God, please help the OMF Japan mobilization and mission sending team and the church in Japan to cooperate well to send out missionaries.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
— Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
Lord, thank you for sending missionaries to serve East Asians from your church in Japan. Please help this to continue in spite of a shortage of pastors and seminary students.
Lord, thank you for your church in Japan. Please use your people in Japan to bless the peoples of East Asia. Work through your church to send many people to East Asians to share the good news about Jesus.
Join the OMF Japan team in asking God will to provide 200 workers by 2020: 150 full-time workers, and 50 Friends and 6 month+ short-termers. Along with those workers, pray for God to supply the strength and resources needed to support and equip these new people.
Lift up the work of the Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) in Tokyo, where one OMF missionary currently works as a teacher and several OMF children attend school. Please pray for non-Christian community members to be saved. Also ask God to provide (1) new staff for next year, (2) resources needed for the construction of a new building and maintenance of the current school buildings; and (3) stamina for teachers, staff, and students during these final months of the school year.
Praise God for good overnight camps held by Hirosaki Nozomi Church in northern Japan. Nine junior high and 25 elementary children had opportunities to hear the gospel. Please pray for the upcoming Easter meetings: the Passover Meal (April 19), a Children’s Meeting (April 20), and an 8:00 am Easter breakfast, followed by 11:00 am worship on Easter Sunday, April 21. Ask God to prepare many hearts to respond to gospel truth and turn to him.
God is at work in Matsudo House Church in Japan. Praise God that a monthly English outreach service started in March, the Kids’ Club continues to be well attended, the Mums’ English circle started well with four mothers, and relationships are deepening in the Saitama English group. Please pray for the gospel (especially the Easter message) to be clearly explained and understood through the ministries of this church.
Thank the Lord for good camps during March through the ministry of KGK (Kirisuto-sha Gakusei Kai), a Japanese student ministry. Some students shared how God used them to witness, relationships were strengthened, and challenging Bible teaching was heard and responded to. Pray that this fruit will continue into the new year, and that the Lord would cause believing first year students to be seed-bearers, not choked plants (Matt. 13:1-23).
Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is made up of nearly 7,000 islands. Japan’s role in the international community is considerable. It is a member of the OECD, the G7 and the G20; a major aid donor; and a source of global capital and credit. In recent years, it has also increased its contribution in global security and peacekeeping efforts.
An aging population, stagnant economy, long working hours, increasing rates of singleness, and mental health issues are some of the reasons that Japan ranks among the least happy of the richer developed nations. The suicide rate, although falling, remains the sixth highest in the world, and a recent government survey found that 25% of the population had contemplated suicide.
Most Japanese identify themselves as both Buddhist and Shinto, but surveys have shown that only one-third of people profess a religious faith. This apparent anomaly is due a difference in how ‘religion’ is understood. Most Japanese are not interested in religious beliefs, but rather practice religion for the functions it fulfils in their lives. So a person may have a Shinto dedication at birth, a Christian-styled wedding, and a Buddhist funeral. Most people have little problem practicing multiple religions, since each religion provides different benefits at different times.
Fewer than 1% of Japanese people know Jesus. Hundreds of towns and villages and even some cities are without a church. The Japanese church is facing issues such as aging congregations and a lack of pastors and seminary students. Many Japanese people are too busy to have time to consider the gospel. When people do believe, they may face pressures, for example by non-Christian spouses not to attend church, or by families to participate in rituals at the Buddhist family altar or Shinto god shelf, or by communities to take part in communal activities on a Sunday morning.
OMF Church Ministries
OMF has been working in Japan since 1951, initially in Hokkaido, and then in Aomori Prefecture, Sendai, and the Greater Tokyo Area. Work has also begun in Iwate Prefecture which was badly affected by the tsunami in 2011.
OMF seeks to glorify God by serving with others to make disciples of Jesus Christ. To this end OMF workers are involved in planting churches, student and youth work, theological education, and partnering with like-minded organizations. The most significant partner is the Japan Evangelical Churches Association (JECA). Several missionaries are training at JECA churches, some are involved in cooperative church plants and others are helping JECA churches plant daughter churches.
OMF Mission Sending Ministries
In 1966, the OMF Japan Home Council was established. For a long time, it was difficult to find candidates willing to go overseas as missionaries. Finally, in 1973, Rev and Mrs Kunimitsu Ogawa were the first Japanese OMF missionaries sent to Indonesia. Since then, one by one, God has raised more Japanese to become missionaries.
- Total: 126.5 million people
- Japanese: 98.3%
- Korean: 0.6%
- Chinese: 0.4%
- Others: 0.7%
- (Note: many practise both Shintoism and Buddhism)
- Christianity: 0.8%
Lord, thank you for your work in Japan. We ask you to send more workers to share your gospel with the Japanese people. Please encourage and strengthen the Japanese church. May it capture the vision of missions and grow in missions sending. Please open up more areas of partnership between the church and other like-minded organizations. Please raise up many missionaries from Japan to bless peoples in other parts of the world.