TOKYO- Some 600 Chinese Christians in Tokyo have revived their faith as the world-renowned evangelist Rev. Stephen Tong preached for a four-day evangelistic gathering.
On April 20-23, the "Chinese in Japan Evangelistic Gathering 2006" was held at the Wesleyan Holiness Yodobashi Church, which is the largest Protestant Church in Tokyo. In its long-standing history of 101 years, it has been a mission-orientated church. With the theme "Who is Jesus," Tong has preached three messages about salvation through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, namely "Jesus’ proclamation- He is the way, the truth and the life," "Christ is sinless," and "The Death of Christ- for the Redemption of Sins of all Mankind."
The number of attendants has grown day by day, starting from 265 and 320 on the first and second day, rising up to 520 and 600 in the last two days. After the very last message on April 23, the work of the Holy Spirit overflows and so many souls were harvested. Around 50 people have accepted Christ as their Lord and 16 of them have dedicated their lives for God’s work. Indeed, it is not an easy task to engage in full-time ministries in Japan, but the Holy Spirit has fully revived the hearts of Christians this time and people are filled with passion for His will once again.
The trip to Japan has been very meaningful as it is truly a country that needs the Gospel very much. In the past, Tong has visited Tokyo for at least two times, in 1978 and in 1984. Just as one of the other Southeast Asian countries where non-Christian faith dominate, Japan is under the influence of many religions.
"Rev. Stephen Tong’s evangelistic ministry goes all around the world to reach out to all nations. We go to wherever that needs to hear the Gospel, from South America, Europe, South Asia and all to way to East Asia," said Jahja Ling, vice-chairman of the Stephen Tong Evangelistic Ministries International (STEMI) North America branch.
Ling is also an internationally renowned conductor and the Music Director of the San Diego Symphony. He was the worship leader for Japan’s evangelistic gathering this time.
Most of the Chinese Christians in Tokyo are either overseas students or professionals. Though the number may be small, they have a great longing to listen to the word of God. In the recent years, more students have come from Mainland China to Japan for further studies; therefore the future of Chinese ministries in Japan is expected to be flourishing.
"This time, brothers and sisters in the Chinese churches in Tokyo have been moved by the Holy Spirit, so we decided to cooperate in partnership and organized the gathering together," said Ling. "The most important thing is to preach the word of God. No matter where you are, even in a Christian country, if there is no one to preach the word of God, who can hear?" Ling added that in Tokyo alone, there are over 10 Chinese Christian churches.
Rather than only focusing on evangelism among Chinese, STEMI aims to reach out to Japanese through the Chinese Christians. STEMI has planned to translate all Rev. Stephen Tong’s messages from Chinese into Japanese so that Japanese can listen to the precious word of God as well, according to Ling. The Japanese messages are expected to be ready by next year or next next year.
Reflecting upon the evangelistic gathering in Japan this time, it has been overall very successful. According to Ling, the gathering has attracted the highest number of attendants over the years.
"God has used our ministry and the local Chinese churches there to do great work. Now we are looking to do the follow up well, which will be focused on the Word. The most important thing is to continue to listen to the word of God," explained Ling.
While the translation of messages from Chinese to Japanese is in progress, Chinese Christians in Japan are highly encouraged to listen to Rev. Tong’s messages on CDs. Ling also said that STEMI will surely go to Japan again in two years.