COVID-19 Cancelled Everything; It Didn’t Cancel Jesus!

Tokyo Olympics 2020 is supposedly one of the biggest events to headline this new decade we are living. However, it was not until the coronavirus pandemic that occurred in March, that the famed event is cancelled, like all other things that this lockdown has caused to postpone over health & safety concerns.
 
Right now, what exactly is Nevertheless Missions doing during this whole quarantine season?

Before and during the coronavirus pandemic, about how many people have come to known Christ as their Lord and Savior? (Red lights = No to Christ, yellow lights = interested in more information, green lights = giving life to Christ?)
See, the Japanese people are extremely reserved/shy; it is part of their culture. Therefore, approaching them during the pandemic has made it even more difficult to present the gospel to them. Now, the number of attempts to share has dramatically dropped from February to March. For instance, in February of this year, we had 132 attempts. Now, in the following month, that number dropped to 50. Here, now, is the list of the overall number of times we tried to share in the past three months:

      • Attempts to share: 242
      • Shares: 142
      • No (red lights): 32
      • Maybe (yellow lights): 68
      • Yes to Jesus (green lights): 1
      • No. of follow up with people: 146
      • Discipleship with people: 99
      • Churches/Small Groups 2.  (We had 21 going before COVID-19)

Follow-ups and discipleship are two of the areas that have really changed. Due to the increasing use of technology, especially last month alone, the numbers in discipleship so far recorded had doubled. Now we feel more spiritual growth taking place, thanks to technology!

How did this quarantine season affect the missions team coming over to help Japan?
We all know the impact the coronavirus pandemic has brought to us worldwide. People are now on lockdown, working from home, events were getting canceled from left and right, and so were the missions team that was supposed to come in the harvest with us—they began canceling. Initially, we had eight teams, from different churches, were supposed to be coming but had to cancel. Also, we had three individuals who were supposed to come and help us in the harvest, they too canceled.

I must say my fluency in the Japanese language is still rudimentary. As a result, we had to rely on those teams/individuals coming over, by helping us find more Japanese who do speak English (at least until my Japanese gets more fluent). The more mission teams there are, the more “boots on the ground.”  Now, the mission teams help us cover more stations in order to reach out to more Japanese, and seeking those Japanese that are English speakers/wanting to work on their English.  It is much like casting a larger net to catch the fish—meaning, there is more opportunity to find bilingual Japanese. 

How does the coronavirus lockdown affect Nevertheless Missions as a ministry?
I see the coronavirus as a benefit for Nevertheless Missions (NTLM). The reason for this is because it has put our name in front of other people, saying that we have made a decision/commitment to stay in Japan during this unfortunate pandemic. We have actually donations during the economic downturn; therefore, we are truly grateful. Now, we are taking some of the excess funds in placing them in new ministry avenues to reach the Japanese.
 
On the other hand, I think the virus benefited NTLM because it has made us use Facebook and other social media platforms to proclaim the gospel. Also, this is to let folks know the need to bring the gospel to Japan—so I see it as a benefit.

One thing that I, myself, am doing while the virus is going on is doing countless training online: evangelism and discipleship training.
 
Between now and when the coronavirus pandemic is over, what are the new steps Nevertheless Missions is doing to take the message of the Risen Son to the Land of the Rising Sun? 
There are many avenues/different types of ministry that we are considering, as we look forward to getting back to a new thing that God is creating!

First of all, we plan on purchasing numerous face masks and attaching it to manga. We then plan on handing them out at the train stations. Why Manga? Manga is an incredible source of entertainment for the Japanese people (it has been one since the 1900s). One of the cultural things that the people of Japan do is handing out packaged tissues at train stations. In turn, we felt that we could take the masks, which the Japanese always wear (virus-free or not), and attach a Christian-based manga that presents the gospel.
 
Next, we are concentrating on our church via the power of the Zoom Video Conference and all the people involved in it currently. We are also planning for this group to launch another church at another train station.  Also will be doing follow up to reconnect face to face with those involved in those small group meetings.
 
The third thing that we are doing is getting to harness the capabilities of social media to spread the good news in Japan and worldwide. We can use this incredible 21st century tool to recruit more people that feel called to come to Japan and serve alongside Nevertheless Missions.
 
