【April 2018 No.397】A Visit with Kyodan Missionaries in Belgium and Germany

by Kato Makoto, executive secretary

 From Jan.12 through Jan. 19, I visited Brussels, Belgium and Cologne, Germany. Rev. Kawakami Masaki and her husband Rev. Kawakami Yasushi were assigned as missionaries to the Brussels Japanese Protestant Church in April 2017. I visited them and preached at the church on Sunday. Further, I participated in an evaluation held by the Belgian Evangelical Mission (BEM), the body that receives our missionaries. The word “evaluation” may sound somewhat pretentious, but it was a very thoughtful interview.

 BEM is a devoted missionary group mainly consisting of British Christians who share the Gospel with Belgians and establish new churches. Having had to learn French to share the Gospel, they have experienced difficulty and loneliness, but they have also experienced the joy of growth. I was invited to join the Kawakamis in this evaluation, where we shared our joys and struggles together. “What is the ultimate joy of mission? When you are at your lowest, what do you do? What do you think of  the church look like in five years?” These were some of the questions that we considered together. Because both Japanese missionaries are BEM colleagues as well as personnel for whom BEM has visa responsibilities, serious discussion continued for about two hours.

 The “Thalys” is a super express train that enables a convenient overland trip from Brussels to Cologne and Dusseldorf. However, three years ago, there was a robbery at Brussels South Station that affected many people. I was one of those people.

 While visiting Cologne, I attended a house meeting of the Cologne-Bonn Japanese Church with Rev. Sasaki Ryoko. At its congregational general meeting in January, this church voted to extend its ministry until 2022.

 In the past, the Rheinland Church took responsibility for the salary of the missionary assigned to Cologne-Bonn Japanese Church. However, since the assignment of Rev. Saito Atsushi (from April 2012 to March 2015), the responsibility has been taken over by Cologne-Bonn Japanese Church, together with a support group.

 At the smaller Brussels Japanese Protestant Church, its support group has an even larger financial responsibility. However, the missionaries, their churches, and their support groups remain committed to Jesus’ command, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matt. 28:19a) (Tr. JS)


ベルギー・ドイツ出張報告    加藤誠

 2018年1月12日(金)から19日(金)にかけてベルギーのブリュッセルとドイツのケルン(Cologne)、デュッセルドルフ(Düsseldorf)に出張した。ブルュッセル日本語プロテスタント教会には、2017年4月から川上真咲、川上寧宣教師が赴任している。彼らを訪問し、礼拝の説教を担当した。さらに、受入れ団体であるBEM(Belgian Evangelical Mission)の「evaluation」に同席した。「evaluation」という言葉には重たい響きがあるかも知れないが、実際は丁寧なヒヤリングであった。




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