YOKOHAMA, JAPAN Hiroshi and Maki Tanaka were like many other couples. In public they looked warm and loving but at home it was a different story. They hardly ever talked. When they did, they argued. And when they started arguing, they couldn't stop.
In 2012 they began visiting Glory Church in Yokohama. Very quickly Pastor Koyama realized the church couldn't lead this couple to Christ without addressing their marriage crisis. So he started running The Marriage Course from Alpha International. The Tanakas experienced God's transformation of their marriage and believed. Their 12- and 14- year-old sons were so impressed with the changes that they, too, became Christians.
The whole family was baptized together on August 25, 2013.
But the church found it difficult to run the course with the few resources available in Japanese. Pastor Koyama knew that for this ministry to have a far-reaching impact the course’s DVDs from England would have to be translated. He saw the potential and longed to see many reached, including young couples with no previous relationship to Christianity.
Asian Access responded to the need and joined Alpha Japan to finance the DVD translation. Now, with production in the final stages, Relationship Central of Alpha Japan, led by Tim and Wakako Clark, is preparing to take 100 pastors throughout the nation through this seven-session course. These pastors will experience God's deep work in their own marriages and be trained to run the course in their churches. The result will be new courses springing up all over Japan and:
- Many non-Christians being drawn into the Church,
- Christian couples experiencing new depth, and,
- At last! Churches becoming equipped to reach the large number of non-Christians married to Christians – many of whom have grown resistant to standard evangelistic programs.
But to launch this movement through Vision 100, $18,000 is needed to gather, train and support the leaders who will run the program for pastors. It is crucial these initial courses are run well since future courses – with the potential to reach many non-Christians – will flow from these. $6,000 has already been donated. $12,000 is still needed.
The Marriage Course is reaching couples in more than 65 countries throughout Asia and the world. Unlike lecture-based programs it has a strong emphasis on discussion, which leads to significant change as couples discuss both enjoyable and difficult topics.
Each couple has its own table, creating space for meaningful and private discussion.
After a meal, they enjoy interesting talks interspersed with exercises designed for
greater understanding and intimacy.
Japan is going through rapid, unprecedented change. Young couples long to develop family life in a way very different from what they’ve seen modeled. They long for
- Growing intimacy in marriage
- Greater involvement of fathers in childrearing
- New ways of blending family and career responsibilities.
They want something different but do not know how to achieve it. The result is a huge, often strife-filled gap. But this gap reflects something of God’s creation, that He created people for genuine relationships.
The Church of Japan must be equipped to respond to this need. Join Asian Access in leading churches into new ministry to families by supporting the ministry of our staff, Tim and Wakako Clark, as they lead this movement to help the Church of Japan impact society in a new way.
Tim and Wakako Clark (right) with Nicky and Sila Lee, creators of the course.
Tim and Wakako Clark have been with Asian Access since 1990. They live in Tokyo with their two sons. To join them in equipping Japanese churches for ministry to families, go to http://www.sim.org/giveusa and click on “Support a missionary.” Their staff number is 39491.
- Read Tim and Wakako Clark's staff profile here...
- For more information about The Marriage Course see www.relationshipcentral.org.