Mukonoso RP Church rests in the middle of a nice calm town of single lane roads, apartment complexes, homes, and small rice fields. It’s a rather flat area as well, being 40 minutes south of the mountains, and 40 minutes north of the ocean. There is no parking lot for the church, so you either park nearby (quite cheap in this area), or you walk/bike.
The church was established as a mission station back in 1978 by the RPCNA, and officially became a church in 1990. Its first pastor was Gene W. Spear (8/14/1927 – 2/26/2021) who served with his wife for 46 years in Japan. In 2001 Pastor Spear retired and Pastor Kanamori began, and continues to serve, at the Mukonoso RP Church. Very recently the church elected two young men to serve as elders, Mr. Oohara and Mr. Jung.
There is a good amount of diversity among the 20 or so that fill the seats each Sunday. One elder and his family are from South Korea (3 sons 12-17 yrs.) and are hospitable, caring, and well connected when talking with other members in the church. A sweet older couple in their 70s who often start the Psalms for us and pray. A kind elderly woman with a cane who asks for a lift home occasionally (very sweet woman as well). Two sisters (a high school and college student). Another elder, his wife, and two children (high school and college.) Plus two Americans and their families.
With all the years that have passed, and the 1995 earthquake, the church building has started to show its age. The side wall surrounding the church has a major crack through it, the driveway overhang (room for one car) is heavily speckled orange and brown from rust, and the bulletin boards in front of the church are slowly withering away. The Mukonoso members are working on tidying up their church building, but are also saving up for and planning to reconstruct the building so that it will be more suitable for larger worship services.
It’s a little congregation with a worn church building, but the people are quite warm and welcoming. And with the two new elders, a handful of new faces filling the seats, and plans to grow, there’s much excitement ahead!