“Peace Be With You,” the Japan District's quadrennial Nazarene Youth International Convention was held September 16 to 19 in Hiroshima, Japan. The event allowed attendees to reflect on the topic of peace from a biblical and historical perspective.
Organizers were expecting a maximum of 50 attendees, but the final group included 52 people from all over Japan, from Northernmost Hokkaido to the subtropical island of Okinawa.
Japan District NYI President Shouei Abe said Hiroshima is the perfect place for a discussion on peace as it was the first place in the world to experience an atomic bombing, an event that had its 71st anniversary in August.
During the convention, participants visited historical places, listened to sermons by guest speakers Ánderson Godoy and Janary Suyat de Godoy, attended workshops, and held discussion groups related to their observations and experiences.
Pastor Tomoaki Goto was introduced as the next district NYI president. Though the transition won’t be official until April, Goto Sensei will begin attending the regional NYI meetings in October. He expects to work closely with the local leaders and to strengthen relationships with other Nazarenes across the Asia-Pacific Region and around the world.
"This event was particularly important as the membership of the Church of the Nazarene in Japan is rapidly decreasing as a result of a pronounced generational gap and the failure to reach to a new generation," Ánderson Godoy said.
During the event, one by one, the different zone leaders reported on the scarcity of youth in the churches and the difficulty they are having in preaching the gospel to non-believers. The group as a whole prayed for God to give them creativity and vision to reach youth and children, even if this means modifying the structures of the past.
Attendees were also introduced to the three core strategies of NYI (BE: Evangelism, DO: Discipleship, and GO: Leadership Development). For many of them, it was the first time to hear and understand these strategies and they were challenged to make them a priority in the practice of their faith.