Finally, what Nevertheless Missions is doing, via its Board of Directors, is organizing our budget. We are building personnel and policy manual for future missionaries of NTLM.
 
To that end, God is doing a new thing, despite this whole coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless Missions is claiming that God is doing something new here in Japan and worldwide! What the enemy meant to be as bad, God is already taking it and making it into good!
 
If you are looking for a mission project of some sort for yourself or a team, we want to organize your church! Please contact us in Nevertheless Missions and let’s discuss what you want to accomplish as we go in the mission field!

Christmas Message

Trusted Partners and Prayer Warriors,

As we approach December 25th this year, we celebrate a date that we know God began the fulfillment of his promise. We observe a birth that will mean there is new birth available for every soul under heaven. The continuation of a promise fulfilled. As I marvel at the wonder of Jesus and the season I cannot help but get excited that it is the same God at work in the nation of Japan—making sure souls still know a savior was born.

We strive to tell this story for the first time to so many, while in America it is a story we sometimes only recall because of countdowns and Christmas lights. As we move forward in advancing the story of Jesus and his gospel these are a few areas where God is establishing details for our mission and also creating new, exciting ways for us to share the gospel in Japan.

In 2017 Nevertheless Missions:

  • Established a network with current missionaries serving in similar areas of Japan.
  • Engaged in much seed planting, with harvest work left to do. We have seen one come to know Christ.
  • Zeroed in geographically on a location to start the next steps.

    What are the next steps for 2018?

  • We are working on a digital production about the story of Jesus that is similar to a “Manga” strip. Manga is comic literature that has been around Japan since the 19th century and is significantly known in Japanese art.
  • I am currently finishing my ESL certificate and will go further in depth enrolling in Japanese classes to further my own language acquisition.
  • We have secured 65 percent of our funding and are still walking in faith for the other 35 percent.

    As you reflect on what God has done for you personally in 2017, we ask you to consider sewing into our ministry as you round out of your year of blessing. Nevertheless Missions is a 501c3 and all contributions made are 100% tax deductible. We appreciate every dollar, and we appreciate every prayer. God is showing himself faithful, and we will journey in anticipation of the new births that will occur in hearts and lives in a place so far from the USA. Will you travel in faith with us?

    Merry Christmas!

We’ve Met the 1 Percent

While waiting to catch a bus, Ellen and I set down by a very sweet Japanese lady.  Ellen engaged her in conversation in order for us to present the gospel to her.  She told us where she was from, how she had lived in Ohio and Michigan. Her now deceased husband had worked in the automotive industry.

As she shared, there was something about her smile and joy that she possessed.  Before we had the opportunity to ask “how could we pray for you”  she smiled big at both of us and said with pride…”I am a Christian!”  Such confidence and conviction, she let us know, she was a Believer!  It was at that point that I realized, we’ve met 1 of the .58 percent evangelicals that live in Japan.

She invited us to church with her but that Sunday we were going to another fellowship.  When we return we plan on going to her church, sitting next to her and worshipping our Lord, who died for all of mankind.  What a tremendous blessing to meet such a rare gem in Japan.

Preparing for Tomorrow by Training Today

neverthelessmissions.org logoAs I look back over my life I can see each step in a way that leads to the next step. From education background, religious instruction, to strengthening my faith in other steps of faith. Becoming a believer at the age of 10 and following in baptism at the age of 16. Called to my first church at the age of 20. From each church I was allowed to serve, I learned. I’ve been to the university and seminary. I’ve attended numerous evangelism events and trainings, participated in discipleship programs and planned numerous mission endeavors. Recruiting Japanese students to come to the higher education places that I served, to living for a year in Japan. From my wife who speaks Japanese fluently to the the Japanese pastor that I meet with bi-monthly. God continues to prepare us for this mission.

Sometimes I don’t really understand how or why? Many times I just want to run or bury my head in the sand. The call to Japan doesn’t leave, it is a nagging sense of direction that I sense within my soul. I direction from scripture, the Holy Spirit and His Word. All teaching and training me for the day of departure.

To the reader, remember…its not just us on the mission field. It’s you too! Your prayers and financial support that you give us. Those things also prepare us and train us in a “red sea” event of reaching the lost of Japan.

Come and learn with us. Come and train with us. Prepare with us by training now.