Halfway There (3 weeks to go)

Hi everyone! Life in Toyko has been pretty crazy! The amount of people that are packed into this area never ceases to amaze us. One of the train stations we frequently stop at is Shinzuku station, the busiest in the world. Roughly 3.5 million people go through this station each day. During heavy traffic times, the crowds here are a lot like rivers or currents, with thousands of people all going one direction; there are several of these currents during the busy times, and you have to pick one to get into if you want to get anywhere.  Also, you’d better know where you want to go, because turning around and fighting against the flow is an awful choice (speaking from experience). The best way to turn around is to slip out of one current and step into one going the other way.

One evening, Meryl and I got into an extra-packed train heading home. We thought it was full, but we were very wrong. More and more people continued to press in through the train doors, and we became more and more packed against the people surrounding us. It was a little scary, actually. At one point Meryl said, “Uh… it’s getting kinda hard to breathe.”  I’m not sure how the doors shut, but they did, and several passengers were pressed against the glass. Then the train started to move, and the ride home was one I’m pretty sure will stick out clearly in our memories for the rest of our lives.  I didn’t feel like as much of a person as I did a tiny portion of a huge scoop of jello. As the train rounded each curve, we, the human jello blob, swayed with and against ourselves in perfect unison. To sum up what would be an arduous and sweaty story: we made it home and escaped out of the train, and I don’t think we’ll ever ride that train during that time of day again, if it can be avoided.

On a lighter note, we also took the time to check out Shibuya square, the busiest crosswalk in the world. During certain times of the day, somewhere from 2000 to 3000 people cross the street all at once, in several differnent directions; they call it: ‘The Scramble”, and rightly so. We purposely went there during the busy time to navigate across the square with thousands of other people. Never has crossing the street been so interesting.

Enough about crowds; here are some things about what the Lord is doing in the area:

Just recently, Meryl and I had the opportunity of going to help out at an outreach being held by Calvary Logos Tokyo. The church was offering a free concert to the neighborhood, featuring an up-and-coming Christian artist.  About 45 minutes before the start of the concert, some of the church members took Meryl and I out to the street corner with them to invite people to attend. We stayed outside until the last portion of the concert, which we got to sit in on. The church was packed with around 60 people or so.  Kiyomasa and Taeko (Calvary Logos’ pastor and his wife) told us that about half of the attendees were Christian fans of the musician, while the other half of the group consisted of unbelievers who live nearby the church. There were also a handful of other unbelievers that the musician’s Christian fans had invited.  It was great to see the turnout, and it will be interesting to see and hear in the coming months and years of the ways that God is reaching the community through this event.

On Sunday the 11th, we attended Calvary Chapel Fuchu’s morning service. We got lost on the way there, but when a local elderly woman and her granddaughter noticed us wandering around with confused looks on our faces, they broght us to the church. After the service, pastor Rich and his wife Candace told us about the ministry they are doing in their community. They run a Bible-based school for the local kids, as well as an ESL school.

Pastor Rich told us of how many of the believers who now attend Calvary Fuchu were saved as a result of the school ministry. For example, one of the children in the school had at one point asked for a Bible to take home, and was provided with a childrens’ Bible.  The mother of this child then began reading this little Bible to her and realized some of the truths therein. The mother went to the school and asked for something more in-depth. The school then provided her with a Bible for herself; she recieved Christ shortly after. Rich told us a few stories like this, where the people are being reached through their children. What an awesome thing!


This Sunday, we visited another Calvary church in the area: Calvary Kokubunji, also known as “Jesus Community”. There is a good mix of younger and older people who all fellowship together at this church alongside Pastor Chizuo and his wife, Mari. Chizuo met up with us earlier this week and told us about many of the things that the Lord is doing through the church and the people there. One of their ministries is a midweek young adult study; several unbelieving people have showed up to it and have started attending after discovering it on the internet. Another ministry that is on Chizuo’s heart to eventually start is a childrens’ home outreach. To prepare himself for this, he has been spending the past year volunteering to work each week with two young children who were taken out of difficult circumstances. He told us of how this has been a very fruitful, although often difficult, growing process for him and for the children he has been ministering to.

Pastor Chizuo also shared with us about the testimony of his grandfather, who used to be a very ardent Buddhist, but came to know Christ after having the gospel shared to him.  After deciding to follow Christ, One of the first things Chizuo’s grandfather did was to take all of his Buddhism-related things to the town’s river bridge. Once there, he publically tossed everything into the river; this made a clear statement of his life-change to the rest of the people in his town. He then became an evangelist, beginning by sharing the Gospel with his ardently Buddhist wife, who put her faith in Christ shortly after.


In the morning, Meryl and I are hopping onto a bullet train out of Tokyo. We’ll be gone for just over a week to visit churches up in some of the northern areas of Japan.
Thank you for all of your prayers and support! Please be praying that the Lord would be guiding us and speaking to us, and that all our trains and connections work out well.



In Him,


Cameron and Meryl




First Few Days

Hi everyone!

Today will be our 5th day here in Japan!

When we got off the plane, we delivered our bags to the airport’s baggage delivery service to take to our lodging. From there, we needed to hop on a few trains to get to the apartment. Stepping onto the first train platform, we realized that we would get to experience Tokyo’s evening commute time (when the trains get completely packed with people). At first, it wasn’t so crowded. As we boarded, a Japanese man reading a book came and stood by us. More people piled into the train car as it arrived at each subsequent stop; it soon became so crowded that several people were reading the man’s book, over his shoulder. We experienced this sardine-style travel on each of the trains until we got to our destination.

At one of the train stations, I (Cameron) reached for the phone in my pocket to take a look at which train we were supposed to take next. My hand reached into an empty pocket… the phone was gone! On that phone was all of our scheduling info for meeting churches, plus a lot of other important info for our trip. I double-checked my other pockets; yup, no phone. We retraced our steps back to the last ticket machine we had used. There was a counter next to it, manned by two workers. I asked them if a phone had been turned in, and, to our relief, it had been! In the midst of keeping track of our passports, backpacks, money, tickets, phones, sanity, and directions to our apartment, I had set down my phone at the ticket counter and had forgotten it there. Someone had found it and was kind enough to turn it in to the counter, where we picked it up. Thanking the Lord, we continued on and made it to our apartment.

The area we’re staying in is Machida, a suburb of Tokyo. Our apartment here is very small (about 100 square feet), but has everything we need, including a washer and a mini kitchen. It will serve as our main base as we travel out to meet various churches and fellowships.

After sleeping, we spent our first morning praying together and seeking the Lord. We then went to take a look at the surrounding area. We are surrounded by suburbs for miles and miles, with the exception of an occasional park. Throughout the city are innumerable reminders of the religions that Japan holds to; Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines seem to be in most parks, and even on some street corners. They are not merely decorative either; we saw dozens of people throughout the day worshiping at these sites.

On Wednesday, we attended a prayer service at Calvary Chapel Tokorozawa. This church is pastored by Travis Takamiya, who lives there with his family. The congregation meets in a little downstairs room in the middle of the suburbs. During the service, we prayed for the surrounding area, and for some specific needs of the people who attend church there.

On Thursday, Meryl and I both got a pretty bad cold. I walked to the nearest drug store and bought some medicine there. Meryl and I stayed home that day to recuperate. We are still sick today, but not nearly as bad.

Please pray that the Lord would continue to show us what He has for us here, as we seek Him each day, and that He would open doors for us to find the place he has for us in Japan.



Cameron and Meryl