If you want to start a surfing school as a tool to reach unbelievers, Sunday morning is the best time, it turns out. That way Christians-who are already in church-will not fill the classes, thus leaving room for unbelievers. This strategy for reaching young Japanese is working.
Nao Makino, 31, a wiry, athletic Japanese man with a gleaming smile, is being used of God to reach his fellow Japanese nationals in the Long Beach, Calif. area.
Working alongside Grace Brethren International Missions (GBIM) missionary Cecil O’Dell, Makino has for the past several years been seeking to reach the approximately 4,000 Japanese people temporarily living in the Long Beach area.
Basing their ministry out of the Grace Brethren Church of Long Beach (Lou Huesmann, pastor; Julie Schumacher, director of cross-cultural missions), this unique pair has built a contact list of about 150 persons.
Eight members of their surfing ministry agreed to begin meeting in an evangelistic Bible study at the end of January, meeting on the campus of California State University, Long Beach, and led by Makino.
In addition, there is a monthly barbecue in the park that is attended by up to 100 Japanese people, a Sunday night meeting of spiritual families involving about 20, and a monthly discipleship training in which 10 individuals are learning to become leaders of their own spiritual families.
These activities, along with a Japanese “gospel choir” ministry that welcomes unbelievers to sing, have been bearing fruit. About every three months this past year they’ve experienced someone committing their lives to Jesus Christ or being baptized.
Starting a ‘Returning Ministry’