The Lutheran Brethren Church of Japan, led by Pastor and President Takayama, gathered in Sendai November 3-5, 2019 to celebrate 70 years of God’s faithfulness and the proclamation of the gospel in northern Japan. They gathered at the Sendai International Conference Center under the theme of “Worship in Mission.” The theme verse was Psalm 34:1 (KJV), “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Pastor Sasaki was the main conference speaker. Together with the teaching and preaching there were video presentations of the “Beginning of LB Mission Work in Japan,” the “North American CLB Congregations and Ministry,” and the “LBIM work in Chad and in Taiwan.” There was also uplifting music at all sessions led by Jun and Shizuka Sasaki.
It was a great privilege to represent the Church of the Lutheran Brethren of North America, together with our missionary couple serving in Japan, Dean and Linda Bengtson. I was honored to bring a greeting and a devotional message to those gathered for the celebration.
Your missionaries, Dean and Linda, presented a moving overview of the outreach ministry that they lead in Ishinomaki through the House of Hope. This included a visual presentation and church-planting report. A well-known Christian music artist in Japan, Shizu Takeshita, sang and gave her testimony about her ministry of 40 concerts at House of Hope since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. There were also three additional testimonials of those who have had significant ongoing ministry in the Ishinomaki area.
Another important aspect of this celebration was the participation of our sister Church in Taiwan. It was a delight to see the significant and important relationship between these two sister Churches as the China Lutheran Brethren Church (Taiwan) participated in this celebration. Pastor Wu, their President, led a delegation of seven.
As your director for International Mission, I was especially delighted to hear the presentation of Yushin and Takako Taguchi, missionaries from the Japan Church to the Maluku Islands, Indonesia! The planting of an indigenous Church includes that Church, in turn, sending missionaries. This is the evidence of this church-planting effort coming full circle to fruition. The Alune New Testament was completed in 2012 and the Taguchis are leading an Alune team remotely in the Old Testament translation while serving a congregation in Japan.
Together, let’s praise the Lord of the Church for his faithfulness in the planting of the Japan Lutheran Brethren Church. Praise God for those from our North American Church who were called and supported to go as missionaries to Japan these past 70 years.
Rev. Matthew Rogness is Director of International Mission for the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.