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What I do was once illegal in Japan

"What would I have done? Would I have been killed too? How about my family? Would I still be doing what I'm doing if Japan was still like that?" Those are thoughts that kept running through my mind as I was wandering around the little kakure kirishitan (hidden Christians) museum...

Ibaraki Christian Heritage Museum

Today, I brought my family to the Ibaraki Christian Heritage Museum in the mountains of Ibaraki, just a little over 30 minutes away from where we live. This museum is centered around the first house in Northern Osaka that relics of Catholics and Jesuits was found. I know that some may not consider Catholics or Jesuits "Christians", but just remember these were the first to bring a message of Jesus to Japan whether you agree with them or not.


At the museum, we saw tombstones of those condemned for their faith. A wooden sign post that declared believers of Christ to be criminals, offering money to those who report them to the authorities, with higher amounts offered for those of higher leadership positions in the church, and many other things. There was a DVD playing about the history of the area and what life was like for those who considered themselves Christians during the Tokugawa Shogunate Era.

Entrance of the main exhibit

You may not know this but once upon a time, Japan hated Christians and Christianity. What I do now for a living was once illegal, punishable by death. During the Tokogawa Era, they tried to exterminate Christianity from Japan. This led to strong persecution and for some, death. Some Christians hid in mountains, some were forced to deny their faith by stepping on fumie, which generally was a picture of Jesus or Mary, but if they wouldn't do it, they would be killed, martyred for their faith. This is a dark side of Japan, and a dark time for Christians in Japan.


"Last Hidden Christians"

I am inspired by those that kept the faith even until death. I have empathy for those who had to hide and go undercover just to live. And I am saddened for those who renounced their faith by stepping on the fumie, especially to those who also did it in their heart. Above all the feelings that I felt today, the thought that made all else seem so small was:

My God is real. My God loves me.

I want to tell as many people as I can about Him.

Christianity has come so far, but still so small.

I'll work as hard as I can because I want to worship Him with millions of Japanese!


This is why I came to Japan. This is why I left the comfort of my previous church to plant this new one. I pray that God will make us fruitful so that more people will believe in Him and that Christianity will thrive in the years to come.


I can't do it on my own, our church can't do it on our own, we believe that the Holy Spirit will empower us to do it and that He will supernaturally and divinely work to make it happen. But we also believe that we need your prayers and support to do it. Please join us in the Kingdom work in Osaka!


Aloha,

Justin

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