Restoring Image of Christ in Japan

Eitaro Ogawa

We Want to Know Him!
At an Alpha Course Tamae and I attended in the year 2004, we accepted Jesus into our hearts. We had thought we were doing fine, but our sinful lifestyle had caused our marriage to hit the rocks. Tamae and I were close to filing a divorce. But God, by His grace alone, slowly but surely restored our marriage. We began to watch testimonies of missionaries and evangelists who hear from God daily and obey Him. They ministered like Jesus did in the gospels and the apostles in the book of Acts. This stirred our hunger for God and we cried out to Him for this one thing, “We want to know You!”

That became our prayer every night, with tears, as we knelt down beside the bed. One of the video clips we watched was taken by a street evangelist of himself out on the streets praying for healing, sharing the gospel, and casting out demons. Immediately Tamae thought there was something we might learn from him. We visited this evangelist in Denmark, and there, we experienced deliverance from evil spirits. God started to show us who He is, that we had not known before, simply because we had asked Him in prayer.

He Made Us Known!
From then on, the Bible became a totally different book, no longer just recording stories but real things that happened to real people. At the same time, we started to sense that God was asking us to quit our current jobs to take up His next assignment. We spent a year preparing to resign in order to move to the next season. One night, God woke me up in the middle of the night and asked me to read Ezekiel 3. I could not wait to read the chapter and as I read it, I knew that God was sending us back to Japan.

“Then He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. For you  are  not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language,  but  to the house of Israel, not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely,  had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you.”  Ezekiel 3:4-6

Tamae and I soaked this matter with much prayers and consulted with our pastors and mentors and God showed us clearly that we were to go to Okinawa, the southern part of Japan. Meanwhile, He had also impressed upon us to abide in Him and let His words abide in us (John 15:7).  We were not to work on any project or be involved in any ministry. It was a time of allowing God to take away every branch in Him that does not bear fruit and every branch that bears fruit, He pruned, that it may bear more fruit (John 15:2).  In order to learn what it means to effectively align with God, we were led to attend Tung Ling Bible School. There, God also set up a kingdom connection with Ps Ian and Ps Norman. It led to the birth of video testimonies “truelove.is” based on stories like ours. It was simply amazing how He went ahead of us to prepare the way. Ps Ian and Ps Norman were invited to do a seminar for churches in Okinawa in November 2018. At the seminar, our video story was played and as a result, many pastors and leaders got to know us even before we moved to Okinawa in January 2019. We knew in our hearts He had established us for His kingdom purposes.

He Provided
Our departure date was set when our savings were dwindling to zero. Providing for my family had been my biggest concern even though God had told me so many times through scriptures, signs and dreams not to worry. At the end of our 18-month preparation, our bank account went back to the status 18 months before! God had asked me, “Which is more difficult; raising the dead or providing for you and your family?”

Okinawa At Last!
With much excitement, we moved to Okinawa, Japan, in January 2019. Our God-given kingdom assignment is to restore the image of God in the family and art spheres in Japan. As to how we should go about it, the details are still unfolding daily. We keep a simple faith in our Father, hear from Him and do the things He asks us to do next.

One morning, we will be picking up old folks and sending them to the rehabilitation centre, and the next, we will be walking or driving around Okinawa to pray. Another day we will be translating for overseas speakers at churches and hosting missionaries from Singapore. A kingdom assignment can also mean cleaning a friend’s house, cutting grass on the mountain, teaching English to primary school kids and doing home church with local brothers and sisters. We focus on building relationships with whoever we meet. God keeps encouraging us! I led one elderly wheelchair-bound lady to Christ at her house. How could she hear and find God unless someone went to her house with the gospel? O how He loves her and longs for her to come home to Him. I am keenly aware that God is sinking our roots in this area as we seek His kingdom in our lives and the lives of the people around us. One step at a time, one day at a time, His image in the family arena, in the art sphere and in Japan will be restored as many get to know Him as the true and living God.

Dear Archippus…
When you are awakened, the best thing you can do next is to check your own alignment. This will involve pausing to take stock, the duration of which will vary from individual to individual. It is perfectly fine to stop serving for a season. Eitaro and Tamae heard from God, obeyed and stopped taking up new projects, and learnt what it means to abide and be pruned. They witnessed how God came through for them. When you pull away for a while, you regain kingdom perspectives, you hear yourself think, and more importantly, you hear the Lord more clearly. When you begin to see things from kingdom perspectives, you begin to see things differently. As a result of seeing kingdom perspectives, Eitaro and Tamae are fully aware that in all they do, from menial to mega tasks, their accountability is to Jesus. Ps Henson writes in Alignment Check, “The most liberating things is that you don’t serve because you have to but because you love Jesus and everything His kingdom stands for.”

“And  whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

About Eitaro
Eitaro is married to Tamae and they have two beautiful daughters. They encountered Jesus in Singapore in the year 2004, and while having issues in their marriage, Jesus miraculously saved their relationship and family. They left the corporate world in the year 2016 in response to God’s call to become missionaries and artists in Okinawa, Japan. Motivated by His command to love God and love people. they are on assignment to restore the image of God in the family and art arenas in Japan.