John and Elaine Mehn

Who Do You Think You Are?

May 10th, 2015 by John



Who Do You Think You Are?

Maybe you have watched the television show “Who Do You Think You Are?” It’s a show about genealogy and about your ancestors and where you came from. They follow famous people back to learn of their ancestors. They are all interesting stories.

In my family, my two grandfathers came from farming families in East Prussia and in Scotland. My one grandfather was a first generation American and other one a second-generation American. From those grandparents grew quite an interesting group of people with various occupations none which were related to farming.

From those two grandparents grew clan of many and for me to grandparents and uncles which were educators, physicians, scientists and ministers. Mainly they were professionals. I’m glad that my kids are following in those footsteps as well. We are not farmers but we sure love them. We know our roots (and where our food comes from).

Maybe later Elaine will blog about her family which includes 2 US presidents, a civil war hero, more professionals, and farmers too.


Category: Blogroll, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

Death and Life

May 4th, 2015 by John

We had the most unusual Easter ever. We spent the day at a funeral. Normally Easter is upbeat and full of celebration. The hope of life after death is really something to cheer about, and cheer about every day. But this year a father of a dear Japanese Christian friend was dying in the hospital during Holy Week. Also in the US our dear friend and former mission leader, John Marrs, had been in a terrible car accident and also lay dying in the hospital. Both these events tempered and gave new meaning to the anticipation of Easter. The funeral for our friend’s father was scheduled for Easter Sunday morning. Knowing it was the right thing to do we planned to attend. The entire family was so overjoyed by our presence and we were able to comfort the wife, daughter, granddaughter and others of their family. After we left them we knew we did the right thing. They were surprised, blessed, and strengthened by our coming. When we arrived back at home, we heard that John Marrs had gone to be with the Lord. Holy Week and Easter reminded us that our lives and ministries are a matter of life and death. We are so glad we can be in Japan to serve Japanese with the message of eternal life.

Category: For Prayer, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

May Prayer Items

May 4th, 2015 by John


  1. God continues to bless us and others in all our mentoring relationships. Continue to pray for these leaders as they grow in their spiritual life and ministry skills. Recently many of those we mentor have commented how much it has helped their marriage.
  2. The team working on the new missionary home and guest house (Elaine, John, and Jane Fischer) is going very smoothly. Pray for continued blessing of this major building project.


  1. Pray as Elaine has a key Kansai Christian School board meeting on May 8th. Then she helps Lori Harms pack up for Home Assignment.
  2. We found some part-time and volunteer staff but ask God to continue to fill key leadership positions for the CPI Conference this November and the need for a part-time bookkeeper.
  3. Pray for smooth development of the CPI website and conference registration systems.
  4. John has been asked to participate with a Japanese team developing national church planting goals for the Japan Congress on Evangelism held next year. Pray for vision, faith, and unity for the team.
  5. Pray that the visa approval for our new missionaries the Rob Wright family will not be delayed.
  6. John will be preaching again at the Nerima Baptist church on May 31st.

Category: For Prayer, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

Movies and Films

May 1st, 2015 by John

I don’t just watch movies, I study films.

Like most people I like movies. Though since I was young was always watching good old classic films. From high school I attended film festivals, took a course in film making, read movie reviews (before they were online) and films were a hobby.

Recently a friend asked me what my favorite top 3 movies were. That is too hard to say. On Facebook I have posted my favorite 15 and once you see the list you will know why it is hard to narrow to 3. 15 seems too short of a list. My list includes films from many genres and my two favorite genres. In no particular order.

  • True Grit (the original with John Wayne’s Oscar performance)
  • Citizen Kane (normally listed as the best film ever made)
  • Magnificent Seven (1960 – I heard it is being remade)
  • The Incredibles (animation)
  • Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Casablanca (1939) Go ahead watch the colorized version.
  • The Ipcress File (cool cold war British spy flick)
  • Usual Suspects (introduces probably the baddest bad guy ever)
  • Tokyo Story (1953 Japanese film) I blogged about this at http://www.gospelrest.com/tokyo-story/

John's Films



I really like Science Fiction films.

  • Forbidden Planet
  • Day the Earth Stood Still (original 1951)
  • Blade Runner

I have been a War film buff since I was a kid.

  • Pork Chop Hill
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • A Bridge too Far


You will notice that many of these films were made many years ago, many before I was born. Some are in black and white.

