Changes in Japan

It can difficult at times to accept change. Change causes uncertainty, distress, even fear. Some say change is the only certainty in the world. As believers in Jesus Christ, however, we are convinced that is, at best, only half the story. While change may be a constant, Christ’s presence in the midst of that change is an even more significant constant. He has promised to never leave; his presence is always with us even in the midst of significant change. As we anticipate significant change in our NAB field in Japan, it is important we cling to this promise.

At the end of 2023, Paul and Melissa Ewing ended their time with the NAB as missionaries in Japan. In addition to this, Shan Reed notified the vice president of International Missions for the NAB that she will be ending her missionary employment with the NAB sometime in 2025 or the beginning of 2026, after her last home assignment that will begin in March of 2025. With these changes in the Japan field, the NAB no longer has critical mass to maintain the legal entity of our mission in Japan. Even with the hopes to send Nick and Iris Hung to minister to the Chinese diaspora in Japan sometime in 2024, there still would be no way to maintain the legal status as a nonprofit in Japan. Therefore, NAB International Missions, in conjunction with Executive Director Harry Kelm and our missionaries in Japan, made the difficult decision to pursue ending the legal status of our NAB mission in Japan. Change. Significant change. Uncertainty. Distress. Fear?

Change is certainly upon us – even a certain amount of uncertainty and even distress – but there is not fear. We are confident God is with us in the midst of this change and uncertainty. The NAB presence and mission in Japan began with the pioneering spirit of Florence Miller, a woman who exceeded expectations as she planted churches, taught theological education, and paved the way for other NAB missionaries. Her Gospel work in Japan predates the legal entity of our nonprofit status, and we are confident this Gospel work will continue after the legal entity ends. We are working with Yuri Nakano to find a partnering mission organization. We believe God is calling Nick and Iris to minister to the Chinese immigrants in Japan, and we are working with them to find an appropriate partner with the NAB. Even this past week, the International Missions staff interviewed a young lady who is potentially interested in partnering with the NAB as well.

A lack of an NAB legal entity did not stop Florence Miller from exceeding expectations. A lack of an NAB legal entity did not stop the Holy Spirit from using the churches and the people of the NAB to send missionaries to Japan. We believe God will continue to use NAB churches and individuals to send, be sent, and partner with other organizations and missionaries. May God receive the glory and praise for his presence in the midst of change, for he is our constant presence and refuge.