Japanese Ministry

Floating Souls in Japan

September 11, 2014 | Japanese Ministry
Megumi and Miyuki live in Sendai, Japan, an area devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. After the disasters, God gave these two women hope through Back to God Ministries Japanese radio program and they longed to connect with other followers of Christ. But in a country where only 1.5 percent of people publicly profess their faith, it can be difficult to find a community of believers. “It is very important to connect listeners who contact us to local churches,” says BTGMI Japanese leader Rev. Masao Yamashita. “The power of the radio and Internet ministries is great, but listeners may have a hard time making any real connections. If not connected to a local church, they become floating souls.” In order to equip local churches to disciple these “floating souls,” BTGMI began a partnership with Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM) and The Reformed Church in Japan (RCJ) to create…[Read More]

Concert Celebrates Hope in the Gospel

April 17, 2014 | Japanese Ministry
As more than 550 people gathered together for a concert in Sendai City, Japan, Back to God Ministries Japanese outreach witnessed the powerful community God has created through their Words of Hope radio program. Most of the concert’s attendees were people whose lives were devastated in 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami that hit Northern Japan. Three years later, many of the victims celebrated the hope they found in the Gospel through the weekly radio program. A local high school choir performed at the concert along with singer Tsutomu Aragaki, who is blind. Because of his own troubles, Tsutomu has a gift for reaching suffering hearts. “My heart is full of fear whenever I think about the tsunami,” said one of the concert attendees. “But the wonderful singing voices reminded me of my childhood. Thank you very much.” “What we have done seems small in comparison to the vast impact…[Read More]

Praise God for Answered Prayer in Japan

April 8, 2014 | Japanese Ministry
Thank you for praying for the third annual Words of Hope concert in March to encourage victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. More than 550 people gathered to hear music and testimonies of God’s faithfulness. Thank God for answered prayer. Please pray that those who attended will continue walk in hope. 

Jo’s Faith Journey in Japan

May 30, 2013 | Japanese Ministry
Jo Ushioda stood up in his church in Japan on Easter morning before 27 of his fellow believers and publicly professed his faith in Christ. On the day that celebrates the resurrection of Christ, he would also be celebrating his own form of resurrection- through his baptism. Jo, a 42-year-old follower of several Back to God Ministries International’s Japanese programs, has shared each step of his faith journey with Rev. Masao Yamashita, our Japanese ministry leader. “Since last July, Jo has faithfully sent more than 180 comments to our programs,” Rev. Yamashita said. “He has never had the opportunity to become a Christian until now.” In Japan, only 1 percent of people claim Christianity as their religion and many media ministries are cutting back or disappearing altogether. Although the nation enjoys freedom of religion, 70 percent of citizens claim none. With this in mind, there is only one way Jo…[Read More]

Restoring Hope through Music

April 8, 2013 | Japanese Ministry
Two years after the devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan and claimed more than 17,000 lives, the people still remember its effects every day. Yet, many have found hope ─ with music. This was the goal of the second annual Words of Hope concert, which took place in the Wakabayashi-ku Cultural Center in Sendai, Japan, an area hit hard by damage following the March 11, 2011 earthquake. More than 500 people attended the March 2013 concert, sponsored by our Japanese ministry. “There is always something that worries us in our lives;” said one of the attendees, “but wonderful music like today's concert encourages us.” Many of the attendees also listen to our Words of Hope radio program, launched in 2011 to comfort those who lost so much during the disaster. “It has been two years since the earthquake hit Tohoku area,” said a 20-year-old man who attended the concert.…[Read More]

Hiroshi’s Journey to Faith

July 2, 2012 | Japanese Ministry
Hiroshi’s May 2012 baptism as a believer in Christ was an answer to 17 years of prayer. Hiroshi lost his first wife to lung cancer in 1989 and soon after that his only son was killed in a motorcycle accident. In 1994 Hiroshi married Miyako, a Christian, who invited him to join her for the annual summer camp sponsored by Back to God Ministries Japanese staff. Summer camp is a time for isolated believers and seekers to come together for spiritual growth and Christian fellowship. For Hiroshi, it was a time to explore the faith that his new wife professed. Hiroshi later commented, “The Christian faith was not familiar to me. I had few opportunities to encounter Christians. It was difficult to understand the existence of God.” He continued to attend the annual camp because he enjoyed spending time with Christians, participating in the times of worship, Bible study, and…[Read More]

A Concert of Hope

April 11, 2012 | Japanese Ministry
On Sunday March 11, 2012, exactly one year after a devastating earthquake in Japan, more than five hundred people gathered at a concert hall about 4.5 miles from the tsunami stricken area in northern Japan. People gathered to commemorate a day that forever changed the lives of thousands of their friends, family and country.  Back to God Ministries Japanese outreach team organized the concert for listeners of their new program Words of Hope, which was launched to bring comfort to those who lost so much in the earthquake. Listeners invited their friends to hear music and an encouraging message at the concert in Sendai, one of the cities that suffered devastation.  The main musician of the concert was Mr. Tsutomu Aragaki, one of our radio listeners, who understands suffering. Tsutomu became blind by an accident when he was just a baby. He was neglected by his parents, so his grandmother raised…[Read More]

Earthquake Survivor Finds Hope

January 30, 2012 | Japanese Ministry
When the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan in March 2011 46-year-old Nobuhiro and many of his neighbors lost so much. “Some of my friends from childhood were killed by the tsunami,” he recalls. “My house was located in Natori, a city by the coast, and we were evacuated with every aftershock. Sometimes we had to spend time in our car. It was very hard, but thankfully, my family was all safe.” Still, the emotional toll on Nobuhiro and the people of northern Japan was almost overwhelming. Six months after the earthquake, Nobuhiro, who is working for a temporary employment agency, visited the nearby town where he had grown up. “Everything was destroyed and gone. Most of the people who survived moved out. They lost jobs and don’t know what to do now. Someone told me it will take 20 to 30 years for that town to be completely…[Read More]

Encouraging Isolated Believers in Japan

November 30, 2011 | Japanese Ministry
Miyoko used to start every day by listening to Morning Word, Back to God Ministries International Japanese audio devotional. “The program encouraged me,” she told Rev. Masao Yamashita at a recent annual open house for listeners. Twice each year—in December and in the Spring—the Japanese media team welcomes listeners to the ministry center in Tokyo for the purpose of encouraging isolated believers. Miyoko’s husband is not a Christian and is opposed to any involvement with a church, so her main spiritual nourishment comes through Back to God Ministries International Japanese media outreach. The 40-year-old woman from Tokyo said that her only source for getting to know the Bible is our Japanese radio program, Morning Word. Miyoko continues to listen to our program and writes to our Japanese staff frequently.  “She has written us more than fifty letters since 2004 when she attended our summer camp,” said Rev. Yamashita. “She requests…[Read More]

Words of Hope for Japan

May 4, 2011 | Japanese Ministry
When the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, Mr. Minoru Y. witnessed the destruction of everything in his coastal city of Kamaishi in northern Japan. He spent two days at an evacuee shelter, and was unable to contact his parents and other relatives for a week. Soon after the disaster, Rev. Masao Yamashita, Japanese leader for Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI) sent letters to all listeners on the ministry’s mailing list, expressing concern for all they had lost, inquiring about their welfare, and assuring them of the prayers of God’s people. Letters of response made it clear that listeners were trusting God to provide, even as they looked for more words of hope as they face long term recovery. “Thank you for your letter,” Mr. Minoru told Rev. Yamashita. “Now I know [my family] are all safe. I have never experienced such a big earthquake before. We are…[Read More]
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