"Nurture, Strengthen, and Communicate"

Japan | NSD WM | Raquel Arrais | July 30, 2023

Leadership training in Tokyo, Okinawa, and Kochi draws 160 women.

In April 2023, the East Japan Conference held women's leadership training, titled "Nurture, Strengthen, and Communicate." About 40 women, both commuters and overnight guests, participated in the training, which was held at the office of Japan Union Conference in Tokyo. It was a meaningful occasion because the training center beside the office, which had been unavailable before this due to the pandemic, was used for the first time since it was established.

The instructor, Raquel Arrais, Women's Ministries director of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, led the session warmly and powerfully, focusing on the Word of God. Throughout the program, participants engaged in multiple instances of hugging and holding hands in prayer. After a prolonged period of social distancing, this opportunity allowed them to feel a closer connection to those around them and recognize the bonds they share.

During the training, participants learned that they are loved and blessed by Christ, that they are called to a missionary, and that they need Christ's way to move people's hearts. They actively participated in discussions, sharing ideas on how to care for women within and outside the church. They also explored ways to support one another, helping to overcome challenges related to physical and mental weaknesses.

June 7 to 10, 2023, the leadership training continued in Okinawa and Western Japan. On June 7, 60 individuals participated in the training at Okinawa International Church, followed by 15 faculty members from SDA educational institutions on June 8 at Ishikawa Church, where the first floor doubles as an Adventist nursery. Finally, on the Sabbath of June 10, 60 people from churches in Western Japan attended the training at Kochi Church in Shikoku.

Raquel Arrais was joined by Pastor Yoon ChungSil, the Women's Ministries director of the Korean Union Conference, as instructors for this phase of the training. The sessions were enriched with wonderful decorations and gifts, materials for evangelism and fellowship, and delicious food. The event aimed to encourage, empower, and inspire women who desire to serve God in Western Japan and Okinawa. Participants savored the fellowship, reconnecting with long-lost acquaintances due to the pandemic and meeting new comers. Each training session also included a time of thanksgiving, intercessory prayer, and devotion to God.

Women's Ministries Emphasis Day, June 10, provided a special opportunity for participants to celebrate Sabbath together. Handmade gifts, a healthy and delicious lunch prepared by church members, and food products from Saniku Foods for evangelistic activities were introduced, along with spiritual, health-related, and devotional books from Japan Adventist Publishing House. The entire program of this Sabbath was live-streamed by the Kochi Church YouTube channel, with the distribution operation managed by a young woman.

As the training concluded, the women departed with a renewed sense of worthiness to God and a shared mission to touch the world around them with God's love in their respective mission fields. Feedback from the survey indicated that some individuals immediately began preparations to start a women's ministry at their respective churches, some shared inspiring testimonies at their churches, while others expressed their desire to attend the next gathering.

Photo credits: NSD WM
By Raquel Arrais, WM director for Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD)

Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2023 Q2