Changing lives in Japan
BY EMILY SCHERESKY
The Washburn Baptist youth group has returned from its mission trip to Japan, where they served in a number of ways. The trip, which was not originally planned, gave the youth group a chance to change the perspectives of many people.
Each minute of the group’s stay in Japan was filled with helping others and learning more about Japanese culture. Multiple churches were visited, where the group gave presentations about the culture of life in North Dakota, as well as giving personal testimonies to the Japanese churchgoers.
Along with the testimonies, the youth group, which consists of Emily and Gracey Russell and Alexis and James Acevedo, and led by Tami Acevedo, practiced a special presentation to show each church they traveled to. This presentation showed an interpretation of letting God into your life without pressuring the Japanese to fall away from their culture, which is full of deities and idols. Many of the people in the churches did not fully believe because they felt pressure from the religions of their ancestors.
Many different religions are common in Japan, including Buddhism and Shinto. The youth group got to witness these beliefs first hand by visiting shrines scattered throughout Japan, as well as listening to those in the churches. There were many people they shared their beliefs with who were cautious to change. However, they were proud to say they changed some minds and strengthened their faith.
“There were some people who began to believe or strengthened their beliefs after we shared with them,” Tami said.
One of the favorite parts of the group was when they shared their personal testimony with one of the churches. It was then when they truly began to influence other people.