HISTORY OF BMW IN JAPAN
BMW began working 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 term of language study, 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 a new church-planting ministry was started in the town of Moroyama, about 25 miles northwest of Tokyo. Since the church ministry began, many contacts have been made with people in the community and some have received Jesus Christ as Savior and been baptized. There have been disappointments too when people have chosen to not follow the Lord and left the fellowship. A great need in this church plant is for Japanese leadership and increased attendance to bring this ministry to a self-supporting status.
The church ministry in Moroyama rents the front of an apartment building for its meetings. Besides regular church services, the facility is used for English classes, Bible studies, and home schooling for the Knox children. Teaching English is used as a means of contact with people and giving out the gospel through a Bible lesson in each class.
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 and recently a new all-purpose building was added to the facility. Several short-term workers came from the U.S. to help with its construction. Through the camp ministry, believers in Christ have been encouraged and a gospel witness has been presented to many who are new to the gospel.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR MISSIONARY WORK
Missionary work in Japan does not seem very fruitful as people are slow to follow Christ and live for the Lord. Many of those who have come to church services or English classes have had very little contact with Christians and have never read the Bible. The people of Japan are caught up with their busy schedules and do not have time to think about their spiritual needs. At the same time, some are realizing that social problems are rapidly getting worse and that they do not have peace in their hearts. 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.
There are many opportunities for reaching the Japanese. Teaching English as a second language has been a means often used in Japan to make contacts with people and teach the Bible. Many young people live and go to school in the area where BMW is presently working and someone who desires to work with teens and college students could emphasize ministry in that area. Church-planting is the focus of BMW, and those with a heart for that kind of ministry could reach into surrounding towns to make contacts with people with the goal of starting new churches in those areas. The camp ministry could also be expanded as people will often come to camp before they attend church meetings.
NEW MISSIONARIES NEEDED
BMW mission has a goal of having a team of at least three missionary families in one field. Besides John and Becky Knox, another family - Daniel and Karen DeVerna - have recently arrived and are preparing for language study. We are praying for at least one more career missionary couple to meet the goal. As the Lord leads, other couples and single missionaries could be added to the Japan team.
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, 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.