The Church in My Town

Elichi and Kazuto* share more than friendship. They are on a journey together to learn about Jesus.

The boys live in Kumamoto, Japan, the city that was nearly destroyed in the April 2016 earthquake. Nearly every citizen was affected in some way.

During this time Elichi and Kazuto discovered a new radio program called Words of Hope produced by the Japanese outreach of Back to God Ministries International.

“We first launched the Words of Hope program following the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan,” explained BTGMI ministry leader Rev. Masao Yamashita. “Our goal was to address the spiritual needs of hurting people in this area.”

The program drew many people to faith in Christ and connected them to a local church after the 2011 earthquake. So BTGMI began to broadcast Words of Hope in the Kumamoto area after they experienced this similar tragedy.

Elichi and Kazuto listened faithfully to the program and started attending Kumamoto Reformed Church, a BTGMI partner church.

The boys wanted to learn more about the Bible so they signed up for the annual BTGMI summer Bible camp. They met with other Christians and seekers for Bible study, worship, and fellowship.

“The summer camp and partnerships with local churches are crucial for discipling those who respond to our programs,” Yamashita noted.

Local Japanese churches and BTGMI are partnering on a new initiative to produce a series of videos called “The Church in My Town” to help connect listeners and seekers to the local church.

The videos, distributed largely through social media, help remove barriers for those hesitant to attend church. The welcoming content helps viewers see how the local church offers community as it serves the neighborhood.

Pray that these media outreach efforts—whether radio or video—that invite people like Elichi and Kazuto into relationship with Christ and his church continue to welcome people into his kingdom.   

*Names of minors changed to protect their privacy

About the Author

Nancy Vander Meer is a staff writer with Back to God Ministries International in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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