GOSPELREST

John and Elaine Mehn

Archive for the 'Short Term' Category

Prayer Feb 2015

February 1st, 2015 by John

GOD ANSWERED

  1. Thank you for praying for the Training for Trainers Seminars in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya last month. There were 77 total involved in the seminars. Many will be multiplying evangelism and discipleship ministries as a result.
  2. John preached at the Nerima Baptist Church on Jan 25th on Global Missions. Many were stimulated and challenged to be involved in missions.

PRAYER PARTNER SPOTLIGHTS

  1. Our CPI Leadership Team has a retreat Feb 18-19. Pray for wisdom, openness, and growth.
  2. There are some key JEMA meetings (2/23) and RENGO meetings (2/23-25) this month.
  3. We, along with 4 others working in Japan, are involved in a Gospel Discipling Cohort learning how to disciple people in the gospel. Pray that these internet cohort meetings would go smoothly in preparing us. For the last two meetings some were missing and the last one had to be cancelled due to illness.
  4. John had little time last month to focus on his major writing project. Pray for time and focused attention.

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FAQ Japanese Partners

February 1st, 2015 by John

Frequently Asked Question:

How do you partner with Japanese leaders and churches?

  • Elaine partners with our “home church” Crossroad church in a card making craft class each month. Participating are several new people and many who do not yet know Christ.
  • John signed up for another year as a cooperating missionary at the Nerima Baptist Church. This past year John led training for leadership, evangelism and missions.
  • Thank you for praying for the key meetings with the Rengo NMD meetings last month (see above).
  • John met last week with about 15 Japanese leaders from around Japan to plan another Church Multiplication Vision Festival this fall. These leaders come from many organizations and denominations. May Japanese vision expand and grow!
  • So you can see that our partnership with the Japanese involves partnering with individuals, churches, and networks of churches. Many of these we post on Facebook. In any event it involves drinking many cups of tea.
  • Come join us in partnership with the Japanese. There are many ways to partner with Japanese churches, organizations and networks. Check out our website GospelRest.com or Contact us.

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Gearing Up Feb 2015

February 1st, 2015 by John

Gearing Up Feb 2015

Get out your calendars, notepads, and spreadsheets. We plan for successful ministry. Preparation in any endeavor is crucial. Planning is essential preparation. We both have an ongoing process of planning, praying, and preparing for ministry ahead.

  1. We plan for multiplication. Much of our mentoring and coaching ministry envisions others who will multiply our leadership. Last month we finished key gospel renewal material with one young couple who could be potential trainers and mentors. And so we began some other curriculum to help them in this process. We need to develop leaders who are continually transformed by the gospel. People who can model and train are vital.
  2. We plan for We need to develop leaders who have growing faith and vision. In our church planting training we are concerned for the crucial “next steps” that each church planter will be facing. But we are also concerned that God would enlarge their horizons and believe God for new things. For many our CPI events does just that. Vision is an essential aspect of leadership.
  3. We plan for ministry impact. Recently we completed our Japan field plans for our Converge Worldwide team. We share these with our Japanese partners in the Rengo. Last month we had valuable meetings with those National Mission Department NMD leaders. Together we plan that God’s Kingdom would advance.
  4. We plan continually. So for us gearing up is a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly process that involves each other and often other partners as well. You can have a significant part is this whole “gearing up” process. You can pray for guidance, wisdom, and for the ministry relationships we have that they would be full of unity and vision with clear direction and roles.

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Pray for Unreached Japan

December 1st, 2014 by John

For many years we have partnered in the CPI Leadership Team with Dan Iverson missionary with Mission to the World (a fellow JEMA member) of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). These are adapted comments from one of his letters…

     “The statistics for those spiritually lost in Japan make me weep. 70,000 new churches are needed. Is this “Mission Impossible”? These numbers here show why Japan continues to be listed as the second largest unreached people group (UPG) in the world. The 8,000 protestant churches (more than 8 times the number of Roman Catholic parishes/churches) might seem like a large number. But in the US Metro Atlanta alone has many more than that. With a population of 127 million, Japan has only one Protestant church for every 16,000 people (1/ 16,000). In the USA, one of the most reached countries in the world the ratio is 1/ 1000, with some places in the “Bible belt” being 1/ 300 or 1/ 400. Some might say that many of the churches in the USA are not good churches; but possibly many churches in Japan are also not solid churches, and the average size of these 8,000 churches in Japan is only 35.

