Rev. Charles Oh and seven Korean American teens from the TtoKamsa Mission Christian Reformed Church in Los Angeles traveled further than most for their mission trip: they spent a month in Japan sharing the gospel.
They were led by Rev. Ken Lee, a missionary in Japan with Christian Reformed World Missions. Lee has led a team each summer beginning in 1996 when he was a seminarian. This year’s team was also accompanied by David Shim and Hitomi Urushizaki, students at Calvin Theological Seminary.
Before going to Japan, team members prepared for months, studying basic Japanese, learning praise songs in Japanese, and preparing their testimonies. They paid most of the cost of the trip themselves, with some help from their churches.
Once there, the team led worship in Japanese churches using the songs and pantomimes they had learned. They shared their testimonies with translation assistance from Urushizaki.
The teens led children’s ministries including English classes, three vacation Bible schools, and two camp ministries. They distributed 11,000 pamphlets, prayed together, and stayed in Japanese homes as part of their cross-cultural experience.
Japanese Christians commented that the team members brought a “fresh breeze” that gave new energy to the church.
Lee said, “The team members share their desire to partake in God’ kingdom expansion and challenge the Japanese students to do the same. This ministry can be fulfilled by anybody. However, it is more effective for Korean Americans because their similar appearance and somewhat similar culture makes it easier to approach the Japanese.”
Lee noted that “God wants us to heal the broken relationship between Korea and Japan and lay down the foundation for developing future Christian leaders for Japan.”