TWR Country Focus: Japan
One day, when Obata-san went to listen to his usual radio program, he heard Power of Gospel instead.
He was disappointed at first. He wasn’t sure what the program was about, but the pastor on the air was sharing a message about how God will provide everything you need in due time, Obata-san told TWR Japan team members recently.
He decided to keep listening to the program.
“God will provide all things – that gave me power to live life,” said Obata-san, who is in his mid-50s.
He had studied at a Christian university for four years, but what he learned there didn’t make sense for him until he began listening to Power of Gospel, he told the team.
It’s difficult to connect with listeners in Japan because they don’t write or call the broadcast ministry. So imagine how surprised TWR staff members were when Obata-san happened to be introduced to Pastor Otomo – the speaker he heard that first day over the radio – at the gym. They found out that they both regularly work out there. Pastor Otomo invited the listener to his church, and that’s how TWR Japan came to know his story.
Obata-san lost everything in the 2011 tsunami that hit the Tōhoku region.
“After the disaster, my house was totally wrecked,” he said. “I had nothing.”
The structure was left standing, but the water had come in 4 meters high (about 13 feet). He had to throw everything away. He rebuilt his house in November 2014.
“I lost everything, but I didn’t lack anything,” he said. “God will provide all things.”
After the tsunami hit, TWR saw an opportunity to share hope with the survivors. TWR Japan developed a program called Season of Hope to minister to the affected Japanese people over the long term. The program, which shares survivors’ personal stories, began airing in June 2013 on local FM stations. Three additional programs – Blessing Japan, Power of Gospel, and Praise and Worship – began airing in 2014.
The best part about radio for Obata-san – who doesn’t own a cellphone, computer or camera – is that he can listen to it wherever he is, even while working.
Obata-san has been so encouraged by Power of Gospel that he listens to Blessing Japan and Praise and Worship as well.
He also began attending a Bible study at the church of one of the other pastors featured on TWR radio programs, and there he is learning what it means to follow Jesus.
“My life is full of the gospel now,” he said.
Facts about Japan*:
- About 67 percent of Japanese live in urban areas, and there is a 100 percent literacy rate in the country. Japan’s economy thrives on the exporting as it lacks natural resources and oil.
- Although freedom of religion is guaranteed to all by the government, it is not a major concern for the majority of the population as the Japanese identity is historically and deeply tied to Shintoism. Only 1.5 percent of the people consider themselves Christians.
- Read more about TWR’s ministry to the thousands of people affected by the devastating tsunami.
*Operation World, 7th edition