GospelRest

Accelerating Spiritual Renewal and Church Multiplication Movements – John and Elaine Mehn

Archive for April, 2010

April News&Prayer Letter

April 25th, 2010 by John

April 2010

Both of us have been on a busy treadmill since we returned to Japan early last July.  So much has been accomplished and God continues to bless ministry on many fronts.

Last November we had one of most successful CPI National Conferences as we touched the younger generation, saw more indications of life transformation, and renewed ministry vision.  God blessed and we also made money in this difficult global economy.  CPI is basically self-supporting.

Last month, John returned from LA as part of special training for Japanese leaders in church renewal.  Beginning last year, the Rengo leadership has developed a five-year program to assist each of the 66 Rengo churches to become healthy and grow.

Elaine’s outreaches to women are very lively and the Bible study is always full of great questions.  Several women appear very close to believe in Christ for salvation.

Earlier this month Elaine got together with two Japanese pastor’s wives in a LeadNet group.  These women meet for encouragement and support with the pressures of ministry and family in Japan.

John started a men’s English Bible study last fall and both pre-Christians are extremely open and asking great questions.  Several months ago one asked, “How many gods are there?”  John was delighted to remind him of the creation of the world and that there is one creator God.

In December, we began a new series of outreaches to evangelize Japanese couples with a Christmas Dinner Party.  One of our partnering churches sent 5 people to be a part of this event.  We later had a Saint Valentine’s Party as well.  Of the participants, only one Japanese is a Christian.  We are planning a “make your own pizza party” next month and hope to welcome several new people to this relational evangelism event.

Just earlier this week we facilitated a CPI Leaders’ Summit on Gospel Centered Leadership.  All leaders were encouraged as they studied their hearts and how God needs to work to renew them.  CPI is planning a new church bootcamp in November.  This will be a great time to equip church planters and their coaches.

Well we keep moving forward on all fronts, thanks to you.  Thanks for your interest, prayers, and generosity toward us so we can Accelerate Spiritual Renewal & Church Planting Movements here in Japan and beyond. More updates, information, and videos are on our website www.gospelrest.com.

Partnering with You, In HIS Mission,

John and Elaine Mehn

CW (BGC) Missionaries to Japan

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Gospel Music in Japan

April 24th, 2010 by John

I was recently visiting a downtown Machida music school building: POP.  Outside was an inventory of what music and instruments they could teach.  As expected there was piano, guitar (all kinds), trumpet, trombone, clarinet, cello, electric bass, and drum.  Also listed was GOSPEL CHORUS.

Since the big hit and subsequent boom in Black Gospel Music after the movie Sister Act, Black Gospel music as become part of the culture.  Many churches and ministries have ministry to the community by developing gospel choruses.  See the other post http://www.gospelrest.com/japanese-drums-meet-black-gospel-music/.  Most of the people who attend are interested in the style and freedom of the music but have no idea behind the words.  This is a great opportunity to explain the truth of the good news of Jesus in the Gospel.

Japanese churches we partner with have been asking for churches to send performance and workshop training teams to Japan.  Pray that God would send these laborers into his harvest field.  If you are interested please consider coming to Japan and help gospel outreach in this area.

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Great 7-Up Hunt is Over

April 18th, 2010 by John

As you may know John loves 7-Up but it is hard to find even in the world’s biggest city. John wrote about it last year.

Recently 7-Up has been appearing nearly everywhere in Japan. We think it could be because of the previous blog. John was in Nagoya and found it in a machine on the train platform. In Machida alone we have found it at no less than four machines. Some of them sell it at a discount of only 100 yen.

We are beginning to expect to see 7-Up when we see the blue Suntory vending machines. John has been tame and does not buy very many. But it is fun that the Great 7-Up hunt is over, at least until the sales season ends.

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Japanese Drums Meet Black Gospel Music

April 11th, 2010 by John

We have several friends working in Black Gospel music ministry.  This has been helpful in introducing the gospel of Jesus to Japanese.  Recently they wed this with Japan Taiko Drums which have become popular in western music. Check out this short video excerpt of a 300 member choir singing “Ride On King Jesus” with Taiko drums.

