Naomi Tamura — Japan

The struggle I have being a Japanese Mennonite Christian comes from being a minority. In Japan even if you add all of the Catholics, Protestants, and the Mennonites [together], it’s less than one percent of the Japanese population. There are many others who have faith in Buddhism and Shinto, however, most don’t believe in a god. They don’t recognize a god in their lives.

And they have an allergic reaction against spiritual topics. They misunderstand and think that having faith is for the sick and poor. They also recognize that the people who have faith are unscientific. On top of that, there are ones that believe people who have faith are dangerous and think they could become terrorists.

As Japanese Christians we have to stand our ground against those kinds of thoughts. In Japanese culture being the norm is considered very important for most people.

However I gave up being in the norm to live together with God. And I believe that being different is a good thing.

“Blessed are the peacemakers. For they shall be called sons of God.”(Matt 5:9)

That’s what Jesus preached at the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus blesses the ones who make peace. From this we can come to the understanding that peace is not something natural. It is something that has to be made. To bring peace, we need to bring difference into this world. This gave me the hint to understand that difference is a positive thing.

I think that the “difference” Japanese people feel against the peacemakers is the sign that our work is bringing change into this world. The reason people feel “difference” is because there is change. They don’t know God, but God knows them well. We as Christians can love them as neighbours.

They don’t know God, but they seek peace in their hearts. For that reason, we can work together with those to bring peace.

And they can understand Jesus through working with us Christians.

Even though we are a minority in Japan it is not impossible to work as a peacemaker. Even in struggle, I thank God for providing [me] the opportunity to work as a peacemaker in Japan. Lastly, for you who received this message please pray for us all in Japan and help us carry the work we do in Japan. Thank you.

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