Jastram (Japan) Update – April 2022

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“Alleluia. Christ Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Alleluia.”
(Liturgical Verse for Easter Day, 2 Timothy 1:10b.)

From Death to Resurrection

Holy Week and Easter rivet our attention on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His crucifixion and death save us from the eternal condemnation of our sins by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christians have sorrow and great joy in the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Buddhist cemetery in Musashino, Tokyo.

These truths about death and resurrection struck home even more deeply this past month at the death and funeral rites for the 96 year-old mother of a Japanese Lutheran pastor friend. The mother had lived in the traditional customs and beliefs of Japan according to its Shinto and Buddhist culture. But during her time at the nursing home she had heard the words of Scripture regularly read during visits by her son, the Lutheran pastor. Yet she had never indicated faith in these words nor ever received baptism. The larger family determined the Buddhist funeral for her; but the Lutheran pastor friend was able to gain permission for a small Christian prayer service at the funeral home on behalf of his immediate Christian family members.

Later, in the context of the Buddhist funeral, one of the participants asked the Lutheran pastor friend to explain the difference between the Buddhist funeral and the Christian funeral. The pastor explained, of course, that it’s the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection that makes the whole world of difference for our own death and resurrection!

Connecting with chaplains

Chaplains sometimes get overlooked regarding their significance as missionaries. But this month’s visits remind me of their joint work with me through the LCMS Office of International Mission. Chaplain Ochner, currently serving nearby at Camp Zama, previously served in Japan for seven years, first with the Volunteer Youth Ministry, then on a special church-planting project. We spent most of one day during a neighborhood stroll talking about mission work in Japan. 

Chaplain Neider, currently serving at the Sasebo naval base in Kyushu, recently visited Tokyo with his family. What a delight to coordinate a Sunday afternoon devotional service combined with a picnic lunch for his family of five and two other LCMS members living in the area.

The Neider family, Dan & Joan, Nick & Clara

Where two or more are gathered

Last month, we gave thanks for the new LCMS web page posting of LCMS worship opportunities in Japan. In the Tokyo area we have been meeting regularly twice a month since last September for Sunday afternoon services at a Yokohama site. Due to a change in circumstances there, our group is in transition to a potential new site even more conveniently located in central Tokyo. During this time of transition, we have been blessed in using the apartment space of one of our members. Moreover, we received a referral from a faithful Taiwanese Lutheran pastor regarding one of his English-speaking members who recently arrived in Tokyo for university study. The second Sunday she attended worship she brought along a non-Christian friend, a fellow Taiwanese university student who arrived about the same time at the same university. What a blessing to welcome them both to our English service and hear them add Mandarin Chinese to their fellowship with our other LCMS Mandarin-speaking member!

Enjoying tea and cookies after service.

SPECIAL Thanks to:

  • Our partners in mission, for your generous March support, and for the sustaining contributions of individuals, congregations, districts, and LWML groups that make this mission work possible.


Prayer and Praise

  • for the transition of our LCMS worship site at Yokohama to a new site towards the central part of Tokyo; 


  • for the two Taiwanese students attending LCMS Tokyo worship;


  • for the cultural and family challenges of Japanese Christians confronting Buddhist death and funeral rites, that their confession and conscience might remain clear and true;


  • for Japanese Lutheran pastors’ faithfulness to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions in the midst of their various challenges;  


  • for the start of new translation work on Walther’s Church and Ministry;


  • for  arrangements of a proofreader for completed translation work;


  • for God’s richest blessings upon Rev. Dan McMiller (Ex. Dir., Office of International Mission) in his service to the Church.

Thank you for your
prayers and support!

As a congregation, you can support us by adding us to your congregation’s mission budget as a Together in Mission partner. (Call 888-930-4438 for details.)

As individuals, gifts can also be given securely online:

 Tax-deductible gifts can also be mailed to:

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861

Make checks payable to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod or LCMS. Include “Jastram–Asia” in the memo line.

Connect with us

Rev. Dr. Daniel Jastram

Copyright © 2022 Dan and Joan Jastram Serving in Japan, All rights reserved.
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