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"Supporting SKMB Churches and Camps in making disciples."

From Swift Current to Japan

Our God is Lord of all the Earth. He can be worshiped in any language and His church can gather in any culture. These are some of the truths that were most clearly impressed on my heart during our Youth Mission Trip to Japan this summer. Also, never underestimate the courage of a teenager, but we will get to that later.

After a year of planning and preparation, our group of 3 adults and 8 youth from Swift Current travelled to Osaka, Japan from July 19-29 to serve with Multiply Missionaries Cory and Masami Giesbrecht. They, along with the MB Conference in Japan (JMBC) welcomed us and opened our eyes to the work that God is actively doing in their city and surrounding community. Our inspiration for this trip came from Lloyd and Carol Letkeman and the SOAR programs that they have led so many times. After attending SOAR and serving in ministry locally with our youth, I was curious what opportunities we would have to participate in ministry in a cross-cultural environment. Using a similar format to SOAR, our 10 days in Japan were structured with orientation, attending the local churches, serving in ministry, and debriefing. 

Our group was divided into 3 teams allowing us to participate in multiple church services each of the 2 weekends we had in Osaka. In the worship services that we attended our team participated by sharing our testimonies. For some of the team, this was their first time sharing a testimony publicly. Add on top of that the translators that so patiently worked with us, it was a unique experience. We can also report that the Japanese church potluck is very delicious. We were impressed!   

The highlight of the trip was our ministry at Nosegawa Bible Camp, where we volunteered during their summer English Bible Camp. The 3-day camp had almost 30 Japanese Youth attend, some of whom were not Christians. Our role was to speak English and make as many friends as possible. I watched as our youth integrated with so many new people and friendships were born even with language and culture barriers. We worshiped with them, we played games and had meals together, we even taught them skits in English and performed as teams in front of the entire camp. Like I said, never underestimate the courage of a teenager! After the 3 days were finished, we celebrated the great news that 2 Japanese teenagers had given their hearts to Christ. 

Our final ministry assignment involved some kids club ministry. The Awana parachute we had hidden in our suitcase was the highlight for the group of children ranging in ages from approx. 5-10. We sang songs, read Bible stories, built crafts, and of course had fun snacks. The faces of the Japanese adults who faithfully lead these kids clubs, watching as their kids played and sang with our team members, was something I will not forget. I knew as we packed up that each of those leaders was as touched by our visit as the kids were. 

Thank you for your support and prayer for us during this trip. Our youth will never forget this! 

Darren Kennedy, Associate Pastor, Bridgeway Community Church, Swift Current

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