After a week in Nagano, we headed back to Tokyo to meet up with the Karis crew to begin our vision trip around Japan. Our first stop was the Tokyo/Chiba area where we met up with several church leaders and planters connected with Mission to the World
We stayed at the Oyumino Church in Honda, Chiba and visited with John Evans, a church planter that the Karis team met last year on their first trip to Japan. John Shared with us his vision for planting churches and specifically to reasons for choosing Honda and working with MTW. Later, that day Dan Iverson the Lead Pastor/Planter of the Oyumino church joined us. He shared with us the MTW vision of planting a network of churches in the Chiba area. Currently they have 6 churches of various sizes spread out throughout the region. However, in an area that is home to over 6 million people there is still room to plant more churches.
Our trip to Japan this spring had us meeting with several great church leaders and planters who were leading their people to be on gospel mission in Japan. One such leader was Seima Aoyagi. Seima is a church planter from the City to City planting network that is connected to Tim Keller and the Redeemer Presbyterian Church of Manhattan, NY. As we toured the area of Tokyo in which he is planting, he shared which us his specific vision he had for the city and his church and his plan to see that vision come to fruition. I was greatly influenced by what he had to say and began to ponder how we could apply some of what he was saying within the context of Columbia. Specifically, related to connecting people to the church. Seima spoke passionately about the need for the church to love and serve the city rather than seclude itself from the city. I couldn’t help to think about my time spent in this great city. During my time of living in Tokyo, I didn’t love the city well. I saw the problems, the corruption, and the immensity and rather than lovingly pursuing the city or the good of the gospel, I ran from the city to the more peaceful country side that I was more well acquainted with.
So, it seemed only fitting that the next stop on our trip would be the city of Saku in the country-side.