This is a guest post from Yoshito Noguchi, Pastor of SOMA Fuchu in Tokyo. Yoshi moved to Tokyo with his wife Ami and 3 children, Yuka (10), Nana (8), Atsuto (4) to plant a missional community. Now he has a team including people from overseas helping to make disciples to saturate Tokyo together. He holds an MDiv from Trinity in Chicago.
Background of Japan
Japan is the second most unreached nation in the world. There are over 125 million people living in Japan, but only 0.58% of those people are evangelical Christians. To make matters worse, the annual growth of the church is in decline, −0.4% according to Joshua Project. Approximately 34 million people live in the greater Tokyo area, making it one of the largest cities in the world. Several years ago, God called my wife and I to Tokyo to plant a church. We long to see Tokyo restored by the gospel.
When People Leave
The first year our family moved to Tokyo, we invited many people into our home to share meals together. At the end of the year we held a Christmas party at our home. We packed over 40 people in our small home. However, since they understood that we were Christians and they saw the Bible in our hands as we were sharing the gospel, most of them left our relationships. The Holy Spirit reminded my wife and me that Jesus is with us and He is the one who called us to this city, so we should stay put. We also realized that the story of this city is filled with brokenness and conflict among people caused by different religions. We learned that we would have to share all of our life so that they would trust us and see Christ living in us in tangible ways.
Love is Patient
One lady came to know Jesus last year. It took 5 years of doing life together in missional community. We shared meals together, we watched her kid, we went camping together, went snowboarding together, we also read the Story of God together. One day, when we were studying about the church in Acts, I told her that in all she experienced in our lives together, she was experiencing church; we are the church. She said if this is church, she wants to be in because she loves what she saw in our community. She even saw others who came to know Jesus and joined us in celebrating their baptisms at the river. She saw how other young believers were sent out to plant other communities with other families. Yet, she always said she could not believe yet.
I remember one night, my wife told me that she does not know if she will ever come to know Jesus. She said she felt that we were being used by her, taking all the benefits she could receive. We prayed that night and the Spirit told us to love her as Jesus loved us. He did not give up on us and He waited for a long time. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 The very next morning, my wife received an email from her saying some terrible thing had happened, and she will come to the gathering with her husband. That Sunday, she came to know Jesus as her only Savior. Later she told us that when terrible things happen, she saw the picture of our family in her mind. She knew that we have a real living God, so she could ask for help. Jesus transformed her and is continuing to change her and her family.
Together We Are Serving Our King
I shared this story to encourage you to not stop doing life together. He will save His people.
There are other churches in Tokyo that bring in lots of people on Sundays and are doing great work. Soma Fuchu is still a small family but I encouraged our family that God is bringing so many broken people in our life. They are not believers yet but we must be faithful to love those whose hearts are broken. (John 21:15-22)
I am so thankful for all the global churches, brothers and sisters in Christ who have been committed to each other and to reach Tokyo with us by praying, supporting, coaching and sending. Gospel saturation cannot happen alone!
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