Church Planter (Hispanic People) - Tokyo, Japan
Luis has been serving the Lord in Japan since 2004. He is a native of Lima, Peru. He met his wife Nicola in Japan, and they were married in 2005. They are primarily laboring among the large Latin American community in Tokyo.
Testimony of Conversion
I grew up in Lima in the 1980s, the time of a civil war in Peru. It was a chaotic time when doing school homework with candles was normal life due to terrorism and weekly blackouts.
At the same time, there was chaos and destruction in my family. My parents' marriage was broken and agonizing. My younger brother, sister, and I had lost hope that our parent's long separations would not end in divorce. At the same time, we were involved in the Catholic church, and our parents never failed to take us to bow down and pray to Mary and the Catholic statues.
Late one night I saw my mother awake and waiting angrily next to the window because my father was not yet at home. Suddenly my father came, and I knew another long night fight was coming; it was time to pretend I was sleeping. But surprisingly, there was no fighting but strange music at 3:00 am in the living room. It was my father playing Christian songs. He was sharing with my mother that after meeting Christian friends, he surrendered his life to God. He asked her forgiveness and told her that God was going to change everything. It was true, my father changed, but my family started to disrespect him and even more when he tried to share the Gospel with us. Later on, God saved my mother. It was strange for me to see that every morning when I opened their bedroom door to say goodbye, they were not fighting like before but on their knees praying to God. My family started going to church on Sundays. I didn't want to go as I was a Catholic and I told my father always that I was ashamed of his faith; but my family stopped cooking lunch (the main meal in Peru) on Sundays, and the only option for me was to join them at church because afterward, all our family went to a nice restaurant.
After some years attending church, I believed all that was preached. I made my Sunday mornings at church a ritual, and I started to share the same Gospel I heard with others. I was deceived and thought I was a Christian. After some years, God in His grace and mercy came to the most inner parts of my soul and helped me to see the difference between the habit of going to church and salvation with regeneration. At this time I started to have a passion for serving Him, and my prayer to God was about what He wanted me to do with my youth. One day I saw a park through the window of my room, and there were many men, women, and children walking and talking. I remember a significant burden and sadness distinctly in my heart because I believed that all those people without Jesus were going to end in hell. I was 19, but I started going to the park every evening and preaching the Gospel to all the people I could talk to, including Mormons and atheists. One day I was robbed with a gun by a thief in that park, but I didn't stop sharing the Gospel.
I became a publicist graphic designer, but parallel to my work, I had two ministries. The first one was a Christian band because I had many songs that I wrote for God. We did concerts all over Peru and also outside the country. We preached the Gospel in every presentation. The second ministry was short term missions. We went many times to the jungle in Peru, to the north, south, and Chile, too. My father helped Pastor Paul Washer in the process of buying a building for our church in Lima, so I got exposed to the need for planting and building churches. Also, I helped build churches and wells for communities in the jungles in Peru. I started praying about doing a long term mission and one day God confirmed to me that I should go to Japan. I had the support from my pastors and family, so I sold my truck, gave the money to my mother and arrived at Narita airport in October 2003, with some clothes, prayers of my church and family, and $60 in my pocket.
I left a good job, my apartment, family, and friends for a strange country. My first years here I had to get healed without medicine, was hungry many times, vulnerable to many things, humbled by many situations, tears but with the hope and excitement of learning the language and searching for opportunities to preach the Gospel. I lived miraculously by offerings and donations from people that I met because my church couldn't support me financially. God blessed me so much. I learned many things about my needs, and God made my faith stronger. God blessed me with a British wife, Nicola, in 2004, and He supported and blessed our efforts to see people saved in Japan. We started working as missionaries for a Japanese American church, and God led us to begin reaching the Spanish speaking people who would come here to work in factories seeking to leave behind a life of poverty in South America.
When Nicola was five months pregnant with our first son and dependent financially for a visa on the church where we were serving, God led us to confront the pastor to leave the church due to a false gospel. It was a hard time, but God made a miracle, and we started to receive support from other sources, and a Baptist church allowed us to use their building for our small congregation. I became a pastor because all the people I shared the Gospel with and baptized were growing in number and needed someone who could speak their language and lead them in the worship of God as a church. That was the beginning of our church, Vida Nueva. We started with four members and two babies, but today we have six Peruvian families, two American families, and two Japanese people as members of a trilingual church.
God had blessed me in times when food was not enough, and I didn't have anywhere to live with a wife and three precious sons (Rohan, Lorien, and Erendir). He's also blessed me, as well, with the privilege of reaching, preaching, planting, and serving Him in a trilingual church that meets in a borrowed building. I think we are just starting, baptizing, discipling and praying to God, asking and hoping that someday Vida Nueva will be a more stable light in this spiritually chaotic country and that God will provide us the people, building, and resources we need to be able to train and send more missionaries.
Please pray so God will help us individually and as a church to honor His name with passion, sacrifice, joy, and that more people will be saved because He deserves the worship of every person in Japan.