Monday afternoon we were running an All-Ability Festival at the front of Hongodai station. It had been raining in the morning so Samuel, the coordinator, cancelled it. As soon as he did that, it stopped raining. So he told me that we have now cancelled the cancellation… so we were on again. A brave decision as one weather forecast had an 80% chance of rain. God was kind and there was no rain. We set up with a team of over 60 people. During the festival, we played blind football, sit-down volleyball, ran a sensory zone, and also danced and sang to a song written by a blind lady at our church. It was a truly amazing time and we all were blown away by what happened and the impact of Festivals. This is our first festival as a pre-run to many All-Ability Festivals that we want to run during the Paralympics.
Monday night we were farewelling the 13 Fijian Rugby players who came to serve with us for 4 weeks. What an impact they had. What a night we had. Jen organised a meal for over 50 people. We worshipped, prayed, celebrated them, and sent them on their way.
Tuesday morning at 5.00am, I drove six Fijians and two French team members to Narita airport. We sang, prayed and laughed our way there to the airport. We had done it! Thank you Father,
I had an interview with a Christian newspaper in Australia where we discussed the impact of the Fiji team. I am thankful to the author Anne who has managed to capture the heart of what we are on about here. https://www.eternitynews.com.au/world/rugby-world-cup-opens-the-door-to-jesus-in-japan
Most of the teams have now gone. We have the All Ability training team still here, in fact we are about to go into Tokyo to see the Australian Wheelchair Rugby team in action.
Tomorrow we head off to Shizoku to run a Festival with the growing team there. We have managed to find some money to buy a trampoline (always a hit at a Festival) The idea is to support them so they can now build- their team and train others in the region. They are super keen and we hope we can pull back so they do it by themselves next time. that is our goal teams that build teams
It has been super encouraging talking to Church leaders who have had teams – hearing their stories of what has happened in their communities. One guy reported a story of up to 6 new people in their church. They see how sports ministry can touch their community They are asking what is next. Principals of schools are wanting teams to return next year for the Olympics. Many new connections and new doors.
The Russian team reported in…”It was an amazing time! God used us where we did not expect! Using cultural exchange, the Lord opened the doors to kindergartens, schools, nursing homes, residential areas! children and adults happily accepted the Sports Bible as a gift!
I saw that the Japanese people, especially children, at a meeting, keep a distance. At first, they would only shake hands- then we would give “hi-fives” and their hearts melt! It was like one touch and we become friends!
In Hamamatsu, the church organized an evening of “Russian kitchen” . We have prepared our national soup: borsch. Women came who participated in the preparation with us. Everyone liked the borsch, then there were Russian songs and testimonies.
After one meeting, a group for mothers was organized in the church! In Osaka, the church organized meetings at nursing homes and schools, the church does a lot of social work and serves the community… The gospel penetrates all walks of life!
In Tokyo, a team of Bible school students went to the station to pass out fliers for the evening’s event. One family of 4 came plus one young lady came for the first time because they met the team at the station. We’re praying they come back again on Sunday!
A few more stories next week as they keep coming in…
Please pray for the impossible with Japan
- For 500 regions involved next year and the reaching of a million people
- For our 2024 goal of 10 million Christians in Japan- “with God all things are possible.”
- For Churches working on next steps and following up the thousands of people that teams connected with these last weeks
- For all those who have been given a Rugby Bible
- For the team here as we meet to review what happened, celebrate and plan for next year
- Next week we are working on our regional strategy towards the Olympics
- Pray for all those affected by the typhoon and the Churches responding
Finally a great quote on prayer from Corrie ten Boom. “The wonderful thing about praying is that you leave a world of not being able to do something, and enter God’s realm where everything is possible.” “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19.26
Till next week
Sports Ministry Team Leader, Australia
- Related story: Japan partnership yielding early results
- Japan Partnership: Asian Access has helped to convene a ministry partnership with several organizations centered on leveraging the 2019 Rugby World Cup and Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We look forward to reporting on ministry results emerging from this Kingdom partnership.
- Marty & Jenny Woods work with Fusion. here is an article with more info: The Aussie who is helping churches to party