a thriving, bustling country, and Tokyo is its thriving, bustling core. At some intersections in Tokyo, every green light sees more than 3,000 pedestrians go by! Estimates put the population of Tokyo between 20-30 million people. (Keep in mind that the population of Canada is just higher than those estimates!) But in all of Japan, less than 1% of people are Christian.

Dale and Ann have reported that the church they work with, Musashino Chapel Centre (MCC), has voted unanimously to work toward another church plant in Tokyo. Called Tokyo Multi-Cultural Church (TMCC), it has a remarkably different concept behind it.

A great number of people have moved to Japan from a host of other countries, and they stay connected with their smaller subcultures within Tokyo. These groups are longing for a meaningful faith connection. The concept of the TMCC would connect with that goal. It will be a primarily English-speaking church, because that gives the greatest level of inclusiveness for the international community.

The church is Japan has its own unique flavour. There are a few specific advantages:

  • Strong vibrant, internal relationships
  • Generous time commitments both from pastors and lay people

But there are some specific disadvantages too:

  • Little commitment to personal evangelism
  • Pastor-centred leadership style, rather than individual empowerment
  • Little vision for impact and growth — the missional emphasis is missing
  • Lay involvement in ministry is low
  • Little engagement with external society

TMCC will seek to embrace the best of Japanese culture, as it embraces a push toward dynamic personal outreach and ministry.

Dale and Ann will be highlighting the vision and the potential of TMCC as they begin Home Assignment in the next couple of months. Please pray for them as they make preparations for this new church plant. It is a vision that will likely involve churches in several countries around the world, not just Japan, and it will take a concerted effort to get it to achieve its full potential.

If you’d like to keep up with their site directly, this is a good place to start.

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Our missionaries Kurt and Akane who run an English school in Nagoya, Japan are seeking someone to join them in ministry for at least one year starting September 2010. Applications must be processed immediately as it take some time to acquire the proper visas and to be accepted both as a missionary with the EFCCM and employee with the school. Please pray that this need will be met. Help us by spreading the word in your churches and among students and others who may be interested in this opportunity.

If you are personally interested in this opportunity, please let us know.

We’re highlighting this in our blog because it’s especially pressing, and we need to find someone quickly. But there are lots of opportunities not posted here. If you’d like to see them, please click here.

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Many of you probably know that Randy coordinated the Journey house church plant in Langley, BC. In the last few months he and his family have made the transition to Thailand where he is continuing to share the vision of the Journey in a population that is mostly non-Christian. He’s maintaining an informative blog — and I thought it’s worth letting you know about it.

You can find it by clicking here.

Laura (serving in Japan) recently had surgery to remove a cancerous lump and 11 lymph nodes.  She will begin chemotherapy on October 13th. It seems like doctors caught this early enough that the long-term outlook is positive, but they felt that there is need for systemic treatment.

Please pray for guidance of the medical team, for Laura’s peace at this time, and for her full recovery. We would very much like to see her working back in Japan, and we’re sure she would too.

The 1yr milestone was reached on May 11th. (Click here for an emotive story I found about it.) Our workers in health education and community development are continuing to offer support to the affected region.

“During the earlier part of the Earthquake outreach we purchased a portable microphone sound system which could be used for the many fun camps. Recently we discussed offering Saturday morning cartoons or movies at the Earthquake Schools. So my national partner discussed it with a principal who immediately gave him a digital projector! So now my friend can bring this treat on his supervision rounds throughout the many sites.”

Our health education team distributes free ‘movie passes’ to children in the area — that seems to work better than just offering an open invitation — and is using these times to encourage increased connection between the families and the team. In amongst the available cartoons they have at their disposal, there is even a collection of Old Testament cartoons. More than just building a bridge into the community, these cartoons themselves may offer an introduction to the God who can bring hope and heal lives.

But wait, there’s more!

“Another development is an NGO which focused more on medical projects and village doctor training for years had a large quantity of basic health books printed for earthquake survivors. They recently offered 500 books so now may we pray that those workers who have access particularly to classrooms can offer to teach these preventative health lessons to the kids and back at the homes with parents. This can be a major step in expanding our workers’ reasons for follow-up. “