Future of Van der Watt’s ministry – 15 November 2012

15 November 2012

The Mission Cooperation Committee – Shikoku Presbytery

Takamatsu Church

Tokushima Church


Dear Brothers and Sisters


Mission Japan wants to thank our brothers and sisters in Japan for their kind hospitality and for supporting our missionaries. We thank the Lord for the wonderful way in which our partnership is functioning, based on joint decision-making, mutual respect and -trust and a shared calling to serve the Kingdom of God through our churches. Once again the deliberations on the future ministry of the Van der Watt Family have been a testimony to these healthy principles on which our partnership is based. 

It was a privilege to meet with Takamatsu and Tokushima Congregations. It was indeed a humbling experience to realise that both congregations are willing to make big sacrifices in order to support our missionaries. Both congregations are equally prepared to work with the Van der Watt Family and create space for the particular contribution they could make as missionaries. Both congregations offered wonderful support in terms of accommodation, financial contributions and guidance through the respective church councils. Stephan sensei would have worked equally well with both ministers. Our decision on Stephan and Carina’s future ministry was thus definitely not based on one congregation being valued “better” than the other.  

After much deliberation and prayer we eventually proposed to the Mission Cooperation Committee to consider the following factors:

1)      Mission Japan is of the opinion (and we firmly hope) that Stephan sensei could in future make a significant contribution in terms of theological training. The fact that they will have to move to Kobe within the next few years has already been mentioned as a very real possibility. If they may in any case move again within a few years, all the trouble and costs to move to a new city therefore seem not worth the while. 

2)      In order to make a significant contribution in the RCJ, Stephan and Carina’s language study is of utmost importance. If they now move to another city, it will take some time and energy to adapt to and settle in the new situation. That will inevitably bring a delay in the current momentum of their language studies. We feel that it is important that they now give priority to language study.

3)      Stephan and Carina’s children are now of such an age that a move to another city will require huge emotional adaptation. The trauma of moving to another place is normally not easy for little children, but in foreign, cultural contexts it is even more difficult.

4)      During the deliberations on the future ministry of the Van der Watt Family we realised how important it is to come to greater clarity on realistic expectations regarding what they should do within a specific local congregation and what they could contribute to the broader Presbytery. We think that the “experiment” around Happy Kids within Tokushima, for example, could eventually also being implemented in other congregations as well. Similarly, knowledge and skills locally obtained in the practical ministry regarding a family orientated approach, could also serve the other congregations in the Presbytery. It is thus about a balance between practical involvement in a local congregation and being of service to more congregations in the Presbytery. In this regard we thought that it will be important to still strengthen some foundations they only started to lay in their current context.

Mission Japan therefore proposed that the Mission Cooperation Committee of the Shikoku Presbytery consider allowing Stephan sensei and his family to remain in the ministry of Tokushima. And we would like to express our gratitude towards Tokushima Congregation for supporting them in this ministry, also with the aim of the broader ministry in the Presbytery.

May God bless you all

Gideon van der Watt

(Secretary Mission Japan)                   

Comments (4)

[…] RCJ Tokushima se beroep aanvaar, en daarom nie sal skuif nie. Hieroor is ons baie bly en dankbaar. Lees gerus hier (hoe Gideon beskryf) wat die redes is […]

Daan en Sandra BotrhaDecember 6th, 2012 at 5:18 AM

Ons dink dit was ‘n wyse besluit. Nert moontlik onder die leiding van die Heilge Gees. Baie sterkte.
Geseënde Kersfees,
Daan en Sandra

VrydagNuus 7 Desember 2012 | NGK WelgemoedDecember 6th, 2012 at 12:32 PM

[…] amptelik geneem dat ons RCJ Tokushima se beroep aanvaar, en daarom nie sal skuif nie. Lees gerus by http://www.missiejapan.co.za/algemeen/future-of-van-der-watts-ministry-15-november-2012/ hoe Gideon beskryf wat die redes is […]

Titi TutuDecember 13th, 2012 at 8:55 AM

I believe the unanimous agreement to the decision taking into consideration all matters that are of vital importance, as mentioned, will bring more fruit that will last, as the Van der Watts continue to serve God in Tokushima ministry.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.