      After World War II, General MacArthur called for 10,000 missionaries to come to Japan, but only a few thousand came. In 1983 there were 2,613 missionaries in Japan. In 2013 that number was down to 1,868, a 30% loss.  Southern Baptist (IMB) missionary numbers dropped from 159 to 46 over this 30- year period, and TEAM, the largest mission in Japan in 1983, from 195 missionaries to 60.  

     This incredible decline in the number of missionaries would not be so sad if all these missionaries had been replaced by a growing number of indigenous Japanese pastors.  This is the ultimate goal in good mission work. But tragically, the number of Japanese pastors is also rapidly decreasing. They are aging and becoming few in number.

      Some leading missions experts say that to “reach” a country, to get the gospel within reach of every person, we need one church for every 1,500 people (1/ 1,500). The USA surpasses this goal by 50%! Praise the Lord!  But for Japan to get to a 1/ 1,500 ratio we need about 70,000 new churches (factoring in that some of the 8000 existing churches will die). When we think that Protestant church planting began in Japan 150 years ago, yet there are still only 8,000 churches, this mission before us seems very impossible.

      Jesus said He would build His church.  Our mission is focused on church planting as the best way to reach Japan. Jesus commanded us to pray for workers as a means to this end (Matt 9, Luke 10). Please continue to pray for new career missionaries, and new Japanese harvest laborers in our Japan ministry. While many mission groups are decreasing in their missionary numbers, God has blessed and we have grown from under 15 in 1983 to over 50 today. Thank you for your prayers for laborers. Please continue to pray for many more. And for the even greater challenge of more godly, gifted Japanese ministry partners (and for the other evangelical mission agencies and churches of Japan).  If God raised up 20,000 new Japanese and missionary laborers it will still be too few for the task before us. Please pray with us.  Please prayerfully consider being one of those many laborers needed!” 

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Harvest Workers

October 2nd, 2014 by John

14-09-01 Tokyo Mission Team and Mas

Japan Tokyo Team: (Front to Back, Left to Right) Jane Fischer, Elaine, Mary Lou and Tom Ellison, John, Ian Smith, and Mas Kobayashi

Two new workers arrived a few weeks ago to join the Japan team. One came for 6 weeks; one for a career. We are excited to have a new career missionary, one who felt the call to be sent, Ian Smith. Ian has a great passion for planting multiplying churches in Japan. Right now he is in full-time Japanese language studies, essential for in-depth ministry in Japan. Pray as he builds relationships with Japanese and our team and adjusts to his new home in Chiba Tokyo. His vision is to catalyze multiple gospel-driven church planting movements in Japan.

Mas Kobayashi is no stranger to Japan. He was born here but has lived over 20 years in Canada. We have lost count how many times he has come to work as a short-term worker. Thank you to our partner BGC Canada for sending him, again. In past trips he worked at the CPI Conference as a translator, served on two tsunami disaster teams, and helped Rengo churches. The last several times his focus has been strengthening pastoral leaders and churches. In Rengo churches a few are without regular pastors, some pastors have health struggles, and others pastors are just overworked without any sabbatical. Mas blesses these churches by taking the load off for a week or two so these pastors and churches can take a breath. Mas leaves Japan on October 16th after 6 weeks of ministry. Mas will probably return next year. Hopefully some of you would have joined him.

These two personally illustrate what Converge Worldwide Japan is all about: Starting and strengthening churches. We need more Harvest Workers in Japan. We need many more people just like Ian and Mas, both short-term and career. Converge Worldwide Japan is looking for ministry teams, interns for CPI, school teachers, music teams, child care teams, outreach ministry teams, performance teams and IT people for 1-2 weeks, 1-3 months and 1-2 years. Maybe you know someone who could come serve in the 2nd largest unreached people in the world and a strategic world nation. Maybe that someone is you! Please contact us for more information, info@gospelrest.com.

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

John Piper and Japan

September 20th, 2014 by John

Many of you probably know him by his writings and Desiring God ministry. John Piper is probably the most widely known pastor in our Converge Worldwide association of churches. He has served on our mission board. He is a Biblical scholar, a mission’s statesman, and a pastor of an exemplary missional church. After the tsunami his church Bethlehem Baptist church sent several teams to work with us in Ishinomaki among disaster victims.

John Piper will be coming to Japan in October for 3 days of speaking events (with many other speakers). We have been waiting for this to happen. Of the 2.6 billion unreached people on our planet the Japanese are the second largest group with 127 million. Missions exists in Japan because worship does not. Pray for Japan, pray for more harvest workers here, pray for these meetings October 11-13.

Category: For Prayer, Quake Relief, Short Term, Tidbits, Updates/News, Video | 1 Comment »

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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