Once a leader from the US was traveling through and asked me many questions to get to know me. He asked what my favorite movies were. I gave him some from the list. His response is that maybe I should update my list. My response is I will add more recent movies when they make better movies.

People need to see some of these classics as they have shaped everything that came after. Have you seen these old classics? Maybe you should.


Category: Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

April Prayer Items

March 31st, 2015 by John


  1. God answered prayer by blessing the 19 who came to the CPI Gospel Seminar in Japanese. The manual also underwent a major upgrade.
  2. John was able to preach with great freedom in the spirit at the meeting with the Philippine churches.
  3. Our Converge Worldwide had a great spring Field Council including the farewell party for the Ellisons, great sharing times, and beautiful snow.


  1. The mission has made a decision to rebuild the missionary home in Higashi Kurume. John, Elaine and Jane Fischer are the “staff” for this project. Pray for good relationships with the builders, workers, and neighbors.
  2. For God to bless our mission staff meeting with David Jahnke Home Office leader on 4/22.
  3. Elaine has an outreach card making craft class on 4/25. Pray for numbers and effectiveness.
  4. Ask God to bless our times in classes and mentoring many leaders each month.
  5. Pray for God to bless the KCS community as they wrap up another school year. Elaine is on the KCS school board.
  6. Beseech God to fill key leadership positions for the CPI Conference this fall and the need for a part-time bookkeeper.

Category: For Prayer, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

FAQ: What kind of Bibles do they have in Japan?

March 31st, 2015 by John

Manga MessiahThe Bible continues to be the bestselling book in Japan, each year! There are many translations of the Japanese Bible. Some older versions like the bungotai and kogoyaku have been replaced by more modern versions. The shinkaiyaku translation done in the 1970s is widely used in most evangelical churches. This was followed with a similar ecumenical translation. There is also a translation of the Living Bible. Several pastors, including our Rengo’s Dr. Izuta, have translated the Bible themselves. Izuta’s translation is being distributed to junior and senior high students by the Gideons. There are also a manga (graphic novel) Bible and many digital versions and apps. A large committee was recently organized to develop a more contemporary translation, a project that will take several years.

Category: Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

Sharing the WORD

March 31st, 2015 by John

Dr. John Mehn Elaine Mehn Bible Study


Everyone is sent to share God’s Word with everyone in the world. One great privilege we have is sharing the Bible with many people in Japan. Just last month we had several opportunities to share God’s Word.

  • As an outreach at the Crossroad Church Elaine teaches a class on making greeting cards. Each time Elaine shares a short Bible talk and discussion (Psalm 23).
  • The Agape Group met to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. John shared with them about St Patrick and his similar commitment to Christ as the Apostle Paul (Gal 2:20).
  • Elaine has two twice monthly Bible Studies with 2 and 6 women who are studying the Gospel of Mark.
  • On Saturday March 21st, John spoke to the Japan Council of Philippine Churches for their annual worship and prayer concert. About 320 people from 14 churches heard John share from the book of Isaiah and the spiritual condition of Japan.
  • On Palm Sunday, 9 people from a local church gathered and John “pinch-hit” for a pastor who was recently in the US for Retool Kit training and recovering from the flu.

Whether we are sharing the word with hundreds or one-on-one please ask God to open the minds of Japanese, touch Christian hearts, and challenge leaders to know and obey God. Pray for us as that God may open doors for us to share his Word. Pray that God might continue to feed us as well with his marvelous Word. Help us spread God’s Word in Japan by contributing financially to our ministry. To give just go to the www.convergeworldwide.org/give/49651 website.

Category: For Prayer, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

Prayer March 2015

March 3rd, 2015 by John


  1. Thank you for praying for the CPI Leadership Team retreat last month. God really met us personally and corporately with vision, deep prayer, and encouragement.
  2. The JEMA Plenary meeting and the Rengo meetings last week all went very well. Relationships for ministry are growing and encouraging.


  1. 3/11 is the fourth year after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Tokoku. During this time many have troubled feelings. Pray that the church would respond to this hopelessness.
  2. 3/14 CPI Gospel Seminar – Pray for Pastors Fukuda and Aoyagi as they lead training in this material in Japanese.
  3. 3/21 John will be the keynote speaker at the Japan Council of Philippine Churches “Bless Japan: prayer and worship concert. Pray for clarity and solid challenge for work in Japan.
  4. Our whole Converge Japan Team will meet for our Spring Field Council 24-26th. Please pray for the key decisions made there, our team fellowship together, and the Ellisons retirement party. Intercede for Elaine who is in charge of all local arrangements.
  5. Elaine has a very full month of outreach classes, mentoring, and meetings including KCS board meeting. Pray for strength and life balance.
  6. Pray for times of focused attention as John works on some major writing projects.

