S.T.O.R.M. Japan 2016

It was an honor to lead a team of PBC students and alumni on a ministry trip to Life Church in Osaka, Japan led by Pastors Joel (BTh ’97) and Kellie (BCM ’97) Kaylor.

This STORM was one of the most stretching, challenging and fruitful experiences in my life. It was such a privilege to serve churches in my home country. Although our daily itinerary was packed and there were many last minute changes, each member of our team did an amazing job to accomplish their ministry tasks without complaint.

We were involved in many things, but our first highlight was a night of worship (concert) and workshops. There were about 60-70 people who signed up for various workshops such as a songwriting, leadership, worship leader, vocal and musician clinics. Approximately 110 people showed up to the concert and we had a great time worshiping God together.

Church leader and alumna, Yukie (Nishihara) Kaylor reported that 70% of participants were from outside of life church. People were really hungry to receive from God. We received wonderful feedback from many participants and this event served as a bridge connecting several local churches in the area.

We led two weekend services. Life church is a worshiping church and the atmosphere was very similar to home at City Bible Church making it very easy to lead the congregation in worship. Each team-member did an amazing job to serve the church and the leadership team. Pastors Carlos Marin and Jeremy Scott led a powerful prophetic ministry session that first Sunday afternoon. During this time we prayed for pastor Joel and his family, as well as the entire leadership team and others in the congregation. The Holy Spirit moved mightily and many people were baptized in the Holy Spirit for the first time.

Another personal highlight of this trip was going down to Kumamoto in order to do volunteer work for earthquake relief. It was definitely heartbreaking for us to see the city in such brokenness. What we could do was a very small thing, yet we saw people who won back their smile because of our volunteer work. I was personally overwhelmed and blessed as we blessed them. There were also several personal divine encounters for me in Kumamoto such as meeting with my cousin who I hadn’t seen for decades, Eiichi (a leader of Ariake Bible Church and a staff of Operation Blessings), and Joshua (associate pastor of Ariake Bible Church).

Our three days in Kumamoto were unforgettable.

Our second Saturday in Life Church was another pretty packed day for us because we ended up leading worship practice to the life church worship team in the morning, hung out with their youth group in the afternoon and had a worship night/service in the evening.

Every event in the day was really fun and meaningful for all of us. It was fun for us to celebrate the life church’s 7 th year anniversary with them
at the second Sunday afternoon. We could meet many people and prayed for them as well. It was very meaningful for us to invite all of the leadership team members to the dinner afterward so that we could show our appreciation for them. Each leader expressed their gratitude toward us with sharing words with us. It was a wonderful way to end our STORM trip. God has great things in store for the nation of Japan and we are blessed that PBC has had such an impact in the lives of many church leaders in that country.

In Him,

Yasuhito Hontani, BCM