Japan (MNN) — The strains of the closing anthems have barely faded away in the Fischt Olympic Stadium (Sochi, Russia), and things are already getting busy in Tokyo, Japan.
Why? Tokyo plays host to the 32nd Olympiad in just six years.
They’re not the only ones with their sights set on 2020. Several years ago, the Lord gave Asian Access a specific vision. Takeshi Takazawa is the Japan Country Resource Coordinator for Asian Access. “God orchestrated almost for us, Japan, because we have Vision 2020 which we received from God to see 100 church planting networks, 1000 reproducing churches, one million believers, and 1,000 missionaries.”
A2/Japan has been praying and planning for the year 2020 long before the Olympic committee chose Tokyo as the site for the summer games.
With these goals in mind, the hope of Christ would be a powerful presence during the Tokyo 2020 games. The stage is set. Already, the global stage is aware of Tokyo’s approach to challenge. Once called the “graveyard of missionaries,” God brought softened hearts as well as the world’s attention to the country through the triple disaster of 2011.
Then in the fall of 2013, A2 pastor Keishi Ikeda felt the Lord giving him a new vision for Japan: a vision that would lead through the Tokyo Olympics of 2020 and the following Olympics in 2024. “God have him a troubling number: ten times ten years. Basically, God revealed to him the next ten years, 2014-2024, which is the one after the Tokyo Olympics. By that time, he [Keishi Ikeda] will reach out to ten times more Christians.”
It was a seemingly impossible task. Takazawa notes that Japan has been called the “graveyard of missionaries” more than once. “People do not respond positively to the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, this receptivity that we cannot control, God seems to be shaking us through many other means.”
God was asking for incredible results, but He did the same of Noah, Abraham, Moses, and the list goes on. All Ikeda was being asked to do was rebuild a nation. A future Church. At first he was reluctant to share this new vision God had put on his heart, but his heart began to burn, and so he’s started to share it.
He asked the Lord for clarity, and Takazawa says, “God have him a troubling number: ten times ten years. Basically, God revealed to him the next ten years, 2014-2024, which is the one after the Tokyo Olympics. By that time, he [Keishi Ikeda] will reach out to ten times more Christians.”
One more time: “It’s 1% Christian right now, so it will be 10% Christian in Japan. That’s the challenge that he received from God.” A2 is stepping up their response, too. They’re developing leaders and pastors, multiplying disciples, leaders and churches, and through the hope of Christ, transforming communities, one heart at a time. Aside from prayer, the biggest need is: people. “The God of the Harvest specifically asked us to pray for certain things. The Harvest is plentiful, but workers are few. Therefore, pray for the workers.”
It’s a big vision, but one A2 founder would say: “Impossible, Impossible, I love Impossible!” That type of big vision is only possible with the power of God. Takazawa says, “God’s promise is: ‘I will build My Church upon this rock, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.’ God’s Church needs to be established. That’s the means to evangelize Japan.”