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!