Tokyo Marunouchi Partnership
Samurai Projects Director/ James Ballinger
In March, all of my family’s belongings landed in Tokyo, it was our hope to arrive shortly afterwards, but because of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 we’ve been unable to obtain a visa, and subsequently all my work for the Samurai Projects has been online. Which, because of Covid, has no doubt been the case for others too, whether they are in the same country or not. If I am honest there have been challenges and some frustrations, but, in the midst of it all, one of the joys has been doing virtual visits to pastors and missionaries who are labouring in the harvest fields of Japan to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When I think of the statistics relating to the church in Japan: less than 1% Christians; 1 in 8 Churches without a pastor – rising to 4 in 8 by the end of the decade; it’s easy to lose hope. But as I’ve I chatted to those working in this challenging context it’s been such an encouragement to hear their stories of how the Lord led them to become people who preach the gospel full-time. Each one of them is a fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to build His church, and an answer to the prayer “pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into his harvest fields.” I’ve been encouraged as I’ve heard how these brave individuals are seeking to disciple and train the next generation of workers and to hear their thoughts about the Samurai Projects.
For the Samurai projects to grow we need to foster partnerships with pastors and missionaries. Through these relationships we can reach the younger generations of believers within their Japanese congregations who may have teaching and pastoral gifts and provide them with an opportunity to develop these gifts through the training of the Samurai Projects.
I feel there is so much potential for further partnerships to be built to raise up and train the bible teachers of the future. One of my longings is to expand the Samurai Projects so that more and more pastors might be involved in partnering together to train up the next generation of workers. One question we are wrestling with is: how can we best develop links with more established denominations? We want to foster relationships with, and learn from, as many different evangelical churches as possible. But how best to do that, when people are more comfortable in the groups they already know, is a question that remains unanswered. I’d love you to pray for wisdom about how to move forward with this vital relationship building, and that there would be open hearts and doors as we endeavour to do this.
As we look into 2022 we are beginning to receive some enquires from potential Samurai for next year. If you ,or someone you know, would like to come for an open day and see the training for yourself, we’d love to hear from you. Either way, please keep praying with us that we’d be able to partner with many pastors, churches, and other organizations as we seek to labour together to raise up workers for Jesus’ harvest fields.