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Mission Japanfs new logo comes to Light, February 21st, 2011

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Dear friend,

During the past few months something very special has been growing among the leadership team of Mission Japan. We as missionaries, as well as the members of the executive committee of Mission Japan, have refocused on our vision, and have begun to see it illuminated by a new light and in a new image (read: logo). Let me briefly cast new light on what amongst other things it comprised c

A Beam of LIGHTc

When one takes a photo, one is literally writing/drawing with light. It is a fascinating art. No photograph can be taken without light.  Similarly, our lives can in no way exist without it. What is more:  as Christians we believe that the Triune God created everything, and He bestows on us the privilege to share in the Light for the world ? Jesus Christ.  Through His mercy we participate in His re-creation in Christ. This is also how we experience it as our calling in Japan. We are part of Godfs work of art that is being drawn here, by His Light. Life in and with Christ, through His Holy Spirit, is our Light, which cannot be extinguished by the darkness. Our calling is simply to testify to this Truth (John 1:4-8).

In the words of Paul in 2 Cor. 4: 5-6: gFor we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesusf sake. For God who said: gLet LIGHT shine out of darkness,h made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ.h (cf. also John 1:14)

Our lives as missionaries should therefore testify to one reality: the imprint (or fruit) of the Holy Spirit which brings the light of Christfs glory to our lives. We are sent to (specifically Japanese) people who cross our path to share our faith expressed in love (Gal. 5:6). The ultimate goal is that, God willing, in the end we shall be standing with them defenceless facing the demands of the Word, and together be guided to live lives that reflect the Gospel.

Let a new rainbow (logo) appearc

The Light of Christfs gospel is also concretely reflected in lives that testify to true hope, faith, love, peace and joy towards one another. This, might also be said, is the rainbow ? the multi-coloured spectrum ? of Christfs Light in our lives, which is seen by others. This testifies to a new relationship/covenant with God, which makes possible a new way of building-relationships-with- others, and creates a new expectation of Godfs triune Lordship.

A rainbow (read more here below) is a perfect, but mysterious (literally hazy) reflection of light. Not even the best camera can convey the true extent of a rainbow. Yet it is there, visible, magnificent, perfect. It is a symbol of Godfs true grace which is vividly present and at the same time hidden through his Spirit: God with us.

Aware of our shortcomings, and our so often dim and out-of-focus reflection of the Light of our Lord Jesus, we also confess: gBut we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.h (2 Cor. 4:7).

Mission Japanfs ministry is thus only possible by Godfs power and grace, which overreach and embrace our shortcomings.  It is the ministry of the Triune God Himself. We owe Him our gratitude for allowing us to share in this privilege!

We would like to share more aboutc

Gideon van der Watt (Dr) ? Secretary of Mission Japan ? has written as follows about the new logo (above):

gIt symbolises the bond between Christians/Churches in South Africa (the colourful rainbow nation) and Japan (Mount Fuji). The rainbow is for us a very special symbol of Godfs promise to provide (also in this partnership and calling). The colours of the rainbow symbolises the light of Gods salvation and love, as well as the multi-coloured (many facetted) grace in Christ. We take joy in trying to reflect and to carry this light into the world, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The word emissionf -spelled in Afrikaans, Japanese and English ? is a sign of our respect for and celebration of the different cultures and languages. We hope and pray that you will also find this logo acceptable and that it will become dear to you. We pray that it will contribute to a clear vision of our partnership goals, that it will help establishing our identity and promoting our joint ventures.h

We believe this Biblical reference to light, and the symbolism of the rainbow in combination with the universally well-known Mount Fuji is ? culturally and theologically ? relevant. It illuminates and directs our calling and values, as well as the focus of our ministry and vision: here and now. We would like to share so much more with you concerning this simple, but multi-coloured vision of the newly gbrandedh Mission Japan ? especially during our first deputation in South Africa towards the middle of this year, God willing.

