コミュニティグループ・ライフストーリー / Community Group Life Story


Hello, this is Aaron. I’ve posted on this blog once or twice in the past. This Sunday at Grace City’s worship service I shared a Life Story (testimony) about my experiences in my Community Group, and today I’m sharing the same content here on the blog. The English version is below, so please scroll down!










I have been attending Grace City for about 2 years, and I’ve been part of a Community Group for about the same amount of time. When I was asked to speak about Community Groups, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I ought to say. I think they were hoping I would talk about how I’ve changed as a result of CG, but to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve really changed that much. However, I realized that even if I haven’t been changed, I have been supported.

When I moved to Japan the year before last, I was a bit worried about whether I would be able to find friends. In 2009, when I first came to Japan, I was an exchange student, so I had the opportunity to stay with a host family and join clubs at school. But this time I simply came to work, so I didn’t have those kinds of opportunities to make friends. Also, in New York, where I lived before coming to Tokyo, even though I went to church and joined a small group there, I never really found anyone I was able to become close with. So I was a bit uneasy.

When I first started coming to Grace City, I didn’t think my Japanese was quite good enough to be able to participate in a small group, so the first group I joined was an English-speaking one. That group gave me a warm welcome, and I’m still thankful for it, but what really stands out in my mind is when I joined my current Community Group. That group is Japanese-speaking, and I was invited by one of the leaders who is a friendly bilingual Australian.

I tried to explain to him that I wasn’t sure my Japanese was up to the task, but he wouldn’t hear it. “You’re fine, mate! I’ve heard you speak! You’re not going to have any problem! Come give it a try!” I could tell that he truly wanted me in his group, and I appreciated it very much.

At first it really was tough, language-wise. But when I didn’t understand, the group members would repeat or rephrase things for me, and when I spoke, they very patiently heard me out. Our group is pretty social; the members often get together for meals or to hang out outside of the weekly meetings, and from the beginning, they invited me to these events as well.

But CG is not just a gathering of nice people. We don’t just accept people because we like them; we accept them because Jesus has accepted us, and we want to show them the same love. One aspect of this that I particularly appreciate is that, because we have mutual trust as brothers and sisters in Christ, I can open up and share about my problems and struggles in life.

I feel the same way that the apostle Paul felt about the Philippians: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5)

I want the other members of the group to see Christ’s love and faithfulness through me as well, so I try to make a point of going every week, listening to everyone, and praying for them. Also, I firmly believe that there’s no point in community if you can’t enjoy it, so I like to host game nights and other get togethers at my place from time to time. I’m also planning to start leading a community group in the near future.

For people like me who have been Christians for a long time, I think it’s easy to take this kind of community for granted, but the truth is that it’s a rare thing in this world. So I thank God that I was able to find it in Tokyo.



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