Quelle: Kyodan Newsletter OOctober 22, 2008
Kyodan Women's Federation Hosts Japan-Germany "Youth Mission 2008" Event
Youth Mission 2008 with the Berlin-Brandenburg Evangelical Church, Germany and Japan Youth Exchange-was held in Japan, Aug. 12-22. The Steering Committee of the National Federation of Kyodan Women's Societies (NFKWS) planned and hosted the program. Pastor Ute Feuerstack headed the German delegation. The three-day retreat convened at Ashino-ko Camping Village in Hakone, Aug. 13-15., with14 German participants, including 9 youth, and 26 Japanese participants, including 12 young people. The theme of the retreat was "Faithfully Administering God's Grace (I Peter 4:10)." We discussed environmental issues, something many people throughout the world have become more concerned about today. Abe Rintaro and Hamda Makito, seminarians atTokyo Union Theological Seminary, led the event for the entire three days.
On the first day, Pastor Ute Feuerstack preached during the opening service for the retreat. Following the service, we introduced ourselves to one another and had tea together. Afterwards, Pastor Yatsuka Kiyoshi from Aki church led a Bible study, during which we read chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis and meditated on this text. The members from Germany cooked German food for dinner. After enjoying our meal, we had time for cultural exchange. Japanese participants introduced Japanese culture, Japanese songs with sign language, calligraphy, and origami (paper-folding), and explained the situation of the church in Japan. The visitors from Germany actively participated in this cultural exchange program and were especially interested in paper-folding.
On the second day, Abe Rintaro preached the sermon at the morning worship service. We separated into three groups?\prayer, worship, and skit?\and each group made preparations for the closing service on the third day. This time, Japanese members made somen, a traditional kind of noodle in Japan, for lunch. The group from Germany liked somen more than we expected. We had outdoor activities in the afternoon. After dinner, the German participants introduced German culture to us. They performed a skit of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and also presented a special "circus" for us. The Japanese participants were impressed by the German performers' entertainment skills. We also enjoyed games together.
On the final day, Nishinosono Michiko, pastor of Kambara Church, preached at the closing worship service. Each of the three groups formed on the second day played a special role in this service. The prayer group offered the invocation after the first hymn and led a special prayer after the sermon; the skit group performed a play based on Genesis and explained the significance of the creation story; and the worship group sang Taize hymns. Pastor Feuerstack closed the service with a blessing and expressed her gratitude to those who had worked on the exchange program this year and to those who had prayed for us. She also thanked the host families, the staff members, and all the participants. After the retreat, each of the German members stayed with a host family and had fellowship at the church, then participated in a study tour of Hiroshima and Kyoto together. Hopefully, they had an opportunity to think about the peace of God, especially while they were visiting Hiroshima.
Although the participants might have had various impressions, we have expanded the horizon of our own views through this exchange program. With the increasing globalization of our world recently, we share common problems, such as environmental issues, on a global scale. By participating in this program, we have come to realize that we have great possibilities for our common future, despite the problems mentioned above. It is our wish that hope and koinonia will be fostered by this program. We sincerely express our gratitude to God, who made this program possible; to those who worked on our behalf, to those who helped us through earnest prayers and generous offerings; and to Jesus Christ, who makes us respect our differences and unites us all into one Church.
Abe Rintaro and Hamada Makito, seminarians
Tokyo Union Theological Seminary