As the economic, political and cultural capital of the world's third largest economy, Tokyo contains a fascinating mix of past and present, where the country's strong historic traditions are just as evident as modern day technologies. Ancient temples and gardens stand side by side with shining skyscrapers and sleek bullet trains. In recent years, after a period of extraordinary growth after the devastation of World War II, the country is undergoing major social transition after 20 years of economic stagnation. It also continues to recover from the catastrophic effects of 2011's earthquake, tsunami and radioactive disaster.
In 2010, Redeemer helped plant Grace City Church in the heart of downtown Tokyo. In five years, the church has grown to a congregation of more than 200 people and has planted two more churches in strategic locations within Tokyo. In a country that is roughly 1% Christian, Grace City Church envisions a new community called to glorify God by loving and serving the city. It is focused on the renewal of Japan and its people and provides relevant answers from a gospel-centered perspective to the many questions that young professionals struggle with on a daily basis, such as the meaning of work, stewardship of money, relationships, social justice and the renewal of society.
2019 will be Redeemer's seventh short term mission trip to Tokyo since 2012. Tokyo is a special trip that allows us to share experiences, learn, encourage, and minister to people who work and live in much the same environment as we do. Our time in Tokyo is spent participating in community groups, lunch meetings, English conversation practice, spending time with church leaders, and providing the local church members with opportunities for evangelism. We work closely with the local church to provide Christian views on faith and work through seminars and music and arts performances. We’ve also spent time with the church staff to learn more about the spiritual history of Japan and the obstacles faced by the church today, spoke to a class at one of Japan's top universities, passed out lunchboxes to the homeless, and went on leisurely hikes in the countryside while getting to know the members of the church.
Our trip itinerary will be developed in close collaboration with Grace City and Grace Harbor churches in Tokyo and may be tailored to incorporate skills and ideas that our team members bring to the table. Former team members have come from the fields of media, law, finance, government, music, arts, fashion, theatre-anywhere God is working in our lives. On past trips, we have stayed in comfortable, budget lodging. One aspect of the trip to Tokyo that sometimes surprises people is that most of our activities are not done as a group. We go off individually or in pairs to various meetings around the city taking public transportation. For this reason, we do daily morning group devotions so we can all be in one place to share our thoughts and keep our hearts and minds aligned with God. If this all sounds exciting to you, we hope you will come join us! Our prayer is to see changed lives and changed hearts as a result of the trip, both with the team members as well as the people we are serving, which will last long after the actual trip is over.