by Brian Larsen SOC Director
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Our trip to Japan this year gave us a real eye opener not only to the physical condition of the country but especially the spiritual condition. I felt like the Pastor of the Church, where we have conducted the School of Christ for the last two years, expressed the situation in his country very well. He also shared with us the impact that the School is having on the Church. So I have enclosed the letter that he wrote to me in September of this year after we returned home.
"Pr. Brian Larsen, Peace of the Lord.
We are thankful to God and to the board of this School of Christ International for its second year on Japanese ground, teaching and training lives for God. The School's impact has taken hold among the Portuguese speaking community and we know that very soon God's Word will reach the hearts of the Japanese.
We received data from the Japanese Police, saying that the suicide rate in Japan is very high. In the month of August, which is the month of the Mission's conference and the School of Christ, in our state of Aichi Ken, 150 Japanese killed themselves; that means an average of 5 lives a day took their own lives away somehow. In Tokyo, the amount in August was higher, 236. The total amount today is 21.326 from January through August, 14.598 men, 6.728 women.
The Church has a responsibility in reducing these figures that come from hell, and the Church is praying, though in perplexity with those numbers, yet I believe in a God that changes the life of the sinner.
The School of Christ has a large potential and performs a work of great relevance in training the Church of Christ for the great harvest of souls in Japan; I believe we are not here by chance, but we are here because God has a great purpose. The School of Christ did not reach Asia to work with the Portuguese Language institution; I believe it will extend to the native Japanese speaking churches.
I am thankful to the ministry and vision of Rev. B. H. Clendennen, his dreams that can never be measured, and messages that will never be silenced. Until this day, lives are being changed by the messages of this servant of God.
I am thankful to the board of this great ministry of the Word of God, to Bro. Brian Larsen for his seriousness, commitment and sacrifice for the accomplishment of this well represented School, and my thankfulness extends to Bro. Lisandro for his faithful translation and his commitment in contributing to this school.
My sincere thanksgiving is to be recorded.
In the unconditional love of Christ,
PR Haroldo Yamamoto"
I believe he shared with us a continued vision for this country. We are scheduled to return in 2012 during the months of April and August. I am praying that God will prepare our way and the hearts of those that will be affected. What a wonderful thing it would be for us to also have the opportunity to lead lost Japanese to Christ as we are there sharing the School of Christ with the ministers and the churches for the Glory of God. Please continue to pray for Japan, for us who will go to minister and thank you for your continued prayers and support. I am enclosing some of the students' testimonies. This gives us a small insight of how God is working individually as well as collectively. Praise be to God for all He has done!
I am yet not baptized in the Holy Spirit, and I was asking God why I wasn't. I came to understand that I was looking for the speaking in tongues rather than the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I didn't understand why I didn't feel His presence when I prayed or heard the Word of God, but I was seeking the wrong way. Through this school, it became very clear to my heart, taking all sadness, hesitations, and anxiety away. Now I am sure that I must seek first His presence first and the rest He will add in time.
In attending the School, I have received a new vision about being a Christian. It brought a renewal to pray, to fast, and to read the Word. I decided to give myself completely to the Lord. After the Mission's congress, I desired to have a complete change and to serve the Lord Jesus.
Pr. Carlos Eduardo Okita:
The School of Christ has brought us to the reality in which we live. We saw that through the School many people have been changed and it is not any different with us. We have been encouraged to live a life of more intimate communion with Christ. Me and my family are leaving satisfied and with a desire to be closer to the Lord.
Before I even thought about attending the School of Christ, God had been speaking to me about living in Christ. He was showing me my failures and how much I needed to give my 100% to God. When I decided to participate, I never knew how wonderful it was going to be. My mind was open in such a way that words can't express. My soul rejoices in Christ! I understand what the Holy Spirit wanted to tell me.
As I listened to every preaching, it was as if my heart was being torn into! I feel so much of God's love for our lives! I've learned so much from Pr. Clendennen. I learned that we must not give place to our tired flesh. As I watched Pr. Brian preaching about souls, it was like Heaven opened and the rapture was about to happen at that moment. I've seen so much of God's love and that is what impacted my life. My life will never be the same again!
Elizabeth Yoshie Kono de Moura:
Of all the lessons I heard in the School of Christ, what touched me the most was the will of God upon our lives. Until then, I thought I was in the will of God, but I see that God still has a lot to workout in my character so I can truly be given to Him and then I can be a help to my husband in the ministry. With the Grace of God, I will overcome every obstacle. God bless you.
Of the many things I learned, one is that even if everyone around me is dead spiritually, it doesn't mean that I have to be dead. I can remain alive and still be a canal of blessing for those that don't have any life. Revival can start through me!
I thought I was walking correctly that I was walking according to the will of God, but in the School of Christ I realized it was not so. The School changed my thoughts. From now on I don't want to walk according to my own will but by God's.
Debora Gaspar Ykegawa:
I am thankful to God for the School of Christ, which is the first time I attended and it was more than I expected. God spoke mightily with me and showed me that I was so far from God's will, and I came to understand that the way I was walking was wrong. I thought that with the experiences that I had with God I had enough, but in this school I learned that it is not enough to receive, but that we have to stay in His presence. As long as my carnal life is active, God's glory will never flow through me. May God bless the School of Christ.
Antonio Raimundo Martins:
What impacted my life the most in this school was the series Rebuilding of the Gate, of our ministry. I can now understand how big my responsibility is in the Kingdom of God. I can understand that God put me in a place of overcoming in the Kingdom of God and that I am a gate for God to reach the people that live where we live. There is no easy rebuilding because the devil will fight back, he will use intimidation so we will give up when we actually need to complete the great work of God. That message encouraged me to "take possession" of the whole state where we live. Adam lost the territory, but Jesus came to take that territory back for God. With God's help, we want to reach Japan for Christ through the rebuilding of the gate and the walls. God richly bless you in Christ.
Silvania Machado Soyokawa:
God confronted me with my spiritual life in a glorious and frightening way. Every message made me reflect on the way I was living my spiritual life until today. I found that I was living my own life and not Christ's. Also I learned that to be the church, I have to give everything to Him, without reservations. Praise God for His Word that cleanses us.
Edevaldo Militao Machado:
The school of Christ was a great blessing from God for me and my family. I praise God for every teaching ministered and every study. We have a responsibility, to be a vehicle of revelation of Christ Jesus in the world. My goal and my desire is that He can use me as He does with His vessels.
The School of Christ is a real revival and that is what Japan needs. We are preparing ourselves through the school for a revival to come to Japan. I am thankful to God that this ministry is now part of our ministry. We received a river of living waters, and I understand that I need to be an intercessor and that my life will never be the same. I don't want to live anymore like before. I want to be useful for God. Leave behind all comforts and weep more for the lost. I want to be like Mr. Skinner and deliver flyers for the Japanese people. I may not even say a word, but I want to pray when I go back home for God to save those souls that receive the flyer.
Valquiria de Arens:
The school made great changes in my life. The one I believe to be the most important is concerning Faith. When I heard the lesson "What the Blood Means to God" I realized the reason why I didn't give myself completely unto the Lord. I understood that I had to give up my feelings so then Christ can truly live in me. I will never forget that "we don't need to see, or to feel, or to understand, we must have faith!"