Looking At Shintomura

On the map above the green areas represent where our Gunma Harvest work is taking place. You can see that we have been passing out tracts and trying to make contacts with folks in three villages that are in the remote southwestern corner of Gunma. It is a mountainous area and requires about an hour to an hour and a half to get there from Isesaki.

You will notice that one area however, Shintomura, is separated from the others and is actually located much more centrally. Although it is in the foothills and quite rural, it is near the cities of Maebashi, Shibukawa, and Takasaki, and actually adjoins the town of Yoshioka where we have one of our churches.

A year ago in May a few of us began to rent a small room in a community hall on the first Sunday afternoon of each month. Our intent was simply to pray regularly for this village and ask God to show us how to reach out in building a core of believers. It has usually been about 5-6 of us that have met for prayer and worship.

Over the next few months we are going to try something different. We are renting the same space but we will distribute a flyer inviting folks (children or adults) to join us for “music lessons” and learning an instrument. Our goal will not be to hold worship or teach about Jesus at that time but simply to get to know local people in the village. Last month we wrote here that we hoped to start in June but it now looks like our “launch” will be delayed until Fall. In the meantime those of us who have been gathering for prayer decided to learn instruments ourselves. The photo you see above was our gathering on April 5th. Everyone in the picture is a beginner on their instrument except for the young man in the center in a white sweater. We hope to divide up into three groups – those who want to learn guitar, those who are interested in keyboard, and those who want to try the electric bass. (These are the only instruments we happen to have!) If others bring their own instruments we could create quite a noise.

Would  you pray with us for this village?

  • that God would lead us to individuals who are spiritually hungry
  • that we would have a response to our “music lesson” flyers
  • that God would continue to lead and encourage Pastor Watanabe and his wife, Kuniko, who live near Shinto and are heading up this effort

(in the photo, Pastor Watanabe is wearing the red checked shirt and his wife is next to him.)

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