【October 2017 No.394】Greetings from Kyodan Missionaries in Belgium

by Kawakami Yasushi and Kawakami Masaki

Brussels, Belgium

We are both ordained pastors, and in April we were sent to the Japanese-language Protestant Church in Brussels, Belgium. At the end of March 2016, after nine years of service, we resigned from Iida Azumacho Church in Nagano Prefecture and moved our base to Tokyo. Then after approximately a year of preparation, we left for Belgium without incident.

 

During that year, we visited many churches, mainly in Tokyo, and attended their worship services. In addition, we had the chance to deliver sermons and make appeals, asking for prayers and support for our Belgian mission. We were extremely grateful for the warm welcome given to us at all the churches we visited. When we were apt to lose heart while preparing for a difficult journey, thanks to the people who offered us words of encouragement, we were given the strength to continue our preparations.

 

Most of the financial needs of overseas mission work are covered by the people in Japan who support this work through donations. At present, nearly 400 individuals provide both spiritual and material support for the Belgian mission to move forward. We are amazed once again that we have been afforded so much help and feel profound gratitude to God and to all those who have helped us.

 

Since we assumed our post, the church has been moving forward slowly but steadily. This church had been without a full-time pastor for about two-and-a-half years, and as is the tendency in many overseas expatriate churches, members who had been posted in Belgium for a few years were returning to Japan, leading to a decline in membership. Likewise, there was no functioning church council when we arrived, so we have been overcoming these difficulties as we move forward. At the same time, many small joys have been multiplied, such as newcomers being led to the church and members who have been away being led back to the church. At Sunday worship services, it is obviously an irreplaceable joy for Japanese living abroad to worship together and talk to each other in their native language.

 

Our next challenge is for the church as a whole to identify its mission and, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, how each of us will respond in service to that mission. Once again, as we pray earnestly for the guidance of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, our hope is that we will accept the mission God has given this church and all those joined together with it. In addition, buoyed by the prayers and financial assistance for this foreign mission by many churches and the prayers of many sisters and brothers, we believe that God’s works will be revealed here and we will move forward, following the Lord’s guidance.

 

Finally, we ask that you would pray for the spiritual as well as for the physical health of all those engaged in foreign mission, including ourselves. Prayer is not merely a comfort, but God’s power itself. In the name of the Lord, we pray for your continued support. (Tr. DB)

4月よりベルギー、ブリュッセル日本語プロテスタント教会に遣わされた川 上寧(Kawakami Yasushi)、川上 真咲(Kawakami Masaki)と申します。

2016年3月末に、9年間お 仕えした長野県、飯田吾妻町教会を辞して東京に拠点を移し、約1年間の渡航の準備を経て無事にベルギーに参りました。

この1年間 で、東京を中心に多くの教会をお訪ねし、礼拝に出席させていただきました。また説教奉仕、ベルギー宣教のアピール等の機会もいただき、お 祈りとご支援のお願いをして参りました。いずれの教会でも温かく迎えてくださったことは、本当に感謝に堪えません。難航する準備にともす れば挫けそうになるところを、励ましの言葉をかけてくださる方々に力をいただきながら準備を進めて来ることが出来ました。

海外宣教の働きは、その経済的必要のほとんどを日本でご支援くださる方々からの献金でまかなっております。現在400名近い、物心共に支えてくださる方々によってベルギー 宣教は進められております。これほど多くの助けが与えられているということに、改めて驚き、主なる神さまと皆さまに心より感謝いたしてお ります。

着任以降、教会はゆっくりとではありますが着実に歩みを進めております。約2年半近い専従牧師の不在、駐在員の教会メンバーは数年単位で帰国してしまうという海外教会特有の傾向、教会員の減少、 役員会の不在等の現状から少しずつ前を向いて踏み出しております。それに伴い、新来者が導かれたり、しばらく離れていた教会員が再び礼拝 出席に導かれたりと、小さな喜びが積み重ねられております。共に母国語で礼拝をささげ、語り合うことの出来る主の日は海外に住む日本人に とって代えがたい喜びの日であることを目の当たりにしております

今後の課題としては、この教会に与えられている使命が何であるのか、その与えられた使命に対して一人一人がどのように 仕え応えていくのかを、聖霊と御言葉の導きを通して教会全体で学んでいくことだと思っております。今一度、御言葉と聖霊による導きを強く 祈り求めながら、この教会と教会に結び合わされた一人一人に与えられた神さまからの使命を受けとめてまいりたいと願います。また、この宣 教の働きを祈りと経済的支援によって支えてくださる多くの教会と兄弟姉妹の祈りに支えられながら、神の御業がここで現わされることを信 じ、主の導きに従ってまいります。

最後に、私たちも含め海外に派遣されている宣教師の霊的かつ肉体的な健康のためにお祈りください。祈りは単なる慰めで はなく、神の力そのものです。どうぞ主にあってよろしくお願いいたします。