With Great Thanks, A Report on Four Years of Support from White Fields.
For these past four years, White Field’s partners have been valued supporters, mentors, and friends to our small pioneer church plant. The monetary support has been a great financial help, but even more than that, the fellowship, warm encouragement, and prayers have strengthened my heart many times. Clearing a new path for a pioneer church plant has included many difficulties and spiritual battles. When these stressors strained me, the presence and support of White Fields have been immense.
Over fifty-thousand tracts have been distributed with your support, and more than five-hundred unbelievers have taken part in various church events. More than fifty kids, a total of twenty-five percent of the nearby elementary school, have attended at least one of our children’s events. Praise God. Many of these people had never been to a Christian church until they entered our church for the first time. This first step into a church is such a unique opportunity for sowing the seeds of the gospel.
The summer Bible camp has grown into a significant ministry with thirty to fifty children participating. Some of the children not only attended the Sunday school but also participated in the morning worship services. Gradually, unbelievers have begun to join in the worship services. The church strives to be community-based, and we are getting to be known by the people living nearby.
With the support of White Fields, we have created many opportunities to proclaim Jesus Christ to the Japanese people. Our first baptism was a year and a half ago; it was with great joy that I shared this event that year with our White Fields supporters. This new believer first became interested in the gospel through one of the tracts I handed out in this area. She participated in the church events and gradually understood and genuinely believed in Jesus with all her heart. Despite opposition from her husband, she publicly confessed her faith and was baptized.
Many of the kids in our Sunday had been attending for three to four years. Throughout this time, they have constantly heard the gospel message. Unfortunately, the covid crisis of last year has made it challenging to meet in our usual manner. Children are drifting away from the church. We are praying for the resolution of the covid crisis soon. We will continue to move forward, knowing that there will be difficulties. We will miss the financial support from White Fields as we graduate out of the program, but we are so happy that you will continue to remember us in your prayers.
I have enclosed the testimony of Mrs. Yoneshima that she read to the congregation at her baptism. I pray that it will be encouraging to you.
Thank you to everyone for coming today, despite your busy schedules. I am so grateful for the leading of Christ, for the Holy Spirit’s help, and for everyone’s efforts and prayers at church that have led up to this day.
My first contact with Kashiba Grace Church was through an invitation flyer for a Christmas party for children. Together with my child, I attended Sunday school, and while listening to the Bible stories, I had the feeling that my heart was mysteriously being washed clean. So I began to participate in the adult worship services on Sundays as well.
The circumstances and family that I grew up in were a bit complicated, so I was always very anxious and lonely even as an adult. From my youth, I wondered why I existed and what was the purpose of my life. Even as an adult, I felt like I was in the shadows with no understanding of anything.
I pursued whatever was in front of me—tangible things like work, clothes, and so on. But nothing filled my heart, and each day was painful.
While in this condition, I heard the Bible verse that stuck with me the strongest. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Those words rocked me.
When I heard this verse, I thought, “I am not alone. There is Someone who loves me, even a person like me.” My heart experienced salvation. I was suddenly and indeed free from that ‘something’ that was always chasing after me and holding me in bondage. Afterward, while studying the Bible, I realized that God composed and sustained everything in the world. Finally, I found the answer to all the things weighing me down with burdens, the loneliness, the meaninglessness of life, and whatnot.
I had opposition from my family, and at times, my faith was weak, but even amid these circumstances, Pastor Park continued to teach me the Scriptures. And his wife would send me Bible verses of encouragement. All this supported me and led to this day of proclaiming my faith through baptism.
Pastor Park’s family has deeply moved me with their example of what it means to live faithfully with God. I suppose there will still be various difficulties and hardships in the future, but unlike before, I am no longer lost, with nowhere to go. I believe God will light my path, and I will keep walking in that light.
Pastor Park Joo Hyun Testimony
My name is Park, and I was born in the town of Daegu; located in the middle of South Korea between Seoul and Busan. I began to go to church when I was in the fifth grade of elementary school. I attended the summer program for elementary school students, and it was at this time that I began to go to church.
When I was a freshman in junior high school, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. It was at the church summer camp on the last night that the evangelist was preaching about Jesus and the Cross. At the end of the sermon, an invitation was given to us to pray and become a believer in Jesus. Everyone was praying desperately. However, I did not know how to pray since I went to church to have fun with my friends. I was troubling to me when the preacher said, “If you do not know how to pray, call on the name of Jesus and just say, “Please Jesus help me.”
At that time I decided I would like to believe in Jesus sincerely. I called on the name of Jesus three times in my heart. At that moment, my heart became hot, and my tears stopped. All of the sins I committed until that time projected as a panorama in front of my eyes. Then for three hours, I prayed a prayer of repentance, and the tears did not stop. I believed in Jesus, and He heard me. On the way back from camp, it looked like a beautiful new world. In my second year of senior high school, I got baptized in the Korean Jesus Christian Presbyterian Church. After receiving baptism, my faith gradually grew strong, and God has given me explicit faith.
As an adult, I felt the call to the church, and after several years of study, my wife and I began serving in Japan. We are eager for the Lord to use us and for many people to become disciples of Jesus.
The Nara Prefecture is located at the very center inland of Kansai region, surrounded by Osaka, Kyoto, Mie, and Wakayama regions. Nara is known as an area with a long history. It used to be called Yamato which goes back to the 6th and 7th century and was the center of culture and politics and was also the state capitol. Around that time Buddhism was brought in to Japan, and with its creation, the first-generation Buddhist temples and sculptures were built in the region. There are quite a few archaeological sites in town that are all Buddhist related. Later Kyoto was set as the capital in the middle ages, Nara was no longer as influential as it was and Kyoto became what Nara was. Yet influences by Buddhism in the community are still evident in local customs and traditional performances. People still hold on to these Japanese traditions.