Kim, Gavin, and Hide in Japan: Living a Life of Faith

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The Palos Verdes Starbucks overlooking the Pacific is thought by many to offer the best view of any of the chain’s shops. Well, we found a contender on the 15th floor of the newly built JR Gate Tower in Nagoya. Overlooking the downtown area, we met with Brett Rayl and Gary Watanabe over coffee to talk about church planting.

Gary serves with both CBI and Redeemer City to City – Asia Pacific. His heart for church planting started on the island of Oahu, and it took him to Mexico City, the Philippines, New York City, Tokyo, and now Nagoya. He is the director of Joy of Japan, CBI’s church planting program.

This facet of CBI’s ministry is named after the blog of the Pals family. In 2016, Jamison and Kathryn Pals, along with their three young children, were killed in a car crash on while their way to missionary training for future Japan missions with CBI. Their story is a remarkable demonstration of faith and a willingness to be spent for the sake of the Gospel. You should definitely read this article about the Pals family, as well as their personal blog, “For the Joy of Japan”, that they developed as they prepared to serve in Japan.

In light of the sudden and shocking death of the Palses, it is natural to ask, “Why, God? Why would you let something like this happen to a family that wanted to dedicate their lives to service in one of darkest places in the world?” One answer is that there is so much more than life in this world.

The Pal family’s faith is a beautiful picture of the Apostle Paul’s words, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).

God is going to glorify Himself through the Pal family’s demonstration of faith. Maybe one of the ways is that some of you reading this will be among the ripples of this family’s faith by hearing God’s call to leave your current home to start a new home in a cross-cultural context where God will use you to make disciples of all nations.

Will you bring the joy of Christ to Japan? Will you bring the joy of Christ to another part of the world?

Gary Watanabe and his wife did this. Now he has the enormous privilege of overseeing a ministry that will plant churches by preparing church planters and coaching present ones so that Christ’s bride will shine brightly in this country.

We headed back to CBI where Pastor Kim would start the first of two different seminars. The first deals with how to use biblical counseling to help those in challenging workplace, and the second will discuss how those in the workplace can counsel themselves. It was so exciting to see the proverbial light bulb get lit as Kim continued to teach about worship, the heart, humility that invites God’s grace, circumstances, sin, faith and last, but not least, the gospel. I was convicted by how I’ve taken these gospel treasures for granted, but for the students, these truths were rays of sunshine hope that were breaking through the dark clouds of pain and despair.

We are all called to live a life of faith. What or who is your faith placed in?

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for Pastor Kim as he starts the second seminar (Tue. and Thur. evenings) and concludes part two of the first seminar on Wednesday afternoon. May God use His truth to help those who are going through difficult work environments. Pray for the strengthening of faith.
  • Pray for Gary and the future pastors for Christ’s bride in Japan. Pray that these men would humbly lead and lovingly preach of God’s grace in the gospel.
Categories: Missions