For many years we have looked forward to having a Franklin Graham Festival in the Kansai region of Japan. We are expecting great things from God during the Oct. 22-24 event as we believe that God is ready to bless and to accomplish His mighty works.
With some 28 million people, the Kansai region represents about one quarter of Japan’s national population, second only to the Kanto region, where Tokyo is located. Kansai is a center of tradition, history, culture and industry. Osaka, the region’s largest city, has developed as a commercial city since the Middle Ages and plays a major part in the Japanese economy. Nearby are other famous cities, such as Nara, Kyoto and Kobe.
The Festival is reaching out to all churches in the region. Across the country, churches in Japan have a small and aging membership. Some don’t even have pastors. As a result of a decreasing child population, Sunday school enrollment is down. Some seminaries and theological department have closed. There are very few young Christian leaders in our country to assume the roles of senior leaders.
Additionally, Japan is experiencing a slow economy, resulting many jobless people. The number of yearly suicides is increasing; in the past 10 years it has never been less than 30,000. Many are suffering mental illness, and there have been cases of school and domestic violence.
We pray this Festival will make an impact not only on Kansai but on the entire nation of Japan, as delegations will be attending from Sapporo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima and Tokyo.
The event will present the hope of Christ through messages from Franklin Graham and through gospel music, which is very popular in Japan, even among non-churched people. In light of this, we prepared a 10-day, pre-Festival concert tour with Alfie Silas of the Tommy Coomes Band, which was very encouraging to our young people.
In the past few months, Festival leaders have visited more than 200 churches personally. As I visit, I see many pastors and members actively living out their faith in Christ. We’ve also seen that Evangelicals and Pentecostals have come together in healthy cooperation.
Only a few days remain before the Festival. Gideon had only 300 men, but they defeated the Midianites. This victorious God of Gideon chose Kansai for this Festival. We pray that we will see the abundant work of the Holy Spirit and His glory.
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This article is from the October 2010 issue of Decision magazine.
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