Mission Trip to Tokyo Results in Sharing of 750,000 Tracts

Northern Asia-Pacific Division

Mission Trip to Tokyo Results in Sharing of 750,000 Tracts

Missionary volunteers from several countries came together to distribute GLOW tracts.

Mission | Japan | Nelson Ernst, and Adventist Review

In March, 55 missionaries gathered in Tokyo, Japan, for a weeklong endeavor to reach hundreds of thousands through Bible-based tracts. The group of church members came from several countries including Australia, Canada, the United States, and some countries in South America. The mission trip was organized in conjunction with the Japanese Union Conference (JUC) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The missionary group distributed nearly 750,000 pamphlets, commonly known as GLOW (Giving Light to Our World) tracts. The tracts, printed in Japanese, were written and produced by the General Conference Publishing department. They covered topics such as salvation, health, creation, and finding meaning in life—themes that the JUC had identified as important to residents of Tokyo.

Each day, missionaries had a personal goal of giving out 3,000 tracts. The little pamphlets were, for the most part, placed in people’s homes through their mailboxes. This seemingly simple task had many challenges.

“Many of us were used to walking an average of twenty to thirty thousand steps per day, but one rainy Tuesday presented an extraordinary challenge,” volunteer Catherine Ge said. “Soggy socks, wet GLOW tracts, and cold weather discouraged most of the missionaries, and I was no exception.”

The mission trip was a continuation of annual international efforts that have historically been spearheaded by the Adventist Church’s Central California Conference, where the GLOW tract ministry originated. Though this year’s distribution effort of 750,000 tracts in Japan was more modest than last year’s three million tracts in Bolivia, the Japan mission trip represents an effort to reach people in a largely secular and unreached area. The work has already generated encouraging results, according to Yasunari Urashima, JUC Youth, Publishing, and Media Ministries director.

“The Japan Union Conference is so thankful to the GLOW mission team for their dedicated ministry in Tokyo,” Urashima said. “As a result of their service, ‘VOP Online,’ which is the website where the Digital Evangelism Center of JUC offers online Bible study, had four to five times more visitors than usual during the distribution. Also, there has been four to five times more signups for the online Bible study.”

The statistics from the field were not the only fruit of the outreach. The volunteers found, for example, that security officers in some buildings switched from prohibiting tract distribution in apartments to becoming missionaries themselves and helping to give them out. Some of the residents took extra tracts to give away to their friends, including a pastor of a local church who said he wanted tracts to give to his parishioners. Others were so affected by receiving the spiritual literature that they broke down in tears when accepting it.

As the mission trip ended, many of the participants expressed their gratitude for the spiritual growth they had experienced.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect this mission trip to be like this,” Erica Mendez said. “I thought we were just gonna hand out tracts and that’s it, go home right after. What I gained from this GLOW trip was something unlike any retreat or mission trip I’ve been on thus far. I felt like we were all a family, like I got to experience what heaven will be like with my brothers and sisters in Christ.”

“As I reflect on that experience, I realized that God has repeatedly guided me through minor sufferings that are part of His work to strengthen my faith and trust in Him,” Ge said.

Urashima described plans for further tract distribution projects in Japan, inspired by the March trip, including a Women’s Ministry Conference in Kyoto in April and an online evangelistic meeting to be hosted by the JUC Digital Evangelism Center in June.

Mass literature mission trips with missionaries from around the world will continue to happen, organizers said. A one-million-tract distribution trip is scheduled for Paris during the Olympics in the summer of 2024, and Adventist World Radio and the General Conference Publishing department are developing other plans to further expand these opportunities to reach millions through small literature products.

This article was provided by Adventist Review.