Sapporo Evangelical Free Church
Adonai International Church
Partnering with Asian Access through the Church Planting Associate Ministry
Rev. Tsutomu Kaji, pictured above with his wife, Yoshiko, at a recent pastors' marriage conference. The Kajis have two daughters and two sons, all in their twenties. The Kaji family lives in the Sapporo church building with three of their children.
When the Evangelical Free Church of Japan celebrated its fiftieth anniversary 11 years ago, denominational leaders sounded the call for someone to move to the northern island of Hokkaido to pioneer new work. The Kajis responded to that call and moved. Since then Pastor Kaji has planted two churches. The two congregations’ membership now totals 43; weekly worship attendance averages 55. They have started outreach in a third location, near Sapporo station, where they want to plant their next church.
Years ago when they prayed for property in Sapporo, the Lord surprised the Kajis with a building right next to a university. In prayer they discerned God leading them to reach out to university students. Many students have come to Christ through the church members and short-term teams from Korea and the US. Pastor Kaji wants to expand this work through Asian Access missionaries, and is thankful the missionaries coming are much closer to the students in age than the Kajis are!
Before retiring in about ten years the Kajis want to complete their third and fourth Hokkaido church plants, reach many more for Christ and raise up the next pastor. As a step toward these goals, an assistant pastor will begin working with them in 2011, and will live in the Adonai Church building (about 45 minutes from the Sapporo location).
Sapporo, Japan’s 5th largest city with 1.9 million people
Chitose, a city near Sapporo
The Kajis have used English classes to reach people throughout their decades of ministry. Mrs. Kaji teaches children’s classes. The Kajis have not been able to have regular adult classes in recent years because there’s been no one to teach. They look forward to restarting this ministry and reaching, through the Borbas’ English classes, many university students and others in the neighborhood. They look forward to having the Borbas involved in their church plant with students and young adults near Sapporo Station, and to seeing how God will use the Borbas’ artistic abilities to enrich the church and create new relationship opportunities with non-Christians.
Partnership with Asian Access
Hokkaido Church Multiplication Network, 2008-2011
Summer ministry with short-term teams, 2009-2010
Area Coordinator's Comments
When Asian Access first began discussing new missionaries arriving in 2011, I thought, “We definitely need to place someone at Sapporo Evangelical Free.” I’m thrilled God has clearly confirmed His leading that Stephen and Kathryn Borba serve there.
The Kajis are harvest-focused and have a uniquely strong commitment to church planting. I’ve been impressed that they never get hung up on problems or challenges but keep their focus on what God is doing and what they pray He will do.
Once I commented to Pastor Kaji, “It’s too bad so many of the university students you lead to Christ move away after graduation.” His reply reflected his kingdom focus: “It’s O.K. We make sure they get well-grounded in the Word before they go, and then we find each a good church in the new location.” In that conversation and others, I’ve seen Pastor Kaji’s clear commitment to God’s kingdom work, not solely to building up his own church.
I once heard Pastor Kaji share with other pastors, “We want our weekly prayer meetings not to simply take members through the scheduled things: worshiping, reading the Bible, praying. We want our members to truly experience God’s presence.”
I look forward to seeing the Lord allows Stephen and Kathryn to experience His presence in new ways through ministry in Sapporo, and how He uses them to help many more people become followers of Christ in this country where more than 99% of the people remain unreached.
Tim and Wakako Clark,
Asian Access Area Coordinators, Hokkaido
Pastor and Mrs. Kaji at the Sapporo Church with friends from the US.