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Welcome to the new Tree of Life Japan Messianic – Congregation & Ministries website!

Our congregation and ministry has grown so much over the last few years that our previous site treeoflifetokyo.com just could no longer keep up.

In this blog section of our website we will post our general updates which we also circulate each week by email (subscribe here).

We will also share posts from other ministries that we actively support including the Toward Jerusalem Council II movement and Chosen People Ministries.

For now, please explore the rest of our website and get to know us a bit better?

It is an honor to walk with you in your calling to serve the God of Israel as a disciple of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.

Yom HaSho’ah – Holocaust Remembrance Day

by Melissa Uchiyama

Today (28 April) marks Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

If this were Israel at 10 am (4 pm, Japan time), flags would be lowered at half-mast and people would stop and even stop their cars at the wail of sirens. 

In Japan, we have to dig a little more and remember with intention. It isn’t hard to find books and information, but we have to seek it out if we care. 

Yom HaShoah honors and mourns the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. It is for educating and telling stories of sorrow and heroism. 

The word, “shoah” means “catastrophe”, whereas “holocaust” means “a burnt sacrificial offering to a god.”

(Also, International Holocaust Rememberence Day is for the world, while today is centered around Jews and Israel more specifically). 

Many will light special memorial, Yahrzeit candles and recite the Mourner’s Kaddish. 

In my letter to you today about Yom Hashoah, I’m giving you many links–too many, you might feel. But it is for us to sit with–to cry over, and to grieve. 

There are not enough memoirs or essays or recordings to encapsulate the fact that 6 MILLION grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, teachers, cousins, babies, young children, were systematically tortured because the enemy wanted our people dead. They taught that we were a subhuman race. They called us “Juden-rat”. 

They experimented on young women and children. This is brutality. But hearing the words and seeing the images has always mattered. In the statement, “Never Again”, we must see the horror and also the hope. We must look on this people, my people, with eyes of love and understanding. 

For me, I read and watch videos of survivors. There are audio recordings, too, many catalogued through Yad Vashem and here, at The United States Holocaust Museum. I even have a cookbook created by malnourished, gaunt women while they were in Terezin, a Czechoslovakian concentration camp. 

I recommend books written by Gerda Weissman Klein, a Holocaust survivor who wrote about her life in enduring, profound ways. She was living in the same Arizona community as my grandmother until her passing. Ms. Klein died this month at age 97. 

You can read about her here, in The New York Times. Her memorial was even published in The Mainichi

I wrote about a particular survivor named Judith Kerr, and her semi-