We are excited to announce the launch of Friends with the Voiceless International, our newest DNA global affiliate! You can view their new website here. At this time, the site is viewable only in Japanese.
Dr. Eisuke Kanda at the 2007 DNA Forum
Led by Dr. Eisuke Kanda, Shun Jinnai, and Midori Yanagisawa, Friends with the Voiceless Int’l brings a message of hope to churches in Japan and around the world.
According to Dr. Kanda, “The concept of the Kingdom of God is not well understood by churches in Japan. To help the church grasp this message of hope, we use the analogy of transforming a desert into a forest.”
“We teach an abbreviated Vision Conference that typically is hosted over a weekend, with two sessions on Saturday, two sessions on Sunday, plus a sermon,” said co-leader Shun Jinnai. “We always begin by asking participants to identify those things that presently make Japan a ‘desert’ and what the church can do to transform the desert into a forest.”
In Japan, a sense of hopelessness abounds. In the past 12 years, there have been more than 30,000 confirmed suicides. The number of Japanese youth who describe themselves as “very lonely” is 29 percent, the highest rate in the developed world. Eleven percent say, “I should never have been born.” Japan’s birthrate has dropped to 1.2, one of the lowest rates in the developed world.
Into this context of hopelessness, Friends with the Voiceless Int’l is boldly proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and the necessity of the church to practice a lifestyle of love–identifying the needs of one’s neighbors and taking practical steps to respond.
After Shun attended a Vision Conference in Japan four years ago, he was challenged by DNA co-founder Bob Moffitt to do a seed project. Shun said his first project was very, very simple. He started by picking up one piece of trash at a train station he frequented.
This first step of obedience led to others. He came back to the station later and cleaned up all the trash. As he did, the Lord spoke to his heart. He began to look into the faces of his fellow commuters, and it was as if God were saying, “there is trash inside of people that I want to clean up.”
This led to a bold step of obedience. How to clean up the trash in people’s hearts? He set up a small booth on the train station platform with a sign that read, “If you need someone to talk to, we will listen.” Surprisingly, many people stopped at the booth and began to pour out their hurts and pain. Shun simply listened and prayed. This went on for more than two years, and in that time, several people responded to an invitation to give their lives to Christ.
According to Shun, “Now that station is very clean.” Now there are similar “listening booths” in train stations in eight Japanese cities. One of these was featured on a national television broadcast.
Shun stresses that none of this would have happened unless he had taken one simple step of obedience–picking up that first piece of trash.
Midori Yanagisawa Training Event in Ghana
Today, Friends with the Voiceless Int’l challenges Christians and non-Christians alike to put love into practice and take simple steps of obedience. By the power and grace of God, that is how deserts turn into forests.
Friends with the Voiceless Int’l is registered as an independent organization. This represents a significant step of faith for founder Eisuke Kanda. A graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, he served as a National Director of Japan Campus Crusade for Christ for ten years before joining JIFH. Eisuke became the general secretary of Japan International Food for the Hungry (JIFH) in 1984. While with JIFH, Dr. Kanda began teaching DNA messages in Japan under the name, “Kingdom Consortium.”
Co-worker Midori Yanagisawa also served for many years with JIFH including extensive service in Bangladesh, and other countries. She recently attended a training workshop in Ghana, West Africa, hosted by Chris Ampadu, West Africa coordinator of Samaritan Strategy Africa.
Please pray for Dr. Kanda, Shun and Midori as they take this exciting step of faith!