Last week I had the privilege of visiting Pastor Youngsan Cho, a Korean missionary serving with Asian Access partner church Hongodai from Yokohama appointed to Ishinomaki. He’s the pastor I’ve been sharing about leading the Ochako “Tea” House in Ishinomaki. We’ve posted a few stories about him.
This visit was quite profound for me. Cho sensei, as we call him, was his normal ebullient self. He’s the most optimistic joyful Korean missionary I’ve ever met. I love being around him!
The profound portion of his sharing related to this chart which we have faded on purpose. Prior to the tsunami, there were five churches in Ishinomaki but today, as you can see from this list, there are 24 churches that have been started. That is a phenomenal growth rate! Praise God. And, the beauty of these churches is that they see themselves as one body. In fact, this list, if I recall correctly, was a listing of churches who are sharing a burial ground and working together for what Cho sensei calls one of the most important events in the life of Japanese people, their funeral.
These 24 churches are points of light spread across Ishinomaki and they are spread out to be able to reach more people. Yet, they are one in Christ. They are working together not only for services like this one but for all sorts of BBQ’s and evangelistic gatherings. It’s exciting to see all that God is doing.
Many Japanese leaders keep telling me that this is a new season for Japan. Some have even said, they sense we are on the cusp of a breakthrough. The signposts are certainly there. Look at the growth of the number of churches in Ishinomaki alone!
Will you join me in praying for revival for Japan? We are desperate for your prayers!
Joe Handley, President