This afternoon Pastor Kogure and I made a visit up to the town of Kurabuchi in the hills of western Gunma Prefecture. Technically, Kurabuchi has become a part of the city of Takasaki but it certainly doesn’t feel like that as you make the 45 minute drive up along the Karasu River and into this more mountainous area. To the north you can see Mt. Haruna and to the west – our closest live volcano – Mt. Asama.
It is a friendship / connection with another pastor, Pastor Nushiro, which brought us up here today. Pastor Kogure has known him for several years and been aware that about three years ago Pastor Nushiro moved his family from Maebashi City (the capital of Gunma) up to Kurabuchi. During our couple hours together Pastor Nushiro shared his story about that move. He states that he’s still not sure of many details for the future, but it is clear that God has led him and his family here to Kurabuchi. There is no church or Christian presence in this town of approximately 4,000 people. He shared that he has clearly been instructed by God to pray for this town…and so he has been doing that for three years as he delivers milk each day, the job that provides financial support for him and his family. Although it is about an hour drive, he continues to help out as a pastor at their former church in Maebashi.
It was a joy and encouragement today to spend this time together. The area is absolutely gorgeous (as is so much of Gunma) and seeing the rice paddies being prepared for planting this afternoon was healing for my busy heart and soul. Yet, it is also a bit breathtaking to consider the difficulty of how best to share the good news of Jesus with the people who have lived here for so many generations. How should we proceed? How can we be of assistance to Pastor Nushiro?
We can now pray more specifically for this town and we will begin to consider a possible tie-up between Kurabuchi and our Gunma Harvest efforts. For today, it is just encouraging to know that God loves this town. He knows the mountains and the rivers here, and he knows the people by name. And He has already placed one of his faithful and praying children on site. How excellent is that?! Show us the way forward Lord! (To see all the photos visit HERE.)