Dynamic and creative prayer and outreach event, “SHINE JAPAN” (24-30), had its third day on the 26th, with participants doing outreach in the Minato Mirai area of Yokohama, as well as inviting speakers from overseas for the media workshop. Approximately 50 people participated from around the world, receiving training in the morning at the preparation prayer meeting, and then going out in the afternoon to hand out testimony newsletters to people on the streets, singing praises along the way. At the media workshop held at night, two guests spoke on the topic of latest film production, hoping to interest Christians and non-believers alike.
7MEDIA, organizer of SHINE JAPAN, is a new multimedia ministry working to encourage Japanese youth and to expand opportunities for prayer and evangelism.
The founder is British missionary, Andy Game, and with the majority of staff being foreign, it is quite an international organization.
In preparation for the afternoon outreach, participants from overseas such as the U.S. and Canada gathered at the morning preparation prayer meeting held at Yokohama’s Nigiwaiza (Naka-ward), praying, “You are the Savior of this nation. The youth of Japan need you.” Pastor Toru Majima of New Hope Yokohama, a local church in Yokohama, resonated with the passionate cries of the participants on behalf of Japanese youth, responding, “Thank you for coming to Japan.” Pastor Majima is a former high school teacher with four sons in their teens or under, sharing that he is convinced of two things – that young people need the gospel and are filled with potential.
7MEDIA is working on a project called “THE4POINTS” through which the message of the gospel is expressed through four symbols. Pastor Majima touched on the first symbol being a heart illustrating love, saying that the gospel starts with sharing love. “Japan has an image of being a difficult place to evangelize, but perhaps the Japanese are in need of the gospel more than others,” he suggested. He also said that the Japanese have a tendency to believe that they “can’t,” stressing the importance of Japanese leaders to believe in the potential of youth and to lead them, just as Jesus chose and trained his 12 disciples.
He urged participants to believe in the future of each young person that they encounter on the streets, telling them, “God loves you.” Four youngsters from New Hope Yokohama shared their testimonies, convincing those attending that the youth of Japan will change magnanimously through salvation.
In the afternoon, after being empowered by prayer, worship and the messages, the participants divided up into “media team,” “ministry team,” and “music team” and went out to the shopping district of Yokohama. Choosing streets busy with people, the music team sang praises accompanied by guitar and danced, while teams went out and talked to passers-by. As if to back up the theory of the 7MEDIA staff that international-flavored events are extremely effective when reaching out to youth, people showed an interest just from seeing lots of foreigners wearing matching white and red t-shirts. Newsletters and silicon wristbands were passed out to those who seemed curious about what was going on, creating an opportunity for conversation.
The media team asked people, “What is love to you?,” having participants write their answer on a small white board, then taking a photo of them. The key factor was to tell them, “We will take your picture, so please take a look later,” directing them to THE4POINTS’ homepage. Newsletters and wristbands all have THE4POINTS’ URL or QR code written on them, making it easy for those interested to access the homepage.
The time frame during which the outreach was held was around the time that elementary, junior and senior high school students were on their way home from school, with elementary school kids running around wearing backpacks, and many high schoolers chatting with their friends as they passed by. Some students were glued to the dance performances, while others who were stopped by foreigners speaking broken Japanese, looked happy to receive the wristband as a “present.” Some high schoolers even got out their smart phones to try to communicate in English. As one young lady was videoing the music team singing, the ministry team went over to chat with her. When she learned that they were all Christians, she shared, “Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, many people have a great fear of earthquakes and are restless. Please pray for these people.”
Outreach will take place in this format in Yokohama from May 25 (Mon.) to 29 (Fri.), then in Tokyo on May 30, the final day of SHINE JAPAN. May 30 (Sat.) coincides with Global Outreach Day (G.O.D.) and the 7MEDIA staff claim, “If you participate in 5 days of outreach in Yokohama, you’ll be an expert evangelist by Saturday.”
A variety of events were held during SHINE JAPAN, including a media workshop held at Yokohama Nigiwaiza on the night of May 26. Around 80 people attended, coming from the Japanese church community as well as Japanese who stopped by on their way home from work. The guest speakers were the Kranzlers from Britain who spoke about film production. Older brother Andreas and younger brother Markus introduced their respective workplaces, demonstrating their passion and knowledge in regards to using media as a means for giving a message.
Markus is a technical director at Pixar Animation Studios, and has worked on the production of several movies, such as “Iron Man 3” and “Man of Steel.” His job is to work with the shading and lighting on films through computer programming. Markus showed several photos and asked the crowd whether each was real or computer-generated, surprising everyone with how modern technology is making the boundary between real and fake so ambiguous. According to Markus, nowadays most films are created by combining scenes actually filmed with computer graphics. In regards to being able to do all the work by computer, it has become extremely convenient, but he explained that even with computer graphics, if you want to create something of good quality, you need lots of staff who have to go through numerous steps in order to make computer graphics from scratch.
Andreas works for a film production in London, as he also works as creative producer at Hillsong Church London. “Japan is filled with interesting opportunities,” he told the crowd, saying that Japan’s large population and relative affluence makes it a nation capable of developing new things. However, he also pointed out that in spite of the population, not as many new contents have been generated in comparison to other nations, encouraging Japanese Christians to be the ones to invent creative opportunities.
7MEDIA is striving to share the gospel with young people through posting films of artists’ testimonies online. Andy Game commented, “After hearing their talks, I want to put more and more energy into making good films.”
Check out the details of SHINE JAPAN on their website. On the 30th, the final day, a free concert called “JOY FESTIVAL” will be held from 1pm in the Open-air Concert Hall in Hibiya Park.