Japan has been in the news around the world the past week as news about a growing COVID-19 threat continues to mount. Japan has the highest number of cases of the disease outside of China, if you include the Princess Cruise ship cases. In Japan, there are a mix of emotions for everyone. People are largely trying to follow the Japanese health ministry’s advice to avoid crowded trains and several companies have encouraged teleworking, but most folks are still trying to continue on with their normal lives. Some are less concerned and others are freaking out. The surgical masks that…

A Missional Meditation for those in Dark Places

There is perhaps no better image that captures the church’s missionary vocation than that of light shining in the darkness. Psalm 112 summarizes this beautifully, “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright…” (v. 4). When a disciple of Jesus moves into a dark place, the light of God follows them and necessarily has impact in the darkness. However, most believers who move into corners of their city or the world that are particularly dark feel more overwhelmed by the darkness than impactful. …

The Pals family went to be with the Lord July 31st, 2016. The end and the beginning.

Three years.

“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.” (C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle)

1,095 days.

Commanded and obedient,
They heard your Go, and they are gone.
Tell us, dear Captain, what this meant.
What shall we call this going?
Dawn (John Piper, “Dawn”)

1,095,000 years

[Do] not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)

Of ever-augmenting JOY.

…And for us this is the…

Why Japan is the Cleanest Place on Earth

The existence of trash is a universal phenomenon. Human beings create waste and that waste needs to be disposed of in some fashion. Some societies do this better than others. No one does it better than the Japanese.

One of the frequent ways that Japan makes headlines after international sporting events is not necessarily because of their performance on the field or court, but rather in the stadium seats. This past World Cup was no exception. The Japanese national team suffered a stomach-punch loss to Belgium, but their heart-broken fans stayed late after the game to clean up trash in…

Missional priorities in engaged but unreached areas


A gospel movement is what missionaries intrinsically desire to see in the places they serve. Whether their work focuses on church planting, evangelism, mercy ministry, etc. there is a fundamental longing for a movement to take place that changes a people with the gospel. We long to see personal renewal in the lives of individuals, corporate renewal in the church, and, to whatever degree possible, societal renewal in a region. A gospel movement is a movement of renewal.

A movement is something that brings about change in a place. A gospel movement is a movement of spiritual renewal where “sleepy…

Left to Right: CBI Founder, Michael Oh; Jamison’s Youngest Sister, Andrea Riederer; CBI Director, Brett Rayl; Jamison’s Brother In-law, Brad Riederer; Joy of Japan Center Coordinator, Gary Watanabe. Photos by Amanda Kolstedt.

Let us praise, and join the chorus
of the saints enthroned on high;
here they trusted him before us,
now their praises fill the sky:
“You have washed us with your blood;
You are worthy, Lamb of God!”
(John Newton, “Let us Love and Sing and Wonder”)

Where Are They Now?

One of the best parts of a “based on a true story” movie is the “where are they now” epilogue. After emotionally investing in the characters of a movie for a couple of hours, it is exciting and intriguing to know what happened next. It allows us to see the future in the…

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.(Psalm 68:5)

Every Father’s Day, somewhere, some well-meaning preacher makes a passing reference to the promise of Psalm 68:5 in a way that may do more harm than good. To the fatherless it may sound like an empty quip— “Don’t worry about the absence, you have God as your Father.” But God wasn’t sitting in the stands with their mom during the game or at the recital. God wasn’t paying the bills so mom wouldn’t have to work three jobs. …

Missions and the Church

“Why don’t we just start a new denomination?”

I asked this question ambitiously and naievely in my first year as a missionary. I was in a meeting with several leaders (missionaries and local leaders), and the challenges of working with a local denomination were being discussed. The challenges sounded like they would slow down the important mission we had come to pursue. Some of them seemed insurmountable for growing the church. We believed in church planting, why not denomination planting? Didn’t Peter Wagner and the Church Growth Movement teach us, “It is easier to have babies than raise the dead!”…

Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work — the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside — the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once. There is another sort of blow that comes from within — that you don’t feel until it’s too late to do anything about it, until you realize with finality that in some regard you will never be as good a man…

Yuki Kawauchi recently enjoyed a surprise win at the Boston Marathon. He became the first Japanese man to win in Boston since Toshihiko Seko in 1987, the same year Kawauchi was born. He was not expected to win and part of his success was likely due to his resilience amidst difficult weather conditions. In an interview after he won in shocking fashion he said:

“I feel fate [unmei] because I was born in the same year that the previous victor Seko san won.”

In the moment of his greatest personal triumph amidst the most difficult of circumstances, Kawauchi looked…

Brett Rayl

Executive Director and Team Leader for CBI Japan. cbijapan.org This is my personal account.

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