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Mrs. Ohashi (center, brown shirt) knows the value in having fellowship with fellow believers.

A four-hour ride on public transportation and a 25,000 yen ticket didn’t stop a determined Mrs. Ohashi from reaching her goal.

Ohashi had been looking for ways to deepen her faith and the faith of others at her church in Niigata, Japan. Then Rev. Masao Yamashita, Back to God Ministries Japanese ministry leader, visited her church and mentioned Discovery Bible Studies (DBS) as a way for believers to encourage one another and go deeper into God’s Word.

After worship that day, Ohashi asked Yamashita where she could find the nearest DBS meeting. The answer and distance was discouraging.

“When Misook and I heard about Mrs. Ohashi via Rev. Yamashita, we were truly amazed but honestly didn’t expect her to show up,” says Jeong Gho, a missionary from Resonate Global Mission (formerly World Missions) who, along with his wife Misook, leads DBS trainings throughout Japan.

But that morning in March, Mrs. Ohashi left her home around 6 am and paid the equivalent of nearly $250. Upon her arrival, she was overcome with delight.

“She cried a lot,” said Jeong. “She told us that she wants to take the joy that she found at the meeting back to her church.”

With less than two percent of the population in Japan openly professing Christ, BTGMI and Resonate staff there regularly encounter the Mrs. Ohashies of the church—those who want to deepen their faith but aren’t sure where to turn.

Thanks to committed prayer and support for the CRC’s global ministries in Japan, believers are finding meaningful ways to engage with the gospel, through radio and online programming, events for listeners or other dispersed church members, a new Facebook video series that welcomes seekers to explore a church in their town, and training events for emerging pastors or lay leaders like Mrs. Ohashi.

Ohashi hasn’t missed a training since, joyfully making that grueling eight hour trip every month.

“Her joy and commitment have been contagious, and many ladies who have been coming are greatly blessed and encouraged by her,” says Gho.

Thanks to Ohashi’s determination, dispersed believers like her may soon have another place they can go for DBS meetings. She dreams about starting a DBS group at her own church soon.