We do baptisms twice a year at GSC.
My church, Gospel Siloam Church, is an organic, breathing body of Christ where I’ve daily experienced the life that flows from the Lord. It’s not perfect, but it’s alive thanks to God. His love for us as individuals and also for the nation and people of Japan has been so apparent to me in how He’s specifically changed non-believing Japanese study-abroad students during their time worshipping, praying, and hanging out with us.
We have a steady flow of Japanese students who come into LA in order to study English and American culture. They wander into GSC looking for a warm, Japanese community and, plainly speaking, Christ constantly calls out to them at every opportunity. I’ve had the beautiful privilege of seeing it—how Christ gently speaks to these students, taking his time, always sweet and full of mercy and patience, until their eyes are opened to his goodness. And Lord, is it beautiful. They are beautiful.
I’ve been at GSC for over three years now, and we’ve seen over 30 people, young and old, baptized for Christ. This past Easter, we celebrated the resurrection of Christ, our victory, and also the birth of 6 new lives for Christ. It was joyful day, and stirring in ways that words can barely touch. I’ll let the video of that day speak for itself.
Though I’ve always grown up around Japanese culture and speak the language to a certain degree of fluency (thanks in-part to my mom having lived there for 3~ years back in her university days), I didn’t feel specifically led to share the gospel of Christ there until my freshman year of college at Sarah Lawrence College. A creative writing major and aspiring poet/novelist, I took a short story workshop where I decided to write a story on enjo kousai, or compensated dating. The story moved my classmates to tears and was how God chose to direct the next steps of my life. I transferred to Biola University in La Mirada, CA as a sophomore and immediately sought to get involved in the Japanese Christian community.
The difficult thing about seeking Japanese ministry though, is that Christianity is extremely rare in Japan. Japan is an interesting country in that it is the only industrialized, modernized, globalized nation to not have been largely touched by the gospel. Less that 1% of Japanese profess to the Christian faith. There are a whole slew of reasons as to why this is so (I won’t go into those this time).
This basically means that there was no apparent method of mobilization for missions specifically in Japan. Biola offers many opportunities for missions involvement—short term teams, language classes, cultural classes, country-specific clubs—but had absolutely no resources on Japan. It was disheartening at first, though eventually, thanks to connections to Azusa Pacific University’s Friday Japanese Outreach, I was led to finding a small, but thriving community of Japanese Christians in LA.
GSC is where God landed me. This work, being a vessel through which life is (of no particular talent/ability on my part) abundantly poured, is more worth it than anything.
The road continues.