Mission Partner Update

“Japan is an exceptionally beautiful country with rich culture yet living up to its reputation as being technologically advanced.

Nirayama Church, Oct 2015

Nirayama Church, Oct 2015

Hugh and Heather Nelson have been in Japan since 1995 having a heart for missions and church planting. Along with a small team they are being a light in the small town of Nirayama in Shizuoka Prefecture. It has a population of around 20,000 and is picturesque with gorgeous views of Mount Fuji. Even though rural it is just two hours by train to the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo.

They have 2 sons; Jun, still at home and Tomo, who is at a Christian high school in Tokyo. They pastor a Japanese church, and run 'Happy Clubs’ where they teach English and Bible to 100 local children every week. They are also praying for and reaching out to small towns on their peninsula which have no church. Through family life and community networks they are active in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this country that is less than 1 percent Christian.

One of ten 'Happy Clubs' - where kids enjoy learning English and hearing the Gospel

One of ten 'Happy Clubs' - where kids enjoy learning English and hearing the Gospel

They were encouraged that their Christmas service was standing-room only, and that two-thirds of the people there were visitors.

The Japanese are some of the most kind and generous people in world. They largely live their life with a strong value of community and forming deep relationships with others investing much time.

There are no restrictions to preaching the Gospel but with the Japanese having strong traditions and such religious ties with the culture particularly in the older generation see making a decision for Christ as turning away from their Japanese identity.

Part of the 10-40 window and sometimes known as a missionaries' graveyard, mission in Japan is tough and slow going, requiring much patience. Hugh and Heather have showed that through this patient commitment to the Japanese people that they have over time people have been opened up their hearts. Hugh and Heather are very gentle and sensitive to the culture and of course also because Japanese love westerners it means that they are very natural for the Japanese to connect with.

In their time in Nirayama they have seen people make decisions for Christ, people get baptised and seen dozens of people connect with the church community. Tomo and Jun have also shown a natural ability in reaching out with missions in their own circles. Being brought up in Japan these boys have a very natural bridge when reaching the Japanese.

We indeed press on with much faith knowing that because of the Japanese community-centric mindset, if we stand Hugh and Heather then their heart to transform their immediate community will be powerful and lead others to follow.

Let’s carry on praying for the Nelsons and encouraging them in this pursuit of reaching this fascinating people group. As they do I am sure we can also gain much insight from this very different culture and how they begin to relate to the One who brings us true knowledge of who we are.”

Hugh and Heather in front of Nirayama Christ Church

Let’s carry on praying for the Nelsons and encouraging them in this pursuit of reaching this fascinating people group. As they do I am sure we can also gain much insight from this very different culture and how they begin to relate to the One who brings us true knowledge of who we are.”