Japan: the land of the rising sun. A country filled with history and tradition, it is one of the world economic powers and is known for cutting edge technology.
Majority of the Japanese population follows the Buddhist religion as well as incorporating the Japanese indigenous polytheistic beliefs of Shintoism. Traditionally within the Japanese culture, family honor and conformity are valued to the point that leaving the traditions of these religious confines is very difficult. This makes sharing the Gospel and having Japanese people come to Christ a very slow process. But not an impossible process by any means with the help of God’s hand at work in this country! All things are possible through Christ.
It is with this heart-‐felt call to reach the peoples of Japan with the love of Christ that Paul and Melissa Ewing and Shan Reed (NAB missionaries) have dedicated their lives to serving in Japan. In the past, they and other NAB missionaries were primarily working in areas of evangelism through English teaching and church planting. In recent years though they have recognized that a shift must take place so that more of the primary leadership is placed in the hands of national Japanese pastors within the Japan Baptist Convention (JBC). It is a time of great transition as the impetus is put into the hands of the JBC and as many NAB missionaries are coming home from the field for retirement and changing life circumstances. The Ewings and Shan will be re-‐ focusing their efforts on spiritual and leadership development in the JBC churches to raise up younger leaders and pastors to continue the work of the Spirit throughout Japan into the future.
How can Gateway Teams participate in all of this? While we have no specific projects in mind, especially with all of the new transitions taking place, we do continue to have relationship with those working in Japan. If you have a heart for Japan or the work that the Ewings and Shan are doing there, we at Gateway would be able to connect you in some meaningful way with what God is doing through the ministry of the NAB missionaries and JBC churches in Japan. We are excited and stand in support with what the Lord is already doing in this beautiful island country. As we have heard it said before, may Japan become “the land of the rising Son!
Transitions at Gateway Teams
As I (Sarah) write this Gateway Teams’ update I am filled with gratitude for all that the Lord has done in my life during the past 3 years since I began here. I have decided to step away from Gateway Teams in order to focus more on our growing family and pursue ministry opportunities that will keep me closer to home. I have loved working with Randy and Shelly and have learned so much in regards to leadership skills, personal growth with the Lord, and built relationships with amazing communities and people around the globe. In many ways it was the travel and relationships around the world that spoke most to my heart’s call of walking with others for the sake of the Gospel. But then a piece of my heart became Elliott and began walking and talking and giving the best hugs and kisses and travel away from him became harder and harder. After much time in prayer and seeking guidance from my husband Rob and the Schmors I feel at peace that it is the right decision to close this chapter. At the same time I have had more and more interest gathering within me to explore what it would mean to become a midwife and walk alongside women as they go through significant changes in their lives. I am excited to slowly begin exploring this path by starting part-‐time classes this fall. I am so grateful to all those churches and individuals who have faithfully supported and prayed for me. Please consider continuing to support Gateway Teams in lieu of my support. God is doing amazing things through this ministry and around the world in all of the communities where Gateway Teams has partners. Thank you again – it was a blessing to serve with Gateway for these years.
Grace & Peace