【October 2019 No.404】A Visit with Kyodan Missionaries in Brussels and Cologne

by Nishinosono Michiko, chair Commission on Ecumenical Ministries

From June 4 through June 8, 2019, I was given the opportunity to visit Rev. Kawakami Yasushi and Rev. Kawakami Masaki, missionaries to the Japanese Language Protestant Church in Brussels, and Rev. Sasaki Ryoko, a missionary to the Cologne-Bonn Japanese Protestant Church, to inquire about their work and to pray with them.

 

Due to various circumstances, I had a very rushed schedule of only two days in the middle of this time slot to accomplish my mission, but I was able to visit the two countries of Belgium and Germany during this period. Actually, a one-way trip from Brussels to Cologne by express train takes a little less than two hours. From Noda Church, where I am presently appointed in Japan, traveling to Nishi Chiba Church for the Chiba District Assembly seems even “further.” European national boundaries can be crossed by plane or express train in one and a half to two hours to go to places where different languages are also spoken, and I realized anew that this is Europe.

 

On Wednesday afternoon I met missionary Sasaki Ryoko in Cologne and found that her health has been stable since her discharge from the hospital. I learned that she has been making good relationships not only with church members but also with Japanese residents of Cologne, so it appears that the possibilities for evangelism are broadening, beginning with house meetings and various other things that are being tried.

 

I met with the Kawakamis for lunch on Wednesday and again on Thursday afternoon. They gave me a tour of the church being borrowed for Sunday worship services and their parsonage and told me about their missionary activities in that area and their aspirations for the future. While I was there, Masaki received word of her father’s death, so for about a week from June 8, she hastily returned to Japan. I pray for God’s consolation.

 

Due to the frequent comings and goings of church members being transferred to other offices, the congregations in both Japanese language churches are small and face difficult situations. But despite that, there are persons fulfilling their life of faith as Japanese believers desiring to trust in God’s Word. Please remember and pray for their mission.

(Tr. RT)

 

「ブリュッセルとケルン宣教師問安報告」

 2019年6月4日(火)から8日(土)の日程で、ベルギー・ブリュッセルに派遣されている川上寧宣教師・真咲宣教師とドイツ・ケルンに派遣されている佐々木良子宣教師を訪ね、宣教報告を伺い、共に祈る時を与えられました。

 実質、問安のために動けたのは諸般の事情で中二日間だけという慌ただしいスケジュールでしたが、その間にベルギーとドイツの二カ国を訪ねることができました。実はブリュッセルとケルンは急行で片道二時間弱。現在私が着任している野田教会から千葉支区総会のために西千葉教会へ向かう方がよっぽど「遠い」と感じます。飛行機や急行で一時間半〜二時間で国境を越え、話されている言語も異なる地に行き来できる、それがヨーロッパであるということを改めて実感しました。

 水曜日午後はケルンで佐々木宣教師にお会いし、現在は退院後の健康も支えられ、教会員だけでなく、ケルン在住の日本人の方々とも良い関係を築きつつ、伝道の可能性を探り、家庭集会をはじめ、様々な取り組みをしようとしておられるご様子を伺いました。

 川上両宣教師には、水曜日のランチと木曜日の午後にお会いし、主日礼拝のために借りておられる教会や牧師宅をご案内いただきつつ、現地での宣教活動についてのご報告や今後の抱負等を伺いました。実はこの訪問期間中に、真咲宣教師のお父様が亡くなられたとの御連絡が入り、真咲宣教師は六月八日(土)から一週間ほどの日程で急遽日本に一時帰国されています。上よりの慰めを祈ります。

 ケルンもブリュッセルも、転勤等のため教会員の出入りが多く、どちらの日本語教会の群れも小さく、厳しい状況を抱えています。それでも日本を離れた地で、だからこそ日本語で信仰生活を守り、御言葉に預かりたいと願う人々がおられます。どうぞ宣教師たちの働きを覚えお祈りください。(西之園路子世界宣教委員長)