Unprecedented Openness in Japan

In Japan, long considered one of the most difficult to reach countries, people are searching for God, and pastors are responding to His call.

“The people in this region of Japan, particularly in Ishinomaki, are the most open and receptive that we have encountered during our 36 years here,” write Alliance international workers Ken and Kathy Young, who minister with Alan and Jill Kropp, team leaders at the New Life Center (NLC). The NLC is an outreach to those affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

During a Bible study at a temporary housing unit for people displaced by the disaster, Ken mentioned that Romans 5:8 (“…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”) might be his favorite passage of Scripture.

“Most of the people at the study—all non-Christians—nodded in agreement!” the Youngs write.

Then Ken said, “Romans 6:23 (‘…the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’) is probably my second-favorite verse.” Mr. S., a nonbeliever who leads the group, said, “That’s my favorite, too.”

“Never have we seen anything like the openness of the people of Ishinomaki,” the Youngs add. “Opportunities for ministry here are superabundant.”

Beyond personal daily contact with individuals and families, the Youngs and their teammates are engaged in or are planning to begin the following activities:

  • A monthly Japanese worship service
  • Counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bible studies at temporary housing units
  • A community garden
  • Digital recording of people’s tsunami stories
  • A children’s basketball camp
  • A university student outreach
  • Church planting
  • Small-business recovery

In addition, the team is facilitating volunteers from Japan and the United States who are involved in multifaceted ministries. “Plus, we have many other dreams of ministry,” the Youngs write.

More Good News

“God is providing pastors,” write Don and Hazel Schaeffer, Alliance team leaders for Japan, where national pastors have been in short supply. “Pastor Ishii was installed in the beginning of April to lead the Segendai Church. God has given him a vision, and we are so thankful for this shepherd that He has raised up.”

Also in April, the Yachiyo Church voted to call Mr. Nagumo, who is completing his last year of seminary, to be their pastor. “He is as excited as the church people are!” the Schaeffers write.

What You Can Do


  • Pray for strength and wisdom for each member of the NLC team.
  • Pray that the residents of the temporary housing units—at least 15,000 in Ishinomaki alone—will  respond in faith to the gospel.
  • Pray for God’s anointing on the new Japanese pastors and that He will call more pastors to Japanese Alliance churches.
  • Join the Alliance family in praying for Alliance team members worldwide, who often serve in challenging circumstances that require courage, wisdom, and trust in the Almighty. Use the weekly Alliance Prayer Requests to assist you.


  • Give to the Great Commission Fund (GCF) and support Alliance global team members, who are providing access to the gospel as they introduce lost people to the light of Jesus.
  • Give now

Learn More

Watch a video to hear the personal stories of those in Ishinomaki who survived the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

To find out what God is doing around the world through Alliance international workers, check out Great Commission Sunday 2014.


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