As the vision for a café ministry began to be realized three years ago, the Tokyo Metro Ministry Initiative (TMMI) hoped to see unique opportunities arise for outreach and evangelism through being a light in the community. God has brought people and opportunities their direction in amazing ways. An outreach to university students began with a contact from the café that has been the catalyst to a great ministry to students from a local university. One of the students now attends English Bible studies on Wednesdays!
Another opportunity arose while chatting to a group of customers. They had just come from volunteering at a local orphanage. This meeting has given SonRise Church members the opportunity to volunteer there once a month. These are just two examples of ministry began at the café. Even more encouraging have been the opportunities to sow the seeds of the gospel with individuals who come as customers to the café!
One of TMMI’s supporting churches sent over church members Douwe and Marci Blumberg for a very exciting week of ministry as Douwe “sculpted” his way around Tokyo for one week during April. Douwe worked on a special sculpture that he donated to the café. In public parks, community centers, schools, universities, and the café, many curious onlookers came to watch and ask all sorts of questions. It was a fantastic opportunity for Douwe to share his testimony and talents with a wide range of people. He was also able to explain the thought behind the sculpture he made – Freedom, Hope, and Joy from the Hands of God.
As well as meeting people on the street, Douwe was able to connect with a number of people that have been met through the café ministry. He visited the university and spoke to students that have been befriended. One of the students came to see the sculpture unveiled at the end of the week, and Douwe and Marci were able to invite him to a special event for students being hosted by other TEAM missionaries. Douwe also hosted a sculpting class for café customers.
One lady who attended had recently lost her husband to cancer. She said afterwards that it was the first time she had felt able to smile and laugh with others in over a month. Douwe and Marci visited Matsubaen orphanage at which SonRise Church members have been volunteering. Douwe brought some special clay with him that the children could sculpt with and later bake in an oven to harden. The children, ages 3 to 17, had a really wonderful time, and many of them expressed how they would treasure the sculptures they were able to make. When Douwe suggested that they could paint their hardened sculptures later, the care-givers mentioned that they had no paints, so paints were purchased for them. The whole experience has helped to strengthen the bonds the TMMI team and SonRise Church members have with the staff and children at the orphanage.
What other doors of opportunity will be opened for the Tokyo Metro Ministry Initiative as they are a light in the community surrounding SonRise Café?
- By Owen Ames
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