VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/20/14)—Dr. Shigemi Tomita of Yokohama, Japan, has been appointed by American Baptist International Ministries (IM) to serve as an associate missionary in Japan. This unusual assignment has come about through a unique partnership between IM and Kanto Gakuin Schools in Japan.
After completing theological studies in Canada, Tomita returned to her home country of Japan. There, she is teaching Bible classes for Kanto Gakuin Elementary School students and their parents, as well as assisting with conversational English classes at Kanto Gakuin Mutsuura Elementary School. Tomita also serves in the chapel services, is an advisor for a volunteer club of the university and represents IM on Kanto Gakuin’s Board of Directors and Board of Counselors.
“This appointment has clearly been God’s doing!” says Stan Murray, area director for Southeast Asia and Japan. “To find a person fluent in Japanese who understands the culture and was able to hit the ground running has served to meet a great need at Kanto Gakuin!”
Tomita holds a dual citizenship in Japan and Canada. Her home church is the Vancouver Myanmar Baptist Fellowship in Vancouver, British Columbia. She holds a Ph.D. in Christian Theology (2012) from McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario.
When asked why she feels called to this ministry, Tomita responds, “I feel called because God saved me in Japan, an unreached country, and equipped me with the theological education that might help students come to know Christ.”
When the early American Baptist missionaries founded Yokohama Baptist Theological Seminary back in 1884 — initially just five students on top of a hill overlooking Yokohama harbor — they could not have imagined what they were starting. Over the last 129 years, with IM mission personnel playing an important role most of that time, Kanto Gukuin has blossomed into a full-fledged school system. Its educational programs now stretch from k through PhD, with 7 colleges, 13 departments, 11 other courses and about 12,500 students. The current president states, “Above all, we hope our students will strive to contribute to the well-being of society and its people.”
Associate missionaries are employed by a partnering agency or organization, in this case Kanto Gakuin University, and are appointed to work in association with IM in addition to their employing organization. This type of joint appointment enables IM to support the mobilization of greater numbers of American Baptist and ecumenical personnel into God’s work throughout the world.
Please join IM in celebrating this new endorsement and praying for Dr. Tomita as she invites others to join her in ministry. You may send words of encouragement and communicate directly with Dr. Tomita at Shigemi.Tomita@InternationalMinistries.org.
American Baptist International Ministries is celebrating 200 years of ministry in 2014. Organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America, it began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationship with God, and change their worlds through the power of the Spirit. It works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.