Japanese Missionaries to Work in Great Lakes Conference

NOVI, MI (December 21, 2010) – The first missionaries from the Japan Covenant Church to the United States will focus on three primary objectives during their two years of service.

Pastor Shunichi Miyamoto and his wife, Masako, are seeking to reach Japanese nationals living in the Great Lakes Conference of the Evangelical Covenant church. They will work primarily through Christ Covenant Church in Novi.

Representatives from conference churches, known as the North American Japanese Outreach (NAJO), have worked with the couple to determine the objectives.

The Miyamotos’ first objective is to establish new ministries for Japanese nationals to introduce them to Jesus Christ, so that as new Christians they will be equipped to carry the message of Christ to their communities when they return to Japan, says Jody Eidnes, conference office administrator.

Many of the new ministries will be home-based. This provides a culturally relevant environment that can be duplicated in Japan. The Miyamotos have first-hand experience of how influential these can be. Each of them had home-stay experiences in the U.S. many years ago, and these experiences helped them come to faith in Jesus Christ.

The Miyamotos (accompanying photo), who arrived in August, already are leading individual and group Bible studies in their home. “Their house is also open as a place for fellowship and counseling as many of the people who are here short-term from Japan feel very alone and are often quite unhappy during their stay in the United States,” says Eidnes.

Other ministries will be geared specifically to men and women in the business world, which also is easily replicable. The couple is leading a VIP (Very Important Persons in the eyes of God) ministry that is an outreach to the business community and already is in place in many Japanese cities.

Business people gather together for lunch or breakfast at a nearby hotel restaurant or ballroom. Believers and seekers share a meal, scripture and testimonies.

Shunichi, along with the help of several area Japanese business people, hopes to kick off a chapter of VIP here after a special opera concert in June next year.

The second objective for the Japanese mission is for the Miyamotos to work and consult with ministry groups that were under way before the couple arrived. They have been busy working with Detroit area ministries such as Spotlight, an English conversation group that encourages English conversation at basic, medium, and advanced speaker levels. They also have worked with Faith, Fun, and Fitness, a ministry that includes exercise, a basic Bible devotion, and fellowship.

The Miyamotos also are participating in Japanese Bible studies in Troy, Battle Creek, and Grand Rapids, as well as Japanese worship services in Ann Arbor, Calvin College, and Hope College.

The Miyamotos’ final objective is to share their vision and work with churches that don’t presently have any ministries to support the Japanese in their area. The couple has visited many of the Covenant churches in the Detroit area and is seeking to visit congregations else in the conference.

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