Fellowship between Japanese and Australian saints has been growing for many decades. God has given many opportunities for visiting and contact between churches in our close, but not that close, countries. I have enjoyed hearing stories over the years from Aussies who have visited and been hosted by our brothers and sisters in Japan. The last 5 years have been extra special as more ‘official’ connections are developed and we get to put faces to some of the names we have been hearing. 

There have been 2 Serve Japan trips (from Australia) and 2 Bridge Teams (from Japan) offering opportunities for service, encouragement and experiencing God’s Kingdom in each other’s countries. We have also shared teaching when Kihei Takiura came with his family to speak at our RPCA Fellowship Cam in 2016, and when Andrew Stewart, Lynsey Blakston and Alastair McEwen have had opportunity to do some teaching at the Kobe Theological Hall. We even have family connections now! Megumi (nee Takiura) and Benjamin Blackwood, from our Frankston congregation, brought the whole RP world together for their Japanese-Aussie-American wedding last year!

March 2019 saw the second Bridge Team from Japan come to Australia to strengthen these ties in a time of mutual encouragement and service. Our congregations enjoyed having Pastor Shigaru Takiura, Ryo and Soshi visit. The team were able to join in with our worship services, Bible studies, fellowship groups, mens breakfasts, working bees and other weekly activities. It was a great chance to practice Japanese language skills and Soshi taught everyone some ‘kendama’ tricks. They were able to watch the Geelong Cats (AFL) win a game of footy and enjoy time visiting beautiful Australian animals and scenery. Another young man from the Japan fellowship was able to fly over with them to have an Australian homestay with a family in the McKinnon congregation. 

I certainly enjoyed meeting this team and hearing about their lives in Japan. There are so many similarities in our lives as Christ’s followers in our two countries and it was special to discover and share these together. There are so many differences too! Being able to realise and share about the hardships or joys our churches face was also a special part of the trip. Building connections and fellowship between Australia and Japan is an exciting part of church life in these places.

Emily Mikelsons, RPCA

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