Last week, Thanksgiving week in America, Asian Access – Japan hosted our annual National Pastors Conference in Kobe. It was encouraging to see so many younger pastors joining the gathering.
Of special importance as we enter the Reiwa Era in Japan, is the importance of appreciating Pastors Ariga and Ohashi who have given over 80 years collectively to the ministry of Asian Access. Pastor Ariga has served as the chairman of our board for several decades and has passed the baton of chair to Pastor Kodaira as we transition into a new era. And, Pastor Ohashi has been a catalyst for church planting networks on our Japan team for many of these years as well.
Both have made a profound contribution to the work of the kingdom in Japan. It was encouraging listening to them share their stories of the history and how their lives interwove through the seasons of change.
Pastor Ariga inspired us all as usual. He said,
“You will help launch a new story of history.”
As he spoke to the next generation in telling his story.
Pastor Ohashi shared wisdom in appealing to unity. His prayer at the close of his speech:
“Fill us with Your Spirit. Give us power. To entirely give ourselves to you and serve you. Thanks for leading A2/Japan until this day. And the many blessings you have brought because of this work. But there are many in this country who need to know you. Please open our eyes and please give us eyes to truly see. And please make us one. And make us the people who share the truth for the sake of the people of this country that we love. WE pray this in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.”
As I reflected on these two men for sharing at their celebration dinner, I’m reminded of their influence in our lives. Pastor Ariga always inspires and Pastor Ohashi always has wisdom to share. I pray that my generation and the generations to come will rise to their heights. They remind me of America’s Greatest Generation. They indeed set the bar high for us to follow. May we live up to their example and challenge.
Pastor Ariga closed with this challenge:
“Let us firmly trust the kingdom of God will be established in Japan, and work vigorously towards multiplying ecclesia by being united in the Spirit and the power of the Spirit. We trust we can do this by the Mission of Trinity God (the Missio Dei).”
Joe Handley, President