Godfs Peace and Joy,

Stephan (also on behalf of the Mission Japan Executive and missionaries)

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THE RAINBOW

The rainbow has acquired an extraordinary meaning for Mission Japan since the resolution to proceed with our mission with the RCJ on Shikoku Island, by reinforcing our involvement, and sending at least one more missionary couple with all the effort, sacrifice and expenses this would entail.

At the time when officials from Mission Japan visited congregations to share with them the new challenge and commitment, God displayed the magnificent rainbow in the heavens.  And again, shortly after the Mission Japan meeting in March (2009), when everything had been finalized with the RCJ deputation in Bloemfontein, and it was decided that Stephan en Carina van der Watt would be sent to Japan as new missionaries, the rainbow once again appeared in the sky above Bloemfontein (South Africa)!

And at this time again, just as we were about to begin our RCJ presbytery meeting here in Tokushima on Tuesday 14 April, my Scripture reading for the morning happened to be about Noah and Godfs rainbow.

The main text Gen. 8:1 gBut God remembered Noahc.h

Noah had not known what might happen when he would, in faith, obey Godfs command to build the ark, even when people would think he was doing something stupid c when things began to happen as God had predicted, Noah must have been very relieved and excited. But then the rain would not stop coming down, and Noah and his small family were very much alone on a tiny ship on the vast waters, and suddenly they felt rather isolated, lonely, uncertain and anxious c

gBut God remembered Noahc.h  It was firstly God who bestowed mercy on him and his family.  God in His Almighty Grace decided to save them and to send them across the waters to a new land and a new beginning.  God had a plan for them.  God was in control of both their lives and all the powers around them. In His time the waters dried up, and Noah and his small family stepped onto the soil of a new world.  They started a new life and role as Godfs representatives and servants.  God blessed them (Gen. 9:1), He gave them a command (Gen. 9:1  gcBe fruitful and increase in number), He gave them authority/power (Gen.9:2), He provided for their needs (Gen.9:3) and then He gave them the RAINBOW with the promise/assurance of His FAITHFULNESS, His sovereignty and control, His protection, His love etc.

I believe God spoke to us at Mission Japan, and is still talking to us as His missionaries, and especially to Stephan, Carina and Annlie, as they arrived here in Japan on Good Friday / Easter weekend. Thet were called and sent by God, as they obeyed His calling in faith alone (even though there may be those who think that they are very foolish!), to start here a new life and ministry in a new country with all the uncertainties and challenges. gYou are in My heart.  I will keep you there.  I havenft forgotten you.  I have a plan and purpose for you.  I will care for you.  Just watch the rainbow.h

What did Noah and his family do?  They immediately built an altar for the Lord, and sacrificed burnt offerings to the Lord (Gen. 8:20-21). At the altar is where they met the Lord, where they acknowledged Him, where they worshipped Him, praised and thanked Him, humbled themselves before Him and surrendered themselves to Him.  This is what our response should be, and certainly is c

Tobie de Wet (as part of Mission Japan News Flash on 17 April 2009)



A Blessed Trip to South Africa@iby Miwa Terauchij

September 12, 2010@@
I praise the name of our precious Lord. And I thank you for your prayers. I have arrived safely in Bloemfontein on the 20th of August, and I am indebted to Rev. Gideonfs family, who is doing a great work in Mission Japan. It is already more than three weeks now. I am kept in good health and am spending time which is full of blessings every day.

My life in South Africa
After a long trip which was 26 hours, I was very uneasy because I could only converse in poor English. But Rev. Gideonfs wife Ronel and his secretary Aldoret gave me a warm welcome and also taught me a South African slogan gDonft worry, Be happy, Eat Mango!!h, and I was relieved. I had a short while of rest and then enjoyed sight seeing, visiting churches and having fellowship with people in Bloemfontein. The people in Bloemfontein are very friendly and are always telling jokes. I am having the privilege of feeling the warmth and richness of peoplefs hearts in a personal way. It is not that South Africans have a lot of spare time to relate with other people. As a matter of fact, South African people work very hard and are busy, even in their private lives as well. But the practice of valuing other people is deeply rooted in their culture, and although they are busy, they skillfully make time and enjoy full heartedly the fellowship of having tea or dining together with their family, friends, and associates. They call this gKUIERh in Afrikaans.