Category: For Prayer, Updates/News | No Comments »

FAQ: How can we help reach Japanese?

March 3rd, 2015 by John

Share Christ with the Japanese

  1. Reach Japanese International Students – Like other unreached people groups, Japan has one of the largest groups of international students in the US. There are many in our home state of Illinois and other areas. See this article. There may be Japanese high school exchange students in your area.
  2. Host an English Homestay through your church. Japanese can come to experience America for 7-10 days and spend time with you. You can partner through a church or Christian school in Japan.
  3. Start an English Bible study for Japanese in your area. A good place to start is placing a flyer in local Japanese restaurants. Not need to know Japanese. Japanese want to learn English.

Pray for the Japanese

Without the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Japan we will not see movements of God like historically in Korea and China. Prayer information on Japan is at Operation World, Operation Japan, and our website.

Partner with Japanese Churches

  1. Send a team on a vision trip to Japan. Visit Japanese churches and build relationships with them that may lead to ministry partnerships. These can be 2-10 people. There will be one Converge team and Acts 29 team next month.
  2. Send a ministry team to Japan. Many Japanese churches could use various English outreaches, children’s ministry, music/drama, and other outreaches.
  3. Invite some leaders to visit you and your church. Recently several Rengo pastors attended our Converge Transformation meeting in the US. Later they visited several churches in the Seattle area.
  4. Invite a team from Japan to learn and minister in your church. Japanese could have seminars on Ikebana (flower arranging), Japanese language classes, Japanese calligraphy, origami (paper folding), Japan pop culture (manga, anime), and many other things.

Category: For Prayer, Quake Relief, Short Term, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

Growing Leaders

March 3rd, 2015 by John

Both of us spend mElaine Prayer Group 2uch time with leaders both Japanese and missionary. One of our key objectives is to help grow transformational leaders for Japan. We would like to take you to some scenes over the last several weeks that involved growing leaders.


Spiritual Renewal Mentoring

One couple attended the Church Planting Institute (CPI) Conference in 2013, their lives were changed there from performance-based Christianity to a more grace-based orientation. They approached us for more intensive personal mentoring. As a result, they have been experiencing inner transformation in their hearts as well as changes in their marriage and relationships. This refreshing renewal is spilling over into their ministry. They both blessed others with their gospel testimonies at last November’s seminars and are potential trainers within our CPI movement. Like this couple, each month we mentor leaders in spiritual formation, continual renewal, growing in repentance, and faith development. Right now we are mentoring several missionary couples and individuals and one pastor’s wife.

Church Planting Coaching

  • A church planter from India recently began working in the area near our home. He approached John about mentoring him personally and with his new church plant. Recently they met to brainstorm about his vision to plant a gospel-centered church.
  • John serves in the Rengo National Mission Department as one mission partner. Currently there are 9 Rengo church plants in progress throughout Japan. Last week John met at a Church Planters’ Summit with these church planters to encourage and hear updates on their ministry.

Leadership Consulting

  • From time to time mission leaders ask John for some consultation on their overall strategy for planting churches. Just last week John met with a church planting couple working in Ishinomaki which was ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami 4 years ago. They wanted some feedback on their vision and strategy to plant churches in that hurting city.
  • A few months ago a mission approached John about consulting with their mission. Their entire mission team was contemplating a move to new area with a far-reaching new church multiplication vision. To birth an entire new church network in this new area, John is working with them to develop their teams’ vision, core values, and strategy.

Growing as Leaders

  • Continual mentoring others in spiritual renewal keeps both our hearts warm with the Gospel.
  • Just a few weeks ago John retreated with his CPI Leadership Team. The purpose was to coach, pray, and stimulate each other in our ministry vision and personal lives.
  • As we mentioned last month, we along with 4 others working in Japan, are involved in a Gospel Discipling Cohort learning how to disciple people in the gospel. We apply this to ourselves & others.

Continue to pray for us as we develop transformational leaders to multiply churches among the Japanese, the world’s second largest unreached people group.

Category: For Prayer, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »