GospelRest

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

Archive for the 'Short Term' Category

Disaster – Three Years After

March 10th, 2014 by John

March 11, 2011 is memorialized all over Japan. The triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident are still very fresh in people’s minds. Just last week we received a flyer for a memorial meeting in Machida to remember those who lost so much three years ago. Machida had two deaths due to the earthquake. This month will mark 3 years after the disaster.

Japan Disaster Response – Early on, with the cooperation of North American churches, Converge Worldwide distributed supplies, helped clean up neighborhoods, was on site to listen to many hurting people, and helped rebuild homes in conjunction with ministry partners. Converge Worldwide sent timely funds and sponsored over 250 volunteers on over 20 teams to assist in responding to this disaster. For us that ministry has ended but continues through the lives of our ministry partners.

Ministry in Word and Deed – Elaine and John were in Tohoku in February, first visiting ministry friends in Iwaki City Fukushima and then working in Ishinomaki with our ministry partners. Ministry began with the biggest snowfall in the city in 91 years. Due to the difficulty of driving, we had to cancel John preaching at the Ishinomaki House of Prayer. Instead, we noticed the whole neighborhood shoveling in front of their houses as the city has no plows or equipment for removing snow from the street. This allowed us and Dean & Linda Bengtson to connect with neighbors by helping them shovel out. This was a great connection for the concert to be held the following weekend.

Building Relationships
• Elaine had 4 greeting card classes in which she shared the love of Christ. Nine ladies attended and shared their struggles as they try to emotionally recover.
• John and Elaine were able to meet several families we have helped over the last several years sharing the gospel with them and praying for them.
• John and Dean visited some other families, one man was studying the Bible and we were able to share the gospel story with him. Pray for all these people as they continue to be followed up by local Christians.
• John met with two families that have been helped by Converge Worldwide funds to rebuild their homes. One family hopes to be back in their home in March.
• Our Converge Worldwide Japan mission has been helping a temporary housing center with supplies for the last 3 years. John and Elaine were able to meet with several of the families as they distributed supplies. We were encouraged that after this winter season everyone will be on their feet enough where this will not be needed next year. John was asked to present a short message to them where he shared from John 3:16. Mrs. Abe said that message was more meaningful than I could have shared on Sunday in church.

Planting Churches – From the beginning the ministry of our partners, Dean & Linda Bengtson and Mr. Hajime Abe has been targeted to plant churches in the Shintake and Urayashiki neighborhoods; neighborhoods which never had a church. Well things are moving to the next stage for church planting. One home will be rented later this year to be used as a community center, for housing volunteers, and holding Bible studies and worship services. Our mission has helped get that home ready for occupancy. For video on this next step http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCFcy6wgcvg

From Disaster to the Kingdom of God – Rengo churches and Converge Worldwide teams worked in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures. Many churches have established ministries in the area and also many missionaries have relocated to the area. In Ishinomaki alone, a city of 150,000 before the massive tsunami, there were only 7 churches which averaged about 10 per church. Today there are over 12 churches and numbers have swelled in many of them. One house church has on average 50 people coming weekly! There have been many who have been baptized. Like the rest of Japan, this area is still hard work with the gospel but the days are encouraging for churches throughout Japan.

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

JAPAN NEEDS HARVEST WORKERS

December 31st, 2013 by John

This last summer a short-term worker from the Midwest worked in one Japanese church for just a few weeks. As a result the church made at least 38 new contacts of people in the community who previously had no connection to the church. We need more workers like him. “Come over and help us.” Recently our field met and discussed the needs for many harvest workers. Here is a shortened list:
1. Relational Evangelism ministry – come to share your faith story in small contexts with Japanese for 7 days to 3 months
2. Music teams, professional quality for 10 days to 2 weeks working in mainly small settings.
3. Pastors and leaders to come and receive a vision of Japan to see what God might want to do.
4. Kansai Christian School yearly Spring spiritual emphasis week speakers, coordinators needed.
5. Kansai Christian School Summer (July-Aug) English immersion program – teachers needed.
6. Summer 2014 Ministry trip – individuals or teams to come for 2-3 months working with English, sports, kids, or music.
7. Church Planting Institute interns working with coordination, communication (webpages, social networking), administration, research, for 2 weeks to 3 months. Housing provided.
8. Skilled counselors to help train Japanese pastors and leaders long-term in counseling methods.
9. Teachers for Kansai Christian School for 6 months to several years.
What can you do?
1. Well, you can pray that God would supply these workers (and many others we have not thought about).
2. You can send others from your region, church, or family. This involves preparation, prayer, and finances.
3. You can go. What would be some ways God could use you in Japan short or long-term?
4. Please consider these action steps and if you have questions please contact us at JMehn@GospelRest.com. We are waiting to hear from you.

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

Equipping Church Planters

December 8th, 2013 by John

Over 325 leaders were equipped in the over 150 hours of training offered at the 2013 CPI National Conference near Mount Fuji. This conference was the 4th largest CPI conference (just slightly smaller than 2011). About 80 children also participated in a Kids’ Program.

Over ½ attending were new people! So CPI continues to grow by attracting new and younger people, this all keeping CPI fresh. There seems to be a developing interest in missions to Japan (specifically from Singapore this time) mainly from growing interest after the triple disaster. God is stirring up Harvest Workers.

We are pleased to announce that the “Walking in the Gospel: for Life and Ministry” curriculum project was published for the conference. This published version was used for training trainers and also to train many attendees in spiritual renewal. Two World Harvest Mission team members worked with us on the curriculum and helped train others in gospel discipling. We added another training team to meet the needs of those we anticipated wanting to take this course. John and Elaine taught 3 of those 4 sessions. Probably one half of all attendees took the English or Japanese “Gospel Track.” Much life change was reported. Next year we will release a final version of the curriculum and have regional seminars to equip people and to equip people to train others.

John never taught more at a national conference. John opened the session on training in gospel-centered discipleship. He also taught a new Japanese Church Leadership course, and participated in 3 sessions of the “Gospel Track.” The highlight for John was the leaders’ dinner where several key leaders shared with the entire group the strategic nature of CPI in envisioning for church multiplication and spiritual renewal in the church in Japan at this time. Elaine besides training, led a table group, and the women’s luncheon was great blessing. Main session table group time was exciting as many shared about connecting and being healed by this process.

At this conference were 23 students from Christ Bible Seminary. They were taking the CPI Conference along with reading and writing assignments to complete a two credit course in church planting. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a seminary course has been offered in church planting in a Japanese seminary. We are hoping other seminaries will be interested in using CPI training events to offer courses in church planting.

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

Come to Japan

September 3rd, 2013 by John

The CPI National Conference is being held November 13-15 near Hakone. WANT TO BE INVOLVED? Already a ministry team of volunteers is preparing to come to Japan to assist in the program, office work, and children’s programs. This team could use more members. If you are interested please see videos, brochures, and more at the website http://japancpi.com/. Please pray that this volunteer team would recruit the required workers for the conference.

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

DO MISSION

September 3rd, 2013 by John

Excitement oozed out from my phone handset as I talked to a Japanese speaker about the theme for this fall’s CPI National Conference. I could tell he was smiling and he was very excited as well. “Do Mission” sounds somewhat odd in English but it is great Japanese English. Japanese often use the phrase DO ___. In an Ishinomaki shopping mall I recently saw a sign saying “DO MALL.” We had stumbled on a timely and great theme for the conference.
Several leaders asked me what the theme “Do Mission” means. It means we want to return to the basics of the Great Commission and the God-given strategy of church planting. The evangelism and church planting torch is not being blazed enough in Japan. We want to emphasize DOING mission not just talking about it. So we continue to focus on Kingdom vision and practical application. The CPI conference is for anyone interested in seeing the church multiplied in Japan. Attendees are missionaries, pastors, church leaders, and students. We expect between 300-500 participants from all over Japan and the world.

Pray that the presenters, discussions, and participants would all re-grasp and rekindle the priority of the Great Commission in their lives and ministries. We want them to be more deeply focused on extending evangelism, reproducing disciples, developing leaders, and multiplying churches that transform communities around the world. Pray that we may all raise the torch in this country of spiritual darkness. Pray too that everyone will go home with glowing embers to inflame their every corner of ministry.

CPI CONFERENCE SPECIAL PRAYER NEEDS (10 weeks and counting)
1. Pray that we may follow God for this conference and he graciously meets all who attend.
2. Pray for John, leaders, the operations team, and volunteers as they prepare for the conference.
3. Pray that God would fill one key position related to registration processing.
4. Ask God for skill and energy as the team faces a rapid number of registrations this month.
5. Ask God to especially equip those 40-50 people making presentations at the conference.

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

Summer Video Update

August 19th, 2013 by John

This summer we visited 3 churches and gave live brief (3:40) updates. This video includes the PowerPoint slides as well as the audio. Great for your small groups or worship meeting.(Recorded at Faith Church, Grayslake IL). http://youtu.be/0tQv0AHnF5o

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

THE LAST TOHOKU TEAM

July 3rd, 2013 by John

Last month was bittersweet as John led the last Japan Disaster Response team to Ishinomaki City. The team was 7 volunteers from Grace Baptist Church in Santa Maria CA and one from Bethlehem Baptist Minneapolis. Elaine later joined the team for focused women’s meetings coordinated by Linda Bengtson. The team setup for a gospel concert attended by over 60 Japanese, discussed with many victims, cleaned several properties, and prepared for the July 13th concert venue. Please check out our video about the last stages of Converge Worldwide work in the disaster area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5L7QWDo-U4&feature=youtu.be. Again thank you for your prayers, generosity, and involvement in recovery ministries from the triple disaster. Our ministry partners carry on loving people practically and building Christ’s church in this unchurched area.

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

SPOTLIGHT PRAYER JUNE

June 5th, 2013 by John

1. A key Rengo National Mission Department meeting will be held June 11, 12 in Nara. Pray for God to grant vision, faith, wisdom and joy.
2. A team from California joined by veteran Ritsuko Narita from Bethlehem Minneapolis will form another team to serve in Ishinomaki to help disaster victims. June 16-27th. Elaine will be joining the group from 21st-26th to target women’s ministry with Linda Bengtson. Pray for travel, safety, prepared hearts, and opportunities to share and serve.
3. Continue to pray for a good job for Tim.
4. Registration started this month for the CPI Conference in November www.JCPI.net. Pray for the preparations for the conference and key positions to be filled for this large conference.
5. Praise for answered prayer that a dear Japanese friend of many years is finally getting married on June 15th.
6. John and Elaine celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary this month.

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

April Prayer Items

March 31st, 2013 by John

Items for Prayer April 2013
1. Ask for God’s blessing as Roger Inoye and Dan Maxton come to Japan in March and April to visit Rengo churches and pastors. Pastor Dan Maxton from LifeBridge church in San Diego will stay with us April 5-13.
2. Ask God to bless our April 3-5 Field Council with his presence love and vision.
3. Thanks for praying for John’s ministry of training small group leaders. John will launch a ministry in the Nerima church in May.
4. A disaster response team from the Adelphia School in Seattle arrives April 23rd and stays to May 1. Pray for each of the 7 students and the school dean, Sean Post. God seems to be orchestrating things for this trip.
5. Continue to pray for the developments for the CPI National Conference in November including speakers and promotion. We will also be having a Church Planters’ BootCamp in Nagoya early next year.
6. Pray for our April schedule. Both Elaine and John are non-stop with ministry and key events. Ask God to grant us good health, strength, endurance, peace, joy and faith that God will use us for His Glory.

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

People of Hope

February 3rd, 2013 by John

People of Hope
February 2013 – Updates for Prayer

At the Ishinomaki church one woman came up me after the sermon and said, “Sensei, I suffer from depression.” I was a bit shocked by her directness but said in at least six unique ways that “Jesus loves you.” She began to smile and tears ran down her cheek. There is much power in the Name of Jesus and in His Gospel!

DISASTER AREA IN JANUARY – Joel Erickson from Bethany Moline church joined John for a trip to Tohoku Jan 4-13. Thanks for praying. Tohoku was cold but the weather was good, very little snow. We had no trouble getting around in “snow country.” 1) We completed the last section of Abe’s house started by Team Ohio in November. 2) We developed a deeper relationship with the Shojis. They are the same family I shared about at the Converge Worldwide Biennial meeting (http://www.gospelrest.com/a-story-of-one-family/). Mrs. is reading Christian author, Miura Ayako’s, novel Shiokari Pass I gave them for Christmas (last Christmas was a Bible). We rejoiced with them in the progress made on their property since the tsunami.

CONNECTING WITH JESUS
1. Elaine will be the main speaker at a women’s luncheon at the Tokyo Horizon Chapel on Saturday February 9th. Pray that both pre-Christians and Christians would be reminded of the great love of the Father.
2. We have a Valentine’s Dinner with the Agape Group on 2/10. Pray that God would speak to their hearts.
3. Elaine’s Birthday is Tuesday February 19th. She will turn 60. Help her celebrate!
4. Elaine continues to minister weekly with women through her classes and mentoring. Pray for each woman. The Bible studies are phenomenal as each person goes home changed each time.

BUILDING FOR IMPACT
1. The Church Planting Institute (CPI) is endorsing seminar March 4-5 in Sendai on Rural Church Planting. There are 929 towns and villages in Japan without any church. There are also 41 other areas unreached and 11 cities still without churches. Please pray that more churches will be started in towns and villages of Japan! John will be facilitating some training sessions.
2. Thank you for praying for several key meetings with JEMA and CPI leadership for the CPI National Conference this November. We are moving forward to DO MISSION. Pray more as we work more!
3. Japan Disaster Response teams are still needed through December. Pray as John develops our response to planting churches where we have worked. PTL! Partner Dean Bengtson moves into the neighborhood February 7th. This will develop the permanent presence we have worked for.

Thanks for praying for John’s greeting to the Tokyo young people becoming adults on 1/15. John shared with them the need of hope in Japan and challenged them to be a People of Hope because we have a God of Hope (Romans 15:13). Continue to pray that Elaine and I do exactly that each day.

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