God has sent me a wonderful helper shortly after my arrival in South Africa. It was the (unexpected) meeting with Rev. Mino of Tokyo Oncho (Grace of God) Church and his wife Mareta who were also staying at Rev. Gideonfs house to attend the 10th International Congress on Calvin Research, which was held in the Free State University in Bloemfontein. I was able to go together with them on sightseeing, dining and visiting the University, and I was able to hear about the deep relationship between the Reformed Church in Japan and the Dutch Reformed Church from the past, about the culture of South Africa, the background of the social problems and about the life South Africa in detail. They explained it all in Japanese!! I was amazed with the wonderful timing of this and felt the greatness of Godfs plan. I was hesitant in relying on the cordial hospitality and kindness of the South African people, but the words of Rev. Mino, gWhen you are taken care of do not feel bad but accept everything with gratitude. And in the future, you again do what you can for othersh, changed my mind as to receive the blessings of God which are given to me through people.

The Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in South Africa

I had heard about it, but now I see for myself that the DRC in South Africa is rich in variety. Depending on the location there are different races, peoplefs life styles differ, their ages differ and people have different ways of worship. In South Africa this is something natural but I am surprised by it every time. There is a church where a lot of young people gather and worship in a way called gTekkieh Service, where they worship with a full music gbandh and where there is a message in a fairly free and easy style. Then there is a church where farmers in the country gather having a more formal traditional way of worship. There is a church where people with musical talents gather. There are churches where people are financially poor, but people are good at cooking. I think according to the difference of talents of people, God works in many different ways. And according the location of the congregation, and the needs of every location, the church is probably being reformed accordingly. I am wondering what is necessary for a church to grow and develop in a way that will be according to Godfs will? I am looking forward to the Lord to teach me through the various experiences within these three months.

Basic Course for Child Evangelism

On 30th August my genuine learning course started. My lecturer, Annemarie, is using the teachings of Child evangelism at Petra-College and is evangelizing children in various places. She is enjoying this work with her whole her heart and is offering her life in serving God. She does this through the ministry in the church she belongs to, as well as through evangelism to poor children in the Black Township (a residence of black people) and also through giving guidance to other people who are engaged in child evangelism. In her busy schedule, Annemarie has taught me many things.

The importance of reconsidering relations between yourself and God, and the relation between yourself and people.
The point of building up a relationship of mutual trust between the children.
How to relate through playing activities and storytelling.
Important things when you share the message of the Bible.
And through the on-the-job training (especially in Townships) which we already visited three times, where many children are gathering and listening to the Gospel, believing in Jesus from the heart, and are even growing spiritually. Although they are economically poor, they laugh a lot, listen to the Gospel with shining eyes, and have great dreams for the future. Meeting such children made an impact on me. They know the real meaning of the richness of the heart.

Church Visiting in Pretoria

Moreleta-Park Dutch Reformed Church in Pretoria is a gigantic church which has 15 000 members and resembles an airport. There they are very active in doing child-evangelism as well. Riana, who works full time there, is making the most of her experience of 30 years of teaching Sunday School, by producing programs and text books for evangelism which aims at children between the ages from babies to pre-elementary school. In the church-annex, which is built especially for young children, about 600 children are studying annually in an environment is well-prepared so that they can have different classes according to the ages for the children and can enjoy their study about the Bible and about Jesus.

