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.
2017 will be Redeemer's fifth 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, speaking to a class at one of Japan's top universities, passing out lunchboxes to homeless, and going on a leisurely hike in the countryside while getting to know the members of the church.
This year we plan to continue the theme of Faith & Work combined with Art & Music. The main Faith & Work event will be an evening social to announce a new leadership training course, where graduates of the Gotham Fellowship will share their experience and testimonies. Our week will end with an Art & Music performance event, which will be based on the theme of People in Crisis, Needs of the City and the spiritual crisis in Japan. Additionally, fashion industry professionals are needed to share wisdom and build meaningful relationships to those working in the Tokyo fashion industry. This will be a part of an initiative to launch a Faith in Fashion chapter in Tokyo. Our trip itinerary will be developed in close collaboration with the church in Tokyo and may be tailored to incorporate skills and ideas that our team members bring to the table. Ultimately, our mission is for a team to see and experience God working in the world and spread God’s love to all people. 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.
The trip to Tokyo will take place October 6-16, 2017. We will keep the team to ten members, which will allow us to serve the needs of Grace City Church without having an overwhelming presence. 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 try to do daily morning group devotion 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!