Yuri Nakano, Shan Reed and Melissa Ewing
Against the grain and into the heart
by Laurie Lind, Entrust writer
Responding to open questions and sharing from the heart are not the cultural norm in Japan. But as Japanese women taste this style of learning, they love it, want more and pass it on.
Shan Reed and Yuri Nakano took Developing a Discerning Heart in Thailand (through Entrust partner EWI) a few years ago. Afterward, they began presenting its concepts at ladies’ seminars in Japan, using the adult learning methods from Facilitating Relational Learning. Here’s their story.
“Since its inception, one of the key ministries at Komyo Christian Church has been women’s ministry. In a country where there are very few Christians and many women are the only Christian in their family, we felt it was important to meet for fellowship and study. The first few years we held ladies’ lunches or teas where we would hear the testimony of one of the ladies and have lunch and fellowship together.
“In 2015, we added our first full-day seminar into the rotation of lunch gatherings, sharing things we’d learned in DDH. We were excited about how well it was received. Contrary to typical Japanese culture, the ladies immediately opened up to each other and shared from their hearts! We try to make sure the bulk of the time is spent in God’s word and in discussion around the table. We are working through a series on developing our hearts as we recognize our identity in Christ. We want the ladies to not just learn for themselves, but take what they learn back to their home churches, into their families and neighborhoods.”
The ideas are gaining momentum.
“At a Japan Baptist Conference retreat in the summer of 2018, one of the pastor’s wives who has attended almost every seminar at Komyo Church, encouraged the other regions to participate in this ministry. Because of her excitement, the pastors’ wives in the Nagoya region have jumped on board! We heard from one pastor that when the ladies got back to church after the seminar, they had tea time for two hours, talking about what they learned and how important it is for the life of the church. We are praising God for how he is developing and maturing the hearts of his precious women here in Japan.”