HISTORY OF BMW IN JAPAN
BMW began ministry in Japan when John and Becky Knox and their sons arrived in November 1987. Even though the country was new to the mission, Becky’s parents had been missionaries in Japan for many years, and Becky had lived there until graduating from high school.
During their first three and one half years in Japan, the Knox family worked with the church that Becky’s parents had established. This church now has a Japanese pastor and continues to work closely with the ministry of BMW in Japan.
In 1993, the Knox family started a new church-planting ministry in the town of Moroyama, about 25 miles northwest of Tokyo. Since that time many contacts have been made with people in the community and some have received Jesus Christ as Savior and been baptized. In recent years, progress has been made in developing leadership and getting the church people involved in ministry. Over the next 5 years, we would like to see this church become self-supporting with a Japanese pastor, as God provides.
The church ministry in Moroyama rents the front of an apartment building for its meetings. Besides regular church services, the facility is used for Bible studies, youth meetings, and English classes. English is used as a means of contact with people and giving out the gospel through a Bible lesson in each class. Because space is limited, we have a great need of finding a larger facility for the church ministry.
Fifteen minutes from the town is a camp property that Becky Knox’s parents previously owned in connection with their church ministry. The camp continues to be used each year. Through the years various improvements have been made to the facility, often facilitated by short term missionaries. Because of the camp ministry, believers in Christ have been encouraged and a gospel witness has been presented to many who are new to the message of salvation.
THE SPIRITUAL NEED OF THE JAPANESE PEOPLE
In general, missionary work in Japan does not seem very fruitful as people are slow to follow Christ and live for the Lord. Most of those who have come to church services or English classes have had very little contact with Christians and have not read the Bible previously. The people of Japan are caught up with their busy schedules and do not usually think about their spiritual needs. At the same time, some are realizing that their problems are getting worse and that they do not have any solution. Financial stress, natural disasters, and increasing family difficulties are ways God is using to help the people of Japan realize they need to know and depend on Him. Ministering to the Japanese takes much persistence and patience, yet they are people whom God loves. He desires that they receive His gift of salvation and follow Him. In spite of the obstacles, God is drawing people to Himself!
OPPORTUNITIES FOR MISSIONARY WORK
NEED FOR NEW MISSIONARIES
Daniel and Karen DeVerna, with their children arrived in Japan in the fall of 2012 and are now working in the BMW church plant in the town of Moroyama. We are praying for at least three more career missionary couples to join our team within the next 10 years. Our immediate goal is to train national leaders, and see the present church ministry become independent. We would also like to start another church plant in a nearby area.
Short-term missionary service is another way to help in various ministries in Japan as well as learn about the culture and spiritual needs of the people. Through the years, several short-term workers have helped in ministries such as camp work, building, teaching English classes, music, art, and tract distribution. For information on applying as short-term or career missionaries, please contact BMW's International Office or John Knox, BMW's Field Leader in Japan.