Imagine a scenario in which every single Christian shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with every single non-Christian that they know. Do you know how many people there would be on earth who have still never heard the gospel? At least two billion. That’s incredible. There are over two billion people on earth today who don’t even have access to the gospel. Most of them will be born, live and die without having a single person tell them about Jesus Christ in a true, meaningful way. We call these people “unreached.” You can Click Here for a video that shares more about it (start at about the 15 minute mark).
Our call to missions did not include anything miraculous. Certainly, God has worked in our lives in a unique way; however, we never had any visions from God or prophetic words spoken to us or dramatic dreams calling us to the field. We definitely did not hear an audible voice telling us, “Go to Japan!” Our conviction that God would have us go to Japan came primarily from the Bible (how novel!) and secondarily from the realization that the Japanese people don’t have access to the gospel.
Christ’s command at the end of Matthew 28, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And, behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” These verses leave us with the conviction that making disciples among all nations is in fact the call of all Christians. If you are a Christian, you are unquestionably called by Christ himself to bring the nations into the joy of knowing and worshipping God. The question is, “What’s your role?”
We believe that God has called us to a role similar to that of the Apostle Paul, “…to preach the gospel where Christ [is] not known” (Romans 15:20). Paul, like us, found his primary motivation for going in the Scripture. Yes, he was knocked off his horse with a vision of the glorified Jesus. But, he placed the foundation of his ministry in the Old Testament, not his own experience (see Romans 15:21). In other words, Paul went to the unreached, because he believed that God’s plan in salvation history has always been to gather all people to himself through the proclamation of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:11-15). We believe the same thing and feel the same burden.
So, why Japan? Well, depending on who you talk to, the Japanese people are either the largest or second largest unreached people group on earth. It just seems fitting to go to the place where there are the most people without sufficient witness to the gospel and all its awesomeness. The Church in Japan is not yet large enough to share Christ and disciple new believers on its own. There is a need for more laborers.
This matters. It really matters. We’re not playing a game. We’re not after a fun, new adventure (though I’m sure fun, new adventures will be had). Jesus Christ is everything. You could take away all else in our lives—money, home, health, family, friends, the inter-web—and we would still be rich in Christ. Yet, if you were to take away our Jesus, then what would we have? Good things that will last only a handful of years? It burdens us to know that over 126 million people in Japan don’t have Who we have. We cherish Jesus Christ. We know that he is worthy of love, trust, adoration and obedience, no matter what people group you belong to or culture you identify with. We simply want to play a small part in bringing these things about for people in Japan. We want Jesus Christ for Japan. That’s what “the joy of Japan” really means.