PS Black Gospel music was first developed in Chicago.

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Back to School

April 10th, 2010 by John

The school year started last week in Japan.  On Tuesday we were out and all the schools had their entrance ceremonies, kindergartens, grade schools, junior high, high schools and universities.   Then the parade in front of our house started on Weds.  We live along the prescribed route to the local grade school.

But things are different for the imperial household this year.  Those in line to the Chrysanthemum throne have elected to go to more normal schools.  In fact, Princess Mako will be going to a Christian university!  This is a great opportunity. See http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201001270370.html

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More Encouragements

April 7th, 2010 by John

Last week John met with a Japanese church planter.  He told us that he was able in 18 months to gather 50 people in worship!  As the average church in Japan is only 36, and if churches are able to break the 50 and 80 barrier fairly rapidly they will become large healthy churches.   Another Japanese leader reported they have 17 church planting parenting networks throughout Japan and they plan to have 20 by the end of the year!  This means 60+ churches are planning to have baby churches in the next three years!  PTL! These are all people we can learn from and help many others through CPI.

Thanks for your prayers and encouragements over the last several months.  We have been a whirlwind of activity including many key meetings and visitors.  Several highlights have been the Retool Kit training in the US, Elaine’s LEADNet meeting, a great Japan Field Council, and the Velascos visit to the field.

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Who Will Go to the Unreached?

April 7th, 2010 by John

Over 9 days Levi and Diane Velasco visited Japan.  Levi is the Director of Recruiting for Converge Worldwide and they wanted to sense the needs here so they can better recruit people to come to Japan.  This is from their newsletter sent from Japan.

What pictures do you conjure when you hear the word “unreached”? In my mind, I see huts, muddy, potholed roads, crowded housing, slums, favelas and civil mayhem.  What if I told you that there is an unreached people group where the landscape includes well‐paved roads, skyscrapers, well‐appointed gardens, steel, glass and relative peace and safety? After more than 150 years of evangelical missions, less than 1% of 130 million Japanese claim to be born‐again believers. Yes, Japan. For so long, the Gospel has not been able to gain significant footing in Japan due to the prevailing influences of Shintoism and Buddhism. There are some signs however that point to a season of spiritual searching in Japan. According to John Mehn, Converge Japan Field Coordinator, the lack of economic stability in Japan has led to many societal ills including rising suicidal rates across all age groups, rampant divorce, abortions twice the rate in the U.S., alcoholism, increasing crime rate among seniors and Hikikomori, a tremendous fear of social contact , sometimes lasting over six months at a time. Plainly, the fabric of Japanese society is tearing as its long‐held beliefs and support structures no long provide answers for life’s questions. Japan no longer has the “ideal society” where employment to retirement is but a memory. There are 30,000 suicides committed in Japan annually and 1.2 million Japanese suffer from the effects of Hikikomori. And Japanese are clamoring for someone to save them. They may not know this yet, but there is only one Person who can save them ‐ His name is JESUS. The alarm has been sounded, but is Converge Worldwide up to the challenge of heralding the Good News in Japan, the best news the Japanese will ever hear? Why Japan, you may ask? I can say, because they have the highest literacy rates in the world, or that people are upwardly mobile, or their technology is advanced maybe even compared to the U.S., or because it has the potential of being a major missions sending nation. Why Japan now? BECAUSE JAPANESE NEED JESUS, just as much as other people groups in developing nations all around the world!

JAPAN NEEDS

1) Ministry specialists in sports, worship, youth, children, compassion

2) Mental health trainers

3) Church planting teams

4) Church planting coaches

5) Marketplace disciplers (corporate/ business)

6) Black Gospel choir directors

7) Visual, dance, drama and musical artists

8) ESL teachers

Ideal service terms: 23 weeks, 36 months, 612 months, 13 years, career

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