What is Michigan Bridge Builders?

How MBB came about (testimony) 

It was in late spring or early summer of 2011 when I came to know the staff of International Ministries of St. Matthew Lutheran Church. It was my first visit and I requested permission to place pamphlets of the concert information for the students of ESL classes. The concert was performed by Atsuko Kudo, a Japanese Mediterranean soprano who was also an evangelist. 

This made me aware of the fact that American Christians have served the Lord and Japanese community through ESL classes and other activities for years. Most of the American Christians are not speakers of Japanese language.

In June, 2012  Setsu Shimizu, current North America Director of Japanese Christian Fellowship Network (JCFN) and I were invited to the annual meeting of Japanese Ministry Association of Lutherans in Midwest held at St. Matthew Lutheran Church. We were so grateful knowing about local churches’ outreach for Japanese people, primarily for expatriate families from Japan. As for eastern Michigan, the expatriates who have come here to work in automobile related companies will usually return to the area of Nagoya and Toyota Cities in Japan.

This fact moved Setsu to contact Pastor Kashima who had attended Equipper Conference of JCFN in California years ago and is currently the pastor of Toyota Higashi Kirisuto Kyokai (Toyota East Christian Church) in Toyota City.  

in June, 2013 Michigan Network & Beyond was formed as a non-denominational network motivated by JMA. The start-up gathering for networking among churches and volunteers engaged in outreach for Japanese communities in Michigan and surrounding states. 

During this first Michigan Network in 2013 Setsu had suggested two future event ideas. The first one was to invite pastors and or church leaders to Michigan in order to meet with ministry leaders and local volunteers on the frontline of Japanese ministry including ESL classes. The second one was to plan Japan Mission Trip from Michigan to Japan including Nagoya and Toyota Cities.  At that moment no clear timeline was made.  However, in October, 2015 we were honored to have the visit of two pastors and a lay person from churches of Toyota City. 

As for Michigan Network, in 2015 we agreed to organize one day Reaching Japanese for Christ conference called “ Motor City Conference” in 2016, and on June 10 (Sat) we had Motor City Conference 2017.

On July 19, 2017 the first trip of Michigan Bridge Builders, 10 team members from St. Matthew Lutheran Church and Oak Pointe Church departed for the short term exploration, and they returned home on August 2 safely. 

Yosuke Mikami
Administration Manager of JCFN
Updated on September
 2, 2017