2017 Sokabe Fellowship Mission

Left:  Sokabe Fellowship Mission members and the Imabari Church congregation

"Konnichiwa!”  Those words of greeting welcomed 15 members of the Sokabe Fellowship Mission Trip on their journey to Japan in November 2017. This was the third trip made by the group as they traced the early days of Reverend Shiro Sokabe, founder of Hilo Coast UCC, who was known as the Samurai Missionary. 

After arriving in Fukuoka, the group was welcomed by members of Kego Church, the home church of Reverend Sokabe’s mother, a convert to Christianity.     

After a stop at the Hiroshima Peace Park to place 1,000 cranes at the memorial to Sadako Sasaki, the group traveled to Imabari Church on the Inland Sea, where Sokabe was baptized.              

The next stop was Kyoto and a meeting with Martha Mensendiek, a missionary with Global Ministries who teaches Social Work at Doshisha University, the largest Christian university in Japan. It was at Doshisha that Sokabe received his seminary training.

The final visit was to Midono Church in Fujioka City, a rural area north of Tokyo.

At each location, the mission group was invited to share worship, fellowship, and a meal with the host church. Gifts were exchanged and the congregations were presented with Hawaiian print stoles made by Hilo Coast UCC members.

It was a truly memorable journey as the group traced Reverend Sokabe’s native roots.

The Mission group with members of Midono Church. The Mission Group included Gary Hoff and Pastor Linda Petrucelli; Tom and Carole Geballe; Fern Yamane, Fumiko Kaneshiro, Eleanor Pernell; Gary and Nani Rothfus; Clyde and Sarah Shiraki; Sue White; Kiki Rycraft, Amy Aoyagi, tour guide; Akiko Hoshino, relative of Reverend Sokabe; and Tomoko Harada, English language guide.