The Japan Gospel Penetration Network targets all of Japan’s cities, towns and villages on the four main islands and the smaller island of Okinawa that have a population of less than two hundred thousand. We consider this the “rural segment” of Japan. Cities in this population category that do not have a rural world view and are connected to the four major metro areas are not included. That leaves over 44 million people, a third of the population of Japan, from Hokkaido in the extreme north to the tropical island of Okinawa in the south, for the JGPNetwork team to reach. What a task!!! We praise God that He is opening doors for our team on three of the four main islands.
At present there are two missionaries on our team. However, we have several national Christians that we are training as leaders and consider to be part of the JGP Network’s team.
Although we are target the entire country, our central focus has been on the central area of Chiba prefecture just east of Tokyo. This is the prefecture where the Narita (Tokyo) International Airport is located. The airport sits among the truck farms at the top of the Bozo Peninsula. When you land at the airport, you can see the many farms, rice paddies, and golf courses that dot the countryside between the small towns. If you could look closer you would see the many shrines and temples as well. There are 70 cities, towns and villages in Chiba in our target area. Of these, twenty-seven have no church. For the entire six million people in Chiba there are only 336 churches. There are tens of thousands of shrines, temples and buildings housing cult groups. You can see the enormous task before us.
In 2002, God started a work in Togane City, Chiba Prefecture, which is located about forty minutes south of Narita and twenty minutes from the Pacific Ocean. In this small “town” of 60,000, there are two churches and eighty-four Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Since July 2002, over one hundred people have been saved. We help disciple these Christians, train leaders, and cast a vision for planting house churches across Chiba and Japan. The Christians have multiplied to the sixth generation and a couple of house churches meet at several different times for worship weekly. Discipleship, witnessing and caring for each other happens daily as this group of new Christians try to “be the church” to one another.
We remember Henry Blackaby’s admonition to look to see where God is working and join Him. Our team is looking at other cities across Japan where we see God working. We are working in the seven prefectures that surround Tokyo and have contacts in several areas where we pray a church planting movement will take place. Right now we see Him working in Saitama Prefecture just north of Tokyo Metro. We also see Him working in Shizuoka Prefecture about two hours west of Tokyo. We are praying that God will start churches in the cities where we have seen people saved and where some of our Christians now live. You can read our prayer updates which request prayer for specific needs in each of the areas where we are working.