I myself have thus far mostly been involved with Sunday School for elementary school kids, and have always thought that it is difficult for babies and children under the age of elementary school to receive the Gospel. But I think it was a great blessing for me to know that the power of the Holy Spirit also works in such children abundantly and even they can meet Jesus, and to know that it is important to do evangelizing work also to them.

People supporting Mission Japan

While I was staying in Bloemfontein, I was invited to various churches, homes and cell-groups, and was given the opportunity to share about Tokushima Church and to give my own testimony. I could learn that a church is growing through the sending out missionaries, enjoying the work of the missionaries as if they themselves are doing it, praying earnestly and supporting the work. I thank them for it. And I thanked God for giving them the heart to support and moving them for the Evangelism in Japan.

My Plans from now: I will move to Pretoria in the end of September. Then I will go to Witrivier for about one month to study in Petra College from the 2nd of October. It would be nice if you would remember me in your prayers. Please contact me at : miwatera1016@hotmail.co.jp
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@(Miwa Terauchi)





Mission Japan Newsflash (Stephan van der Watt (Dr.))

NEWSFLASH - APRIL 24, 2010


When I heard it the first time, I found myself inside the Tsitsikamma Forest (South Africa) for a moment. Little did I realize that it was the voice of A Nightingale (one of my Japanese lecturers identified it for me). I am referring to the tiny bird that has been chirruping the advent of spring all day every day for the past fortnight. What joy to be able to listen to this! This is one of the countless surprises of a new season in a new part of the world. Share in the experience by clicking on the 1 minute DVD track (turn up the volume on your computer as much as you can), and see some of the neighbourhood around our home at the same time.

This exuberant sound echoes something of the happiness in our hearts having had the wonderful news: Cornelius is - according to all medical examinations - radiantly healthy! We are extremely grateful and relieved that his illness (hyperammonemia) was not the chronic variety. And we praise the Lord for the empathy of a sea of supporters and prayers.

In the month ahead great things are about to happen:

EFrom 1-15 May we will host 3 delegates from Mission Japan South Africa, namely Dr. Gideon van der Watt (Secretary), Rev. Victor Pillay (Chairperson) and Rev. Johann Winterbach (Member of the Executive, specifically responsible for missionary care-giving).

EFrom 3-5 May we will be celebrating with the RCJ (Reformed Church in Japan) the 60 yearsf existence of the Shikoku Presbytery (about 19) congregations, with an average of about 30 people per congregation. On 5 May especially, very important discussions will be held with the Mission Japan delegation, about all details concerning the work and lives of us missionaries, as well as our future (as shared with you in previous news letters).

EApart from the meeting mentioned above, Johann, Victor and Gideon will also do presentations at other events (worship services, pastorsf meetings etc.) and participate in discussions with leaders of local congregations (with the help of Father-in-law Tobie as interpreter, of course).

EGideon and I will also attend the Global Missions Consultation in Tokyo from 11-15 May. It is a conference held every 4 years since the first in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1910. The aim is to mobilise and equip as many mission organizations and church groups as possible to proclaim the gospel to every nation. It is an enormous privilege to be able to represent the Reformed Church, and specifically Mission Japan.

EOn Sunday 16 May (14:00-16:00) I will be doing a presentation on South Africa at Tokushimafs International Exchange Association (TOPIA). It is a special opportunity to invite and to get to know acquaintances and friends, and to share with them a little about our country of birth.
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@(Stephan van der Watt)



RCJ SHIKOKU Presbytery Visit to the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and the Reformed Church (RCA) of South Africa

RCJ SHIKOKU Presbytery Visit to the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and the Reformed Church (RCA) of South Africa

PDVisitation GroupFRev. Makita (leader), Rev. Kubo (assistant-leader) plus 7 members. Total: 9 members.
QDVisitation PeriodF17 February - 7 March 2009

