|Future Mem's Nagoya Team with the Newsomes & Youngs|
This weekend, Gina and I are at MTW's Global Missions Conference in Chattanooga, TN. Our first day has been full and exciting. The Holy Spirit seems to be pulling together a lot of pieces in MTW's ministries in Japan, and that's especially evident in the teams functioning in the city of Nagoya.
Wayne and Amy Newsome (our team leaders) are here for the conference - along with several other couples who are being led to join the church planting effort in Nagoya. In all, we met with 3 other couples and a single man who have now been approved by MTW to join the team in Nagoya. This new group will almost double the size of the church planting team serving in the city and open up all sorts of new possibilities for expansion!
After the meeting with our future team members, Gina and I had the opportunity to serve at the "Japan Partnership Booth" in the exhibit hall, where we met two additional couples who are considering a move to Nagoya! To put all this into context, I spoke with a former missionary to Japan recently who was lamenting the fact that he didn't know of ANY new missionaries headed to the country. He was discouraged, because mission-sending agencies were abandoning Japan due to the fact that conversions were so slow, and the cost of living was so high. When I told him about MTW's commitment to Japan, he rejoiced. I can't wait until our next conversation when I can add these new details.
To add to the above, we heard a rousing testimony from Michael Oh during tonight's opening session. Michael is a South Korean missionary to Japan who now heads up MTW's "seminary team" in Nagoya. In 2005, the team founded Christ Bible Seminary (CBS) with the vision for training and equipping future Japanese leaders (especially church planters). Some of you may know that the seminary has been meeting at Nisshin Christ Church since its inception, but they're in need of more room to expand. During his talk, Michael announced the good news that this morning, the seminary team signed papers to purchase a new building in an ideal location in the heart of the city. During the real estate bubble, the property was valued at $15 million, but the seminary has now purchased the property for just over $1 million!
It's exciting to see God weaving together so many different threads in Japan right now. He's stirring up missionaries to go to a hard, expensive country. He's opening the door for further expansion of CBS, and stirring many men and women to give generously to the effort (something we're experiencing first hand). I'm no prophet, but it seems like something big is in the works!