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Location: Japan

Japan: Fun-Fun English ESL Facilitator

Opportunities

Fun-Fun English, a ministry that uses English children’s activities and art to connect with kids and moms, is looking for missionaries to partner with Japanese pastors and churches in reaching out to the local community. The purpose of this ministry is to provide an environment in which kids and families will be able to both enjoy English with a native speaker and begin building a relationship with the church.

Qualifications
  • Bachelor degree in English, TESOL, International Studies, Children’s Ministries, or Missiological Studies are highly desirable, but not required.
  • Training in TESOL/ESL
  • Experience working with kids and young children
  • Warm, friendly disposition and good people skills
  • Talent with arts and crafts
Language Requirement

Knowledge of Japanese is not required before coming, but a basic understanding would be helpful. Japanese language school will be provided within the budget. Long-term applicants especially will be expected to make measurable progress in Japanese language acquisition.

Length of Service
  • Mid-term: six to twenty-four months
  • Long-term: two or more years
Ministry Description

Learning English is a great way to make contact with people in Japan.

Christians are a very small minority of Japan’s population, and Christianity is seen as a foreign religion. Many churches struggle to find winsome ways to connect with and build meaningful relationships with the people in their community. Many Japanese have little idea of what goes on inside a church or if it is a scary place filled with religious fanatics. 

Fun-Fun English is a non-threatening way for a church to make a connection with the local community--a pre-evangelism ministry. In that way, most Fun-Fun English classes have little in overt Christian content. The focus is for non-Christians to feel safe entering the church and to begin building bridging relationships with church members. At many of the Fun-Fun English events, the majority of those attending are non-Christians.

More and more churches have been asking for Fun-Fun English events because the pastors have seen the effectiveness of this ministry in helping people set foot inside the church. Through bridging relationships, there have been multiple people who have started attending the overtly Christian church events, which is seen as a great success in a country where evangelical outreach is difficult and slow. 

Quick Facts
  • When you enter the home of a Japanese family, certain traditional restaurants, and even some churches, there is often a threshold area that is slightly lower and separated from the “clean” area by a step. This is called a genkan. The genkan is where you remove your shoes before stepping up and putting on house slippers. 
  • Bowing is an  important part of Japanese culture. Similar to shaking hands in America, bowing is a greeting; it is also used to express thanks, say goodbye, and other pleasantries. The depth of the bow and the amount of time one pauses at the lowest point in the bow expresses respect and one’s position in relation to the other person.
  • Shinto and Buddhism and Confucian thought have all strongly influenced the Japanese. Shinto is the indigenous, animistic Japanese religion, while Buddhism and Confucianism came to Japan later through China. If asked, many Japanese will claim more than one religion and make little distinction between worshipping at a Shinto shrine or a Buddhist temple.   While the cultural influences of these religions remain, many Japanese today are very secular in their day-to-day lives.

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