“Now I become a Christian. On Christmas Sunday in 2014, I was baptized. I believe that if Christ Church Choir didn’t come to me, I would not accept Jesus and I would still sing Gospel as just only music. But now, I can sing Gospel as the essence of Bible, “God’s words”. ~ Momoko
I read this testimony of Momoko and it still seems surreal that God would use members of a church choir from Nashville, Tennessee to go all the way to Japan, singing Gospel music, to bring the message of the Gospel to so many people searching for a real encounter with God.
It was about three days into my recent mission to Japan that I realized God had sent me on a “Christ Church” missions trip and I just didn’t know it! After three life-changing trips to Japan ministering with the Christ Church Choir music team, I returned to Japan in April this year for 10 non-stop days of music ministry. Everywhere I went, the reputation and stories of the music ministry from Christ Church went before me and I was welcomed and honored in both familiar and new cities & venues. At every concert, there were other pastors/ministers/teachers attending who extended invitations for me to return and bring this Gospel music to their church or organization. I met 2 ministers at my first concert who traveled 6 hours to come that day because they wanted to meet with me and request that I please come back and bring Gospel music concerts to their area.
Gospel music has made an impact in Japan that is hard to explain. The Japanese people enjoy the soulful musical style but are also compelled by the spirit that moves through this music. Both Christian and non-Christian people enjoy gathering to sing these soulful Gospel songs! As Jesus is lifted up, He draws people to himself and this truly is happening through Gospel music in Japan. After every concert, I met people who came to me overwhelmed with emotion, speaking of the powerful presence of God that they experienced. Some of them spoke of feeling healing while others simply said they felt the “light” and “holiness” of God during the concert.
The first Music Missions team trips to Japan by the Christ Church Choir began in 2011. From that mission, there was one young girl who was baptised and since that time there have been 8 total baptisms in direct response to the ministry of the Christ Church Choir music missions: Mika, Naohiro, Masashi, Toshi, Yumi, Tomoka, Momoko and Mamiko. The most recent baptism was of Mamiko Tani who came to my first concert in April and when the concert concluded, she spoke to our host, Pastor Yasunori and told him she decided that day that she wanted to be baptised and make a public confession of faith in Jesus! We know that many others have been impacted by the music ministry and have come to know Christ during this time but these are the ones we know have also followed through with water baptism.
I am also happy to report that each of these new Christians are growing in their faith and some are even teaching Bible classes at churches & universities! Seeing each of them volunteering in their churches, growing in their knowledge of the Word and continuing with their love of Gospel music is truly a blessing.
Along with the yearly trips to Japan by the CCChoir teams, there have been other ministers, like myself, who have been able to follow in the path paved by the ministry of the Christ Church Choir. Pastor Dan has ministered in Japan along with Geron Davis & Kindred Souls, Wayne & Elizabeth Goodine, Jaimee Paul & Leif Shires, Elicia Brown and most recently, myself.
Each summer, a team of Japanese students & adults come to Nashville lead by our friend, Pastor Yasunori Aoki. These visits are more than just a tourist trip to Music City USA but an opportunity for these young people to interact with Christians, stay in Christian homes and experience both a Christ Church Choir rehearsal & participate in a Sunday morning worship service. Each year, there have been salvation decisions directly connected to the influence & experience that the person had on this trip. Every host home is important and every meal served matters. It is all part of being the living Gospel to people who have never met Jesus.
The people of Japan are open. The Christian leaders in Japan are pleading for us to bring Gospel Music missions and the doors are open for Christ Church Nashville to continue to make an impact in Japan for the Kingdom of God.
“I can feel the presence of God through singing with Christ Church Choir. God touched my broken heart and made a new way to me… After singing with them, I looked around with my tears. I was surprised that Choir members were crying, too. I decided to be baptized at this time. I’d like to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I’d like to follow him through singing Gospel, just like Christ Church Choir! This unforgettable experience lead me to be Christian. I was Baptized in September 28 in 2014. Gospel becomes not only “music” but “living word” to me. I owe what I am now to Jesus and Christ Church Choir!” ~ Tomoka