Japan (MNN) — Summer is camping season for many countries around the world. And it's no different in Japan, says Ron Hardy, SEND International's Director of Student Mobilization.
That's why SEND International is sending five college students to Japan to counsel and help with the summer camping season.
"Camping in Japan is huge," says Hardy. He says mostly non-believers come to their camp, and they come for various reasons. "Some of them will go because there [are] American students there from overseas. They'll go to meet the Americans and to learn English. Some people go because the ocean is there and they know they'll get to go to the ocean every day. They'll just put up with the Christianity."
According to Hardy, camping is very effective outreach in Japan. "We've seen hundreds of Japanese high school kids come to know Christ at camp. Many students today in Japan are curious. But the majority of them are coming from Buddhist and Shinto religious homes."
Camp in Japan isn't horseback riding, baseball, and swimming in swimming pools. It's about relationships. Non-believers go to camp to build friendships and establish community. Hardy says, "If they don't have community, many students will commit suicide. So they're looking for community, and camping is a great place to find that community they're looking for."
Hardy says camp is an evangelism tool for Christian students in the Hi/b-a [High School Born Againers] youth program, a SEND partner. "Christian high school kids bring their friends to camp with the purpose of seeing them put their trust in Christ. At night after the meeting's over, they don't just run out and play games. They immediately go to their non-Christian friends and begin to share Christ."
Pray that the hearts of these students will be ready to hear the Gospel and that the Holy Spirit would do a work in their hearts.