RDPlaces of Visitation
17 Feb. Kansai International Airport.
18 Feb. Stellenbosch University Theological Faculty
19 Feb. Cape Town Sight-seeing & Panorama DRC congregation
20 Feb. Worcester DRC De-la-Batt School for the Deaf & Swellendam DRC congregation
21 Feb. Still Bay DRC congregation
22 Feb. (Sunday) Still Bay Worship Service & Anton/Elsa Le Roux (meal) & Graaff Reinette DRC Worship/Holy Communion Service
23 Feb. Bloemfontein DRC Hugenoot Chinese congregation
24 Feb. DRC HIV Care House & Bloemfontein Black Tonwship URCSA congregation
25 Feb. HIV victims Graveyard & Reitz DRC congregation
26 - 27 Feb. Mission Japan Committee Conference
28 Feb. Bloemfontein Black Township DRCA congregation
1 March (Sunday) Aliwal-North DRC congregation Stephan & Carinafs commissioning service
2 March Kroonstad Presbytery Ministers Meeting
3 March Viljoenskroon DRC congregation & Sasolburg DRC congreagtion
4 March@Benoni (Johannesburg) Reformed and Lutheran Churches Convent & RCA Laudium Congregation
5 March Johannesburg Airport @
6 March Singapore
7 March Kansai Airport

SDPurpose of Visitation

@@To conclude mission co-operation relation, visit the churches in SA thanking them for their dispatching and support of missionaries, and requesting them to continue in doing so.

A@To have an official conference with Mission Japan Committee, discuss all practical matters concerning the commissioning of Stephan and Carina van der Watt as missionaries to Japan as well as that of Gys and Linda Olivier as English teacher-missionaries to Seiwa Girls School.

B To investigate possibilities of RCJ Shikoku Presbytery to get involved in charity projects in SA.

C To have fellowship with the members of the Reformed Churches of SA, especially to let our young people have fellowship with and experience the realities of SA and give them a new vision and faith.iRev. Makitaj

Stellenbosch University Theological Faculty (left).Cape Point (right)
From the left:PjHead of the Theological Faculty, other lecturers, QjRev. Makita, RjWestern Cape Synodical Office bearers, SjOur Cape Town tour-guide, Jacky Grundlingh
From the left:PjOld Age Home at Swellendam, QjSchool for Deaf Elementary School class
RjStill Bay Dqb congregation Worship Service, SjBlack Township Congregation
From the left:Pj HIV victims graveyard, Qj Soup Kitchen for the hungry,
RjPrayermeeting for the missionaries, SjMission Japan Conference Campsite.
From the left:PjCamdeboo National Park, QjSunset at Reitz
From left: PjYoung people fellowship, Qj Sightseeing on the farm of an elder of Reitz DRC congregation
Visitation Group (9 members), Rev. de Wet, Rev. Stephan, Carina and Annlie

Mission Co-operation with the Church of South Africa


In April 2007 at its Presbytery meeting the Shikoku Presbytery of the Christian Reformed Church in Japan accepted an official church relationship and mission co-operation agreement with the Reformed Church in Africa (RCA) and the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa (DRC). At the same meeting Rev. Tobie De Wet and his wife, Annalie, missionaries from the church in South Africa and who have been working for seven years (2000- 2007) within the Christian Reformed Church on Kyushu island, were transferred and accepted as co-operating missionaries within the Presbytery of Shikoku.

On the 4th of February 2008 the Mission Committee of the Shikoku Presbytery met with an official delegation from the church in South Africa (Dr. Gideon van der Watt) and drew up a concrete joint-plan of mission co-operation which was submitted to and unanimously accepted by Shikoku Presbytery on the 10th of April 2008.

With this as basis Tobie and his wife, Annalie have been called and appointed as co-operating missionaries to serve the congregations of Tokushima, Tokushima-West (Seibu) and Marugame (Kagawa Prefecture). They are also appointed to serve the rest of the Presbytery as the need and opportunities arise.

Tobie and Annalie are living in the church manse next to Tokushima Reformed Church.