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Christian App Bridges the Gap for Japanese Worship

Isolated Christians in Japan find encouragement in telephone devotional messages and other programs from ReFrame ministries and its local partner.

In the heart of Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture, a man named Yamoto has been confined to a hospital for nearly two years.

“I can’t go to church, but I want to worship,” he said.

Yamoto yearns for spiritual connection, and he’s found it by regularly tuning in to telephone messages that nourish his faith.

The messages, produced by ReFrame Ministries’ Japanese ministry team, include a daily devotional called Tohoku Asa no Kotoba (Morning Word) as well as a longer weekly reflection called The Hour of Christ.

“The messages are a valuable source of sustenance,” Yamato wrote in a message to ReFrame’s Japanese ministry team. “I listen to it every day. Thank you for your continued support of spiritual guidance. Please continue sending them.”

Yamato’s plight is shared by many Christians in Japan, where Christian communities can be scarce and many Christians don’t feel comfortable attending church even if they’re physically able to do so.

To address the growing need for accessible spiritual content in Japan, ReFrame partners with the Reformed Church in Japan to develop new ways to share the gospel alongside long-time programs like Morning Word.

As part of this effort, pastor Masao Yamashita and other members of ReFrame’s Japanese ministry team are developing a mobile-friendly website and a dedicated smartphone app. The app takes inspiration from the user-friendly Bridge App that many Christian Reformed Churches in Canada use.

“Japan’s fast-paced lifestyle and widespread smartphone usage make this new app a very important step towards making biblical content more accessible,” Yamashita said.

Yamashita plans to launch a website designed with smartphone adaptability in mind by June 2024. The app will provide a seamless and convenient way for individuals such as Yamato to engage with faith-based resources.

The app will host the devotionals that Yamoto hears from his hospital bed as well as video programs from the Church in My Town series. The 75-video series shares tours of different churches in the RCJ plus interviews with leaders and members of the churches.

“These videos have not only allowed seekers to see the churches themselves, but also to see members of these nearby churches,” Yamashita added. “Many Christians don’t know a lot about their fellow congregations in the Reformed Church of Japan.”

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