The Japanese: The World's Second Largest Unreached People Group

Hello Church Family: One of the ways in which GCT is obedient to the commands of Christ to reach the nations of the world with the Gospel is through the Brett and Taylor Rayl family work at Christ Bible Institute, in Nagoya, Japan as well as their church-planting work through Mission to the World throughout Japan.

Nagoya, the Rayl's mission center, is Japan’s major manufacturing city. It is home to world-renowned companies such as Fuji, Honda, Noritake, Brother Industries, and most importantly, Toyota. Nagoya’s GDP ranks 20th internationally and it accounts for 10% of Japan’s GDP. Nagoya is a major transportation hub for Japan and Asia. Nagoya Station is a major hub for the Shinkansen (bullet train), and will be a major hub for the new Maglev train. It is also one of the largest train stations in the world where over 190,000 people pass through every day. With a large and growing population (despite the country’s decreasing population), Nagoya is the most unchurched of Japan’s largest cities (9.1 million people) and the most unchurched areas in the country (125.7 million).

The Japanese are the world’s second-largest unreached people group. A fraction of a percentage (< 1.5) of Japanese are evangelical Christians, and that number has been recently declining. Most people in Nagoya have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. The highly urbanized and disconnected lifestyle leaves people feeling lonely, sometimes depressed, and even suicidal. There is a desperate need for the gospel to be preached and churches to be planted all throughout Japan.

Japan has a great history of Christian missions. Missionaries have been coming to Japan’s shores since 1549. However, Japan closed its borders to Christians and western influence for over 250 years and did not allow missionaries back until 1873. Historically Japan has been known to be a graveyard for missions and missionaries.

There are thousands of Japanese slipping into eternity without any idea that they can have peace with Jesus instead of the eternal torment they are facing. Yet the gospel workers going and telling them are few. Because so few workers are going to Japan and so few Japanese believe in Christ, there is a lack of resources for the church in Japan. The Japanese church lacks sufficient leadership—a sustainable number of mature pastors and lay leaders—and has limited Christian resources for spiritual growth, outreach, and training.

Some might consider missions in Japan an exercise in futility. But throughout Scripture, God does some of His best work in graveyards. Sarah’s barren womb. Elijah’s dry bones. Jonah’s death sentence in the belly of the fish. Jesus’ dead body in the tomb. God is using us, GCT, as part of His plan to bring life to the dead hearts of all people, including the Japanese. How will the Japanese hear without sending gospel workers, missionaries like the Rayls in Japan (Romans 10:14–15)?

For missionaries, like the Rayls, serving in particularly hard places, it is easy to lose hope and begin to fear that the work is for nothing. Paul himself lamented, “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself” (2 Cor. 1:8). In the midst of all these challenges, there is a risk of forgetting the vision of God’s glory that inspired them to go.
Please join me in praying for the gospel advancing work of the Rayl family. Brett, Taylor, Patton, Lily, Ry will be with us this Sunday to share about their work in Japan. Please take time to get to know them and reassure them that they are not forgotten in their gospel work in Japan.

See you Sunday, enjoying the Gospel: Steve

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