From 2013, our family was lead to go to visit each and every unreached cities/towns/villages in Hokkaido. Since then, each year we would take about a week to visit those unreached area in Hokkaido and to pray and intercede for the unreached.
Unreached area of Hokkaido (77 cities/towns/villages out of 179)
Unreached Hokkaido 77/179
It was about 2015 when we actually visited all of the unreahced area including the remote unreached islands, that God began to connect people with us for the unreached in Hokkaido.
One of those connections began to join in prayer and intercession, we felt that we need to make profiles of the unreached cities/towns/villages in Hokkaido, so that they can effectively pray and intercede with us.
Hokkaido is subdivided into 14 subprefectures since it is the biggest place out of 47 prefectures of Japan.
4 sections of Hokkaido
Here is a report from Judy Foo from Singapore who was a part of Eastern Hokkaido area in August 2016 who summed up what we prayed for each unreached area. You can use this prayer focus to remember in your prayers:
REPORT OF PRAYER TRIP TO THE NORTH-EAST REGION OF HOKKAIDO (6-10 AUGUST 2016)
This is the third prayer trip to the north-east region of Hokkaido. Our purpose is to pray that the unreached towns and villages in this area will have Christian witness and presence. Unreached being defined as without a body of believers meeting regularly for worship and intentionally witnessing in the community.
The team comprised of four persons: Abraham, Ayumi, Samuel Lee joined by Judy Foo, an intern from YWAM Singapore. We traveled by the camper van, departed from and ended in Urahoro. We stayed overnight in the campsite in Rausu (6 Aug), Ayumi’s mother’s home in Bihoro (7 & 9 Aug) and in the carpark of the onsen hotel in Nishiokoppe (8 Aug).
The towns and villages visited were: Tsuruimura, Teshikaga, Shibetsu, Rausu, Kiyosato, Kishimizu, Ozora, Yubetsu, Takinoue, Nishiokoppe, Oumu and Tsubetsu. We stopped at each town’s michi-no-eki (rest stop) where we prayed and also supported them by purchasing local produce. We also spoke to the staff working at some of the rest stops to find out more information about the towns.
This is the final prayer trip of the summer season of 2016.
Overview of Prayer Trip
- The populations of these towns and villages range from 1,200 to 9,500. All are experiencing decline in population and are working hard at drawing people back.
The primary economy of these towns are agriculture, dairy farming, fishery and forestry. Also, industries which are derived from the former; eg. sake factory from the barley harvested and lumber from the forests.
- Tourism is also a secondary economy, especially where the Shiretoko Nature Reserve is. Every town tries to develop its own distinctive to draw tourists; eg. Yubetsu – tulip town, Tsutbetsu – wood products, Nishiokoppe – “dream of flowers”.
- In some of these towns, there is also a history of interaction with the Ainu people, the indigenous people of the land. They were mostly accounts of unjust treatment against them. However, there is also record of how the Ainu people helped the early settlers from mainland Japan adjust to the harsher winter conditions in Hokkaido.
- Quite a number of these towns and villages had Christian presence and ministry in the past. Churches and missionaries were actively reaching out; eg. children camps, etc. Unfortunately, for various reasons, these have stopped. Our prayers are for the old wells be dug open again; that those who have heard the gospel will remember again and seek after Him, missionaries will come again, and believers in these places will share the gospel with their neighbours.
- Much of our prayers were for Christian witness in these towns and villages. Another focus is for business as missions to come to these places. People, especially young people, who would have preferred to remain, are leaving for the bigger cities with more job opportunities. Besides sharing the good news, our prayer is that missionaries with business ideas would come to these towns and help in community building and revitalize the economy.
Report prepared by:
1 Sep 2016