On Sunday, November 9, 2014, three of Japan Bethel Mission’s churches (Fussa, Kurume and Munakata) met at the Kurume Bethel Christ Church (KBCC) for the first of an annual Bethel Fall Fellowship Conference, a special time of worship, Word and fellowship. Fussa Bethel Church (FBC) is the headquarters for the Japan Bethel Mission (JBM) that was established by former Bethel Temple missionary Clyde Bade before his retirement. JBM’s President is Yoshio Tsuzaka.
KBCC and MBCC believers met on the Day of Pentecost earlier this year for a time of praise and the Word. Since that meeting was so wonderful, the two churches decided to meet again this fall for a combined worship service having Pastor Yoshio Tsuzaka and his wife, Noriko, come from Tokyo to minister the Word. After morning worship the MBCC group drove to Kurume for a combined afternoon service.
Pastor Tsuzaka stepped into the pulpit and shared the practically unknown history of Bethel to the congregation. He shared how the spirit of Bethel began and is still alive and flowing today in the members of the Japan Bethel Mission. Many were astounded to hear that the same spirit that is in our congregations today began 100 years ago in 1914 with a man named William H. Offiler. Pastor Tsuzaka has compiled a history of Bethel Temple and Japan Bethel Mission in English and Japanese. Please click the highlighted links at the end of this article to see the publications here on BFI’s website.
Tsuzaka showed pictures as he made use of media such as Power Point and an old Kodak movie, to make the presentation of Bethel’s History to those in attendance more easily understood. He also told of the many countries around the world to where Bethel Temple sent missionaries, including Indonesia. Tsuzaka himself made a trip to Biak, Irian Jaya, Indonesia in 1989 with Clyde Bade to visit then Bethel Temple missionaries Mike & Mae Hanas. They personally visited the works Mike & Mae had established, including a Bible school, seminary and jungle village churches. It will take about 3 or 4 minutes, but click here to download the old 5;14-second Kodak Movie.
The afternoon message was translated into Tagalog for the many Philippine believers who make up part of the Kurume Bethel Christ Church. Children were in the very front with pastors praising and worshipping the Lord.
After the service many gathered in the fellowship hall for feast that had been prepared by members of the Kurume church: bread, salads, pasta, curry rice, gratin casserole, a delicious homemade by Yoshihiro Nakamura bouil-la-baisse (a chowder made with several kinds of fish, shellfish, vegetables and seasonings), and dessert. Besides the food being so delicious, the fellowship between members of the Body of Christ from three churches with the same Bethel name was absolutely unifying.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
Japan Bethel Mission Pastoral Leaders:
Sitting L to R: Andrea & Nils Olson (Munakata Bethel Christian Center missionary-pastors), Yoshio & Noriko Tsuzaka (Fussa Bethel Church pastors, Japan Bethel Mission president).
Back Row L to R: Issei & Nozomi Yoshida (Kurume Bethel Christ Church pastors), Yukari Kudo (Kurume Bethel Christ Church pastor), Emi Fujita (Kurume Bethel Christ Church worship pastor), Takako & Aritoshi Yoshia (Kurume Bethel Christ Church retired pastors).
Because of the great distance from northern Japan to the southern island of Kyushu, Pastors Tamekichi & Emiko Morita of the JBM Rikuzen Takada Christ Church were not able to attend. Many of you may not know, but the resulting tidal wave from the great Iwate-Fukushima earthquake in March 2011 stopped only about 30 feet from the Morita’s church and home entry way. God’s hand of protection has surely been upon them and their church.
We praise God for this report of great fellowship and unity in the Japan Bethel Mission.