John and Elaine Mehn

John Back to Iwate

May 14th, 2011 by John

John will be leaving today with Phil Tsai, short-term worker, to work with a Rengo Disaster Response team in Iwate prefecture from the 15th to the 19th. The eight member team will include Pastor Sasaki, Rengo Board member, Pastor Kurashima of the Masago church, Associate Pastor Yamauchi of the Chuo church, the Wakaos of the Ishikawa Kita church and Pastor Yokota of the Minami Urawa church. This team is loaded with pastors!

John and Phil will pick up Pastor Yokota and supplies and then rendezvous the rest of the team at the Morioka Bible Baptist Church in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture on Sunday evening where we will spend the night. From Monday we will be working in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture distributing relief supplies, cleaning, removing debris, helping people emotionally, playing with kids, etc.

In this city of nearly 58,000 there are only two churches which together have only a weekly attendance of 39 people. Like the whole Tohoku region, this is a very unchurched and unevangelized area. We will be working with the Iwate 3.11 Church Network which is supporting relief efforts through local churches throughout Iwate Prefecture. Please pray for our hearts and our hands as we bring the love of Christ to this area.

Miyako lost more to 400 to the earthquake and tsunami and is the city where photos showed a waterfall-like tsunami over 124 feet high (about 10 stories) inundating the city. Photo: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/49440859 video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NztouaHuCXw

Please pray for opportunities to share the love of Christ both in word and deed on this trip. Pray that we may make many smile with hope. Pray to that God would give both John and Phil wisdom and sensitive eyes this trip. After this month trip, Phil will be returning to Japan later in August with a Disaster Response Team from Chicago (and St. Louis). Maybe some want to join him.

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May 1st, 2011 by John

Last month John joined a team from the Kokubunji Baptist church that did volunteer work in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture April 17-20. Pastor Nakano from the Crossroad church also joined the team. There has not been time to develop a video yet, but some pictures and video with English are at the church webpage http://homepage2.nifty.com/kbch/new/tohokusupport/tohokusupport.html. The trip was very successful in completing several projects.

John and a short termer from America will also be joining a volunteer team from Tokyo district churches heading back to Iwate Prefecture from May 15-19.

Several short-term teams are coming to Japan to help with the disaster response. Teams are expected to come this month, June, July and August. Please pray for these preparations and also for God to send more workers into the fall and next spring. WE NEED MORE SHORT TERM VOLUNTEERS and teams to come. If you are interested in coming to Japan as a volunteer or if you would like to apply please go to http://www.convergeworldwide.org/reach-nations/japan-relief .

We are looking for PRAYER intercessors who would like to back up Converge Worldwide (BGC) and Rengo efforts in disaster response. A new website group has been set up at http://groups.google.com/group/Pray4Japan/. Please visit regularly or sign up if you would like these regular updates.

If you or your church is interested in GIVING to Converge Worldwide disaster response please give at http://www.convergeworldwide.org/give/30292. If you are interested in contributing to our support needs please go to http://www.convergeworldwide.org/give/496511.

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

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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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!


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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Church Planting Institute Highlights

November 24th, 2009 by John

There are always several highlights at the CPI Conference. This time I was able to work it out to train in two sessions for missionaries in their first stages of church planting.  Normally running the conference I have no energy or time for this.  But God opened some opportunities and I love equipping and training church planters.

I had two sessions with 12-15 people each time.  They were from nearly everywhere in Japan from Sendai in the north to Yamaguchi in the south and everywhere in between like Nagano, Nagoya, Tokyo.  There were also 5 people from a Filipino church in Tokyo!  One was still in Japanese language school.  We discussed vision, calling, target group, philosophy and strategy.

What an opportunity to teach others what I have learned so they will not repeat my mistakes.  So many church planters do not even know where to begin so we help them with solid training.  We did receive some feedback on an evaluation form which is so encouraging to me. “John has done it and so he knows it.  It is obvious John loves Jesus, the church and helping equip people…. John is passionate and pours out in what he shares.  I am thankful ~ he shares content naturally.”  Well I cannot wait to train the next batch.  Several have asked me for coaching along the way.  How exciting!

An entire seminary attended the conference.  The president told me at the end of the conference they were all going home changed.  They are considering making CPI part of their curriculum.

I talked to one Rengo pastor who attended and was trained and encouraged.  He asked if he had to wait 2 years for the next conference.  I said “no way” as we hope to bring more regional training to him.

The post conference, regional training in Tokyo was extremely effective with 5 tracks offered during the day.  The training on the gospel renewal was very effective.  Some Japanese commented, “Why hadn’t we been taught about how God’s grace affects our sanctification before!” One of the men who attended is a very influential leader through his publications. He was excited to be able to apply these truths to his work. “I’ve thought throughout the years that we need to emphasize grace more but have never been taught how to do this!” was his comment!

In CPI we continue to emphasize Kingdom vision for Church Planting and also Gospel Renewal.  Both are blessing people in their hearts and their ministries.  Thanks for praying and encouraging.  Maybe you could send a team to be part of the conference in 2011.

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Work WITH Us

October 8th, 2009 by John

Work with us …

Develop direct partnerships with Japanese churches to help expand God’s Kingdom in Japan and beyond.

EXAMPLE: Just a few months ago a church sent a team from Kent, WA to cooperate in helping one of our Japanese church plants with outreach.  There are talks of them returning.  Maybe your church can partner with a Japanese church.

Come with a team or by yourself to carry on short-term ministry among Japanese.

EXAMPLE: In a few weeks, a team from one of our partnering churches in Saint Louis will be sending a team of 4 to help us put on the CPI Conference.  We could not put on the conference without them and we need this kind of help on a regular basis.

EXAMPLE: In December a team from northern Chicago will be coming for just a few days but we are having a Christmas Dinner Party outreach to our contacts in Bible studies and their spouses.

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How to Be Involved with US

August 23rd, 2009 by John

A pastor interviewed us a few weeks ago and asked, “How can we be involved with your ministry in Japan?”  Just a few ideas. Please think of some more and let us know.

Connect with us

  • Surf this same website www.gospelrest.com (a well kept secret).
  • Shoot us email.
  • Drop us a note.
  • Visit with us on Facebook.
  • Subscribe to our email news updates at this website.
  • Watch for us on video. We will be producing several short (1-2 min.) videos each year.  You can check this website for the latest release (07/09).

Pray for us – Key Tasks Ahead in 2009 & Beyond

  • Reestablishment of neighborhood outreaches and Bible studies in Machida, Tokyo.  Elaine has aread had one not-yet-Christian join her Bible study!
  • Preparations for the CPI National Conference November 3-6 and regional seminars following.  Registration has already begun.
  • Develop LEAD teams and LeadNet teams for Japanese leadership development for new churches.
  • Completion of John’s field research project on leadership for reproducing churches in Japan.

Work with us (Information at our website)

  • Develop direct partnerships with needy Japanese churches to help expand God’s Kingdom in Japan and beyond.
  • Come with a team or by yourself to carry on short-term ministry among the unreached Japanese.

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

Between Two Places: Looking Back/Looking Ahead

March 18th, 2009 by John

Since the beginning of the year we have been on Home Assignment in the US touring 20 of our partnering churches in the six months from January to June.

Home Assignment is always a good time to look back over the years of ministry and to look ahead to the years to come.  While visiting one of our partnering churches we were asked how our view of missions had changed over our 23 years of ministry in Japan. Wow! Where do you start?

When we went to Japan the Japanese people were a target people that we were sent to bring into the Kingdom. Their language, culture, and way of thinking were un-familiar to us. Now they are our friends and neighbors who need to know the truth of the Gospel. Our hearts are softer now and we see their need from hearts of compassion. This change has come as we have gotten to know people as well as culture.  Missions isn’t just about sharing the right words in a culturally appropriate way. It is sharing our lives and hearts with another person incarnationally. It is about caring about their soul more than they do and then sharing our own souls with them.

As John says while on Home Assignment he feels like he lives two lives, in two cultures, and two jobs.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Come over to Japan and Help Us!

February 1st, 2009 by John

Please pray about and consider these urgent needs for short-term English Teachers and children’s workers this fall.1) Church based English Outreach Ministry – Teach English conversation and English Bible studies, conduct camps and seminars through a Japanese church. Length 3 months-2 years. Longer stays will include personal mentoring. The Minami Urawa urgently needs a teacher from late August or early September. Participants must have at least two Read the rest of this entry »

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Children’s workers critical need 04/09

October 12th, 2008 by John

The BGC Japan Mission needs one or two children’s workers to provide a children’s’ ministry program for 6 missionary children ages 8-18 during our annual Field Council April 6-9, 2009.  Those coming allow the field staff to conduct their annual Field Council without having to worry about also caring for their children.  Come and enjoy Mount Fuji and the rest of Japan.  For more information contact Mary Lou Ellison at MLTellison@aol.com.

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