Hi! My name is Shohei Ueki, a Director of Admissions and Academic Affairs at Christ Bible Institute in Nagoya. In 2007, God called me to start seminary education at Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya. For three years of seminary study, God blessed me with deep, and powerful words of God and His theology, and also blessed with wonderful community of fellow students, faculties, and many brothers and sisters in Christ. After the graduation of seminary, God called me to stay at Christ Bible Institute and serve him with seminary education, raising up the Christian leaders in next generation. Now, I’m very passionate with pursuing the young, white-hot worshippers for our savior all around Japan and Asian countries.
I was born and raised in Tokyo area as fourth generation Japanese-Christian. My great grand Mother was a Christian, and also she was a deacon in the church in northern island called Hokikaido, about 100 years ago.
Although I grew up in Christian environment, going to church every Sundays, and even know who God and Jesus are, I was not passionate his love and salvation. I was rather passionate for sports, such as swimming, soccer, and long distance running. Most of the time, I was in the competitive environment, very strict, surrounded by Non-Christians. At the same time, I was totally Non-Christian, from Monday to Saturday, acting like nonbeliever, thinking like nonbeliever. Moreover, I was fleeing from Christian environment and finding my space in my sports life, devoting my life in competition. However, God remembers me and He has been keeping my in His great covenant.
During freshman year, God called me to go to the Philippines for the short term mission trip. It was my first time to go abroad. In spite of my excitement of the first experience of foreign country, what I saw was totally unexpected and sad sceneries.
There are people who face difficulties to live daily life because of luck of job, money, and security. And, there are street children who has no parents nor home. Those children looked exactly same as normal kids, playing and laughing like normal kids. However, once the sun sets down, their life totally change being robberies, beggars, thinner addicted, even 5-6 years old girls being child prostitutes. It was too intense for Japanese young guy who grew up in peaceful environment. I cried and cried God for their salvation!!
During my prayers and in my cry, I realized and learned myself that I put my faith on God. Since the situation is something I cannot change, but I knew and prayed God can change. Then, I felt something my burden was taken out from my shoulders. I was Christian but this was the day that I “believed” His salvation only by my faith alone.
Praise the Lord, God uses many His servants and disciples for serving those who are needed and weak and struggled! I came back to Japan which is one of the most spiritually needed countries, and I realized that I am Japanese Christian and I must stand firm to be His witness for His global gospel. This is the time also I decided to devote myself to His ministry.
Also during college time, I met the most beautiful woman in the world named Sawako, who is second generation as Christian and started dating with her. We started to go to Korean Church in Tsukuba, called Tsukuba Kibou (Hope) church. With faithful discipleship by Korean missionary pastor, our faith has been nurtured and being prepared for His global ministry.
After graduation of the college, I became P.E. teacher at Christian school in Tokyo. And also I was involved as a leader of World Mission Committee in the local church called Oyumino Presbyterian Church. Since my experience in the Philippines, my focus has been in the world mission. At the same time, as a Japanese Christian I couldn’t forget reaching Japanese friends.
Japan is such a beautiful country, wonderful nature and unique ancient traditions. However, Japan is listed as the 2nd largest unreached people group in the world according to the Joshua Project. And, according to Church Info Services (2009), there is only 0.21% of all of Japan attends a Protestant Church of any kind (which is about 250,000 people). The majority of pastors in Japan are in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Also, Japan is home to 8 million “gods” for their fortune. Japan is estimated as third largest country as economy of the world. However, there are more than 32,000 people who commit suicide in Japan every year, one every 15 minutes. Japan is physically wealthy country, but spiritually impoverished. I believe the only one solution to change Japan is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God has given me a burden as a Japanese Christian to reach Japan, such a needy country with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was hoping studying in the seminary in US, But eventually God didn’t open it’s door, instead he lead me to study at Christ Bible Seminary in Japan. I had been praying why God called me to the seminary in Japan, even why I was born as fourth generation Japanese-Christian. I’ve come to realize that God is raising up the next generation of Japanese leaders to reach Japan with the gospel. I want to be obedient to His calling on my life to be his hands and feet here in Japan as a Japanese Christian.
Ministry: To Japan, From Japan
We thank God that He showed out path for staying in Nagoya and to start serving for the Christ Bible Institute (CBI) with Dr. Michael Oh after graduation. And now, I am one of the executive leadership team, leading especially Christ Bible Seminary as a director of Admissions and Academic Affairs.
CBI has 3 different major ministries: 1) Christ Bible Seminary, a graduate-level seminary, 2) Heart&Soul – a cafe ministry for local people, being safe space. Also Hear &Soul has quarterly worship event that gathers 150+ young people in downtown Nagoya, and 3) All Nations Fellowship (ANF), an English-Japanese worship service. We also hope to expand by adding a downtown ANF church planting ministry to the next generation of Japan and global world.
As I serve with CBI and ANF, there are couple things we would like you to consider joining in partnership with us for our future ministry.
First, would you consider becoming a regular prayer partner of our ministry in Nagoya? I believe that our ministry is driven by your prayer. Please pray for…
1) For our family. Relationship with God, and the relationship between Shohei and Sawako. As Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, we would like to love and serve one another. Most of all, we would like to glorify God through our relationship as a young couple.
2) For our kids. We believe it is extremely important to raise our children with God’s words and to glorify God in their whole lives, especially re-generate our faith to generation to generation.
3) For our ministry in Nagoya. CBI and ANF ministries are new ministry for the new generation. We are young but full of passion and hope, yet we need your prayer as partner for the ministry!
Second, would you consider becoming a financial partner of our ministry? My support budget has been set by CBI as 350,000 yen/month. ($3,500USD/month, $1 =100 yen) The Executive Leadership team of CBI and I have been working together to raise this amount. CBI does not generate any financial revenue, all the staff are missionaries who raise their support. So, we would like you to pray and consider for our financial support.
Thank you for your prayers and support. we also would love to keep in touch via email. Would you send us your email as well if you would like us to send you prayer updates? We eager to build Christ’s body here in Japan and this global world together!
Shohei and Sawako Ueki