The Origin of The Mustard Seed Chapel
The Mustard Seed Chapel is not just a place for Christians. Rather, it is a place for those who are not yet believers of Jesus Christ to be able to gather and learn about Him with a peace of mind. What I firmly believe in my life is that Jesus did not come to the world for only those who believe in Him but for all humankind. He died on the cross, was risen, and was victorious through eternal life.
１Timothy 1:15 (NIV)
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserved full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst.
Palestinian mustard seed trees can grow up to a height of 3-4m. It looks like a bird’s nest on a branch. In the Bible, olives, grapes, and fig trees are blessing trees, figuratively describing Israel as a witness to God on earth. So what does a mustard seed tree represent? Jesus said, "Heaven is like a mustard seed."
By the way, where do you think heaven exists? I don't think heaven is here or there, but I think heaven exists in the moment we are alive. The mystery of heaven is hidden. Live now with the utmost gratitude. Although a mustard seed may be small in size, they live a life full of joy and gratitude. God’s life resides in a small seed and allows it to grow into a large tree.
Just as the disciples said, "Dear Jesus, help us grow in our faith." I also want the same. Jesus said that if I have a small handful of faith like mustard seeds, my prayers would be answered. It's a small faith like a mustard seed, but the Lord answers.
Faith can be lost in an instant. For example, at the last supper before Jesus was crucified, Peter who has followed Him for a long time said to Jesus, "Lord, I am ready to join you in prison or die. I will give you my life. " However, when confronted by people if he knew Jesus, he denied three times by saying, "I don't know who he is!" Human faith is very fragile. The strength of a person’s faith cannot be determined by the length of time. Faith is not something that naturally grows stronger over the years. No matter how small our faith is and may seem insignificant, our weak faith is okay.
You wonder why I can say that? This is because the decision factor of salvation is not the size of our own faith but the strength of God's salvation in response to our faith. Even if our own faith is a small like a mustard seed, it doesn't matter at all.
The thing that must be remembered is to have faith in everyday life, What does that mean? It means put your trust in God. It is to believe that God will respond to those who rely on him. Do you have any worries or wishes that you would like to share today? At this time, please pray to God. Rather than relying on your own strengths and abilities, trust in God and He will do what’s best for you.
As the trust between you and God grow day by day, you will soon understand what faith is. The small seeds will eventually grow into big trees. Under the big trees, you and many others will be able to take refuge. The mustard seed chapel aims (hopes) to grow your faith daily while we receive the warmth of Jesus’ hands.
The History of Mustard Seed Chapel
I would like to share with you the history of Mustard Seed Chapel. First, my husband Michio and I started this church eleven years ago when we moved to the Kinan area of Wakayama Prefecture. At that time we were working as medical doctors in Kozagawa Town. So we had worship services by ourselves on Sundays at our house, and also participated in the worship service at my home church in Kinan once a month. I could not afford the time to care for members like the usual church pastor, but I hoped to start our church after retiring from my job.
However, two years later, I was diagnosed with a serious medical condition, Pulmonary Hypertension. (Please refer to my testimony about this story on the chapel website.) I was confined to bed for almost two years. Michio had to cook low-salt food for me every day. Plus, he cared for me full time because I was sixty years old and not eligible for Long-Term Care Insurance services at that time.
I could not even stand by myself. Our neighbors never saw me during those two years. God was with us, though, and I started recovering little by little until I could walk around our garden by myself.
Three years later, I was able to practice Tai chi once a week in Kushimoto, and last year I received a black belt in the sport. Next year I plan to take a test to qualify as an associate instructor in Tai chi.
Four years ago, for the first time in our lives, we built our own house in Kushimoto. We started our own chapel there, too, and began church activities. (Please refer to our activities on our website.)
I have also been teaching English conversation classes for kids and women for almost four years. My purpose is to have the opportunity to teach them about Jesus and the Gospel using a flannel Bible story set, which I received from an American missionary couple, Rev. Mark and Athlee Bowman in Hokkaido.
The Bowmans served churches and communities in Japan for thirty years, and have recently moved to Alaska. While they were ministering in Sapporo, they invited us to give a lecture on dementia and our testimony at their cafe church (the Bible Community Church at Café COEN). It was our first dementia seminar in Japan.
Since then, we have had a great time giving seminars on dementia at 20 different places:16 overseas, 4 in churches in Japan, and three in our local communities. We had planned to give two more seminars at large churches in 2020 but we had to postpone it because of Covid-19.
Mustard Seed Chapel currently has no members, but it is an open gate to our community and to the world. It is an independent church, without any group or organizational affiliation.
If you wish to participate in our activities, we don’t require membership or offerings. You also don’t need to transfer from your current church. Please feel free to join our activities and programs, and to visit our home page from time to time. My hope is that we may all enjoy growing together with our Lord Jesus!
This is Chapel Car with Gospel ”John 3:16"