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Chieko

Only a handful of Christians live in Chichibu, Japan. You helped make it possible for one woman and her church to spread the hope of the gospel.

Chichibu, Japan, is known for its many Buddhist temples and a large collection of Shinto shrines. Tourists and pilgrims travel from across the country—and even across the world—to visit the 34 ornate temples that are scattered all throughout the city. Only a handful of Christians live in Chichibu. 

But through your support of Resonate Global Mission, you’re equipping local leaders like Mrs. Chieko Ishii to reach the community with the hope of the gospel.

Coming Back to God

In a city that desperately needs God, Chieko was born into a Christian family and grew up going to the Chichibu Church, a church that Resonate missionaries helped to plant many years ago and still support today with leadership training. Chieko cherished her memories and the roots she built at Chichibu Church.

But when you’re living in a city with people deeply influenced by Buddhist and Shinto religion and traditions, it’s hard to find the support you need as a Christian. Life got busy, and Chieko’s family started missing worship gatherings every once in a while. And then more often. Eventually, they stopped gathering with their church completely.

I pray that our study of the Bible will deepen, and that many brothers and sisters will come together. I pray that we will be a church of people who are building a stronghold of Christ's peace in their hearts.

Without the community of the church, Chieko began wandering further away from God. She didn’t know it at the time, but she needed her faith. Without it, she began to feel overwhelmed with anxiety. Trying to find peace, she poured her life into painting and dancing. She would paint all day long and take flamenco and ballet classes in the evening. But nothing gave her peace or made her feel fulfilled in life.

She knew something was missing.

A Hopeless Community

Talking with her mother, Chieko realized she never felt as anxious when she was part of a church community and pursuing a relationship with God. She and her mother both decided to return to their home church, and Chieko decided to make a profession of faith. 

Chieko and her mother were overjoyed to be back, but Chieko quickly realized the church was struggling to keep hope. The congregation was discouraged. They longed to grow their small church community but struggled reaching people in a community rooted in other religions. While Chieko was growing in her personal faith, she knew the church needed guidance and encouragement to live out God’s kingdom plan and reach their community.

Chieko wanted to help her church—and you partnered with her.. One day, Chieko met your Resonate missionaries, Jeong and MiSook Gho. You sent the Ghos to Japan to equip Christian leaders.

Your missionaries saw the challenges Chieko's church was facing and wanted to equip her to make a difference. They worked with her to offer training and to start a Global Coffee Break Bible study.

Chieko wanted her community to experience the spiritual encouragement she received from your missionaries, and she invited everyone to participate in the training and Bible studies.

But the first week, only a few people showed up.

Nobody new joined the following week either.

Or the following. 

Sharing God’s love

Chieko was disappointed, but with encouragement and advice from your missionaries, she persevered. Slowly, Chieko’s enthusiasm for God started to change the atmosphere of the church. With her fierce encouragement and joyful spirit, a few people were drawn to the Bible studies—and they were hooked! 

"Mrs. Chieko has been a spark plug and cheerleader for the congregation as they struggle to find ways to be more effective in serving the community and reaching out with God's love and the good news,” said your Resonate missionary Larry Spalink. 

As the church leaned into God’s truth in Scripture, they felt hopeful again. Now, almost the entire church attends the Bible studies!

Chieko and other members of Chichibu Church gathering for a Bible study and training


And that’s not all. Through the engagement in Bible studies and with the Ghos’ encouragement, the church has found creative ways to reach their city. The church has opened its doors by hosting local choir group practices, flamenco dance lessons, and drawing classes to provide activities for the whole community.

The church has seen the positive impact their new outreach has had on the community. More people are walking through the church doors, and the church is having productive conversations with community officials. There is still a lot to be done, but the church has renewed faith in God’s mission to their community!

Thank you for making a difference!

Thank you for sending Resonate missionaries to Japan! Japan is home to one of the largest unreached people groups in the world, but God has been working through you to equip local leaders like Chieko to spread the gospel in their communities.

Chieko said she’s grateful for your investment in her community. Your encouragement and wisdom have brought joy to her and her church family, and she is hopeful for the impact her church can make in their neighborhood and city.

“I pray that our study of the Bible will deepen, and that many brothers and sisters will come together,” she said. “I pray that we will be a church of people who are building a stronghold of Christ's peace in their hearts.”