For almost fourteen years Trinity has been a vibrant community experiencing the life-changing love of Jesus, but God has also given us significant opportunities to extend that love to the greater Chicago area and even to parts of the world. Over this time I have been so impressed and encouraged by the enthusiastic and generous responses that the family of Trinity has expressed towards this greater mission outside of ourselves, particularly with our ministry in Haiti and with The Bridge in the city.
One of the themes that has emerged over the years is that God seems to have led us to become involved with what we might call “the least of these” – i.e. the poorest, most marginalized, and least reached people in the world. For example, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The Bridge is ministering to what many have called “the under-belly of Chicago.” And that brings me to Seima Aoyagi and the ministry in Tokyo, Japan.
Japan is one of the least reached countries in the world with only .2% of the population identified as Christian. Tokyo itself is the largest city in the world with over 38 million people (more than the entire population of Canada!). Yet in this vast city and unreached land God has allowed us to partner with Seima in planting one of the few churches there. With attendance already over 100, including many conversions, it is virtually a megachurch in Tokyo! And they recently spun off a daughter church in another part of the city. It has been an encouraging but challenging journey. To hear in Seima’s own words about their church, please click this link for a video he sent us just this week. (Note, for you to hear audio, you’ll need to put the video in full screen.)
Over the years some have asked, “Why Seima? How did we ever get involved with him and Japan in the first place?” I’m glad you asked! When Trinity first started, a woman named Sally Dangler began attending the church. Sally would attend Trinity while on leave from her missionary work in Japan with MTW, the foreign missions arm of the PCA. We were just starting to get involved in missions and thought we could begin by joining her support team. She informed us that she didn’t need any support, but that it would be very helpful if we could support a Japanese native graduating from Covenant Seminary in St Louis. He was planning to work with their team, and to plant a church in Tokyo. That’s exactly what we did! Since that time, Sally has married and left Japan, but Seima has continued and so have we. We are very grateful that God opened this door for us to help plant a church amongst one of the most unreached places on the planet.
Please continue to pray for Seima, his wife Naoko, their three sons Senri, Towa, and Satoki, and their daughter Akari. Please continue to pray for this still-fledgling church, their daughter church, and that many in Japan would come to know the life-changing love of Jesus and become, even at such as distance, our brothers and sisters in Christ.