RZIM Welcomes its first OCCA Fellow from Japan
Posted by on November 12, 2018
In October 2018, the RZIM global speaking team added its first member from Japan. Yutaro Kato comes from a family of many pastors and ministers, in his hometown of Fukuoka. He experienced the love of God and had a simple faith as a child, but describes how asking tough questions sparked his deeper spiritual growth.
“I was volunteering as a youth worker while I attended university and one day the teenagers asked some difficult questions regarding the Bible and Christianity. None of us could answer them, and I felt like the foundation of my faith had been shaken. I began to think it didn’t even matter if Christianity was true or not; all you have to do is to pretend like it’s true and everyone will be happy. It was at that point I came across a talk by Michael Ramsden on “Is Christianity a matter of convenience?” online. I was shocked by how he presented the gospel with compelling evidence and robust conviction, and it did not take long before I began to follow the work of RZIM.”
Through the content he found online, Yutaro was inspired to reach others with the gospel, just as overseas missionaries had once reached his country. Ultimately, it was Jesus Christ himself who sacrificed everything to make reconciliation with God available to all people – and Yutaro was passionate to follow His example. After attending and graduating from the OCCA 1-year program in summer 2018, he was asked to join the Fellows program. He is currently stationed in Singapore to train and minister closely with the RZIM Asia team. During this time, he will speak on apologetics and the gospel at many churches, universities, and in business settings. “There are of course countless cups of coffee with fellow Christians to make the events possible, and have meaningful follow-up,” adds Yutaro.
When asked about his work in Singapore, Yutaro commented on its exciting mix of Eastern and Western cultures, and also its warm and wonderful people. About the Singaporean church in particular, he reflected on his previous experiences: “I encountered Singaporean Christians who came to Japan to volunteer when we were suffering from the enormous earthquakes a few years ago. I pray that God will increase the workers for His Kingdom in Singapore, who will be faithful and bold to serve Him in every aspect of life, equipped with apologetics and the wisdom of God.”
In addition to his excitement to serve in Singapore, Yutaro’s passion for evangelism has him thinking deeply about the needs of his home country, Japan.
“In Japanese culture, the number one rule is to avoid bothering others and to act like everyone else. Asking questions could mean that you are questioning authority, which makes it quite difficult for the Japanese people to express their honest concerns. It would even be risking alienation from the community if you act differently from others. However, Christians are called to be different, and that is the only way to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”
Recent years have brought abundant challenges to Japan, in the forms of natural disasters, political corruption, and economic decline. Though current attitudes tend towards resignation, disillusionment, and hopelessness, Yutaro is unwavering in his confidence for the gospel of Christ to shine through even the darkest of circumstances. He quoted a friend’s prayer, for the “land of the rising sun” to be transformed into “the land of the Risen Son.”
Yutaro Kato is RZIM’s first OCCA Fellow from Japan. He is currently based in Singapore.