Japanese Lutherans give generously

A tsunami-disrupted visit to Asian and Australian Lutheran churches by leaders of Japan’s tiny Kinki Evangelical Lutheran Church was finally able to go ahead in December, when Adelaide hosted the group for three ‘days of discovery and grace’.

Osaka-based President Rev Shigeo Sueoka, Vice President Rev Hagenonshita Terumitsu and Secretary of the Department of Overseas Missions Rev Naoki Sugioka met with LCA and SA/NT District leaders and Australian Lutheran College staff.

They also visited the Barossa Valley as part of their tour.

They brought financial ‘gifts of grace’ for flood and earthquake-affected Lutherans in Australia and New Zealand, a purpose they had originally planned to fulfill earlier in the year.

However, the devastating earthquake and tsunami which hit the Japanese island of Honshu on 11 March changed all that. (Kinki is a district of Honshu.)

As part of this revised tour, the leaders shared how Japanese life has changed since the tsunami and described their own journeys of faith and the particular cultural difficulties faced by Japanese people turning to Jesus out of traditional belief systems.

They came to see what is happening in other Lutheran churches and also to be encouraged by other Lutherans, the group said.

Established by the Norwegian Lutheran Mission and other partners in the 1950s, the Kinki Evangelical Lutheran Church is a share partner in mission with the Lutheran Church of Australia, through its association with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand and the Lutheran Church in Singapore – also included in the leaders’ itineraries.

Kinki Evangelical Lutheran Church is the second-largest of six Lutheran churches in Japan: with 2700 baptised members it is much smaller than the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church (22,000 members) but all of the different Lutheran groups have a history of sharing resources and cooperating with each other.

The group was encouraged and inspired by the ministries and resources of the LCA.

They were also keen to know how they might use publications of the LCA, including books such as Growing as God’s People by translating them into Japanese.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner church in Japan at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/japan/