[Photo Courtesy of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division]
Nozomu Obara

The population of the Greater Tokyo Area is over 40 million, but in central Tokyo City, there are about 10 million people, yet only ten Japanese and international Adventist churches with about 900 worshipers every Sabbath. Therefore, one Adventist needs to reach more than 10,000 lost people. The Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) is called “the most challenging field,” and Tokyo is a huge challenge!

To tackle the challenge, we, a team from the Mission Unusual project, will use a holistic approach to mission. Mission Unusual will plant churches for the next five years, yet also continue to expand and influence people’s lives here until Jesus’ coming.

Our focus is not merely on worship services and ministry activities. Building relationships and getting involved with people is our focus, finding out and meeting people’s needs—that is to say, practicing Christ’s method here in Mission Unusual Tokyo.

Mission Unusual was approved by the General Conference Mission Board on October 5, 2018 to increase the number of cross-cultural missionaries it sends into the 10/40 Window for the special task of establishing new work among unreached people groups. Mission Unusual is focused on reaching major cities in the 10/40 Window. As a test case, the first city chosen for this approach has been Tokyo. Mission Unusual Tokyo was also approved by the Japan Union Conference Board on July 16, 2019. “As we seek to carry out the great commission, we should think about pioneer church planting. Let every church create another church. A new church does not mean a new church building, but a new worshipping congregation. It can be a house church. It’s all for winning one more soul!” said Elder Masumi Shimada, Japan Union Conference president. “On behalf of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, I would like to extend our great thanks that the General Conference chose this great city of Tokyo,” said Kim SiYoung, NSD president.

Due to COVID-19, the project seems to be going at a slow pace because missionaries and their families haven’t yet arrived on the field. However, our team of Japanese pastors has already set out to the heart of Tokyo City. One of the sites being used as a house of worship every week with the holistic approach is an Adventist’s private residence. Aya mingles with her neighbors within a town in the City of Tokyo, seeking their needs. “There are many broken families around me,” says Aya, who is the wife of a kind husband and mother of three lovely boys. She has connected closely with single mothers and their children who are unchurched or de-churched. “To me, they are my sisters and my kids,” she adds.

Every month, Aya and our team have visited people in poverty who sleep every single night beside a wide river in Tokyo City, the Sumida River. A homeless man shared, “Hey, I feel your kindness. You guys make me a smile.” We were so glad!

“Mom, I want to come here again and give away rice balls. Please take me again!” Aya’s child asks her in the car on the way home.

Until foreign missionaries arrive, we have been preparing a contextualized support system to make Christ’s discipleship cycle for planting missional groups and churches. We will keep you updated as Jesus leads this plan and uses it for His glory. In the meantime, brothers and sisters in Jesus, you can support Mission Unusual Tokyo, too. Please pray for God’s guidance of the program so it grows exponentially the next five years to glorify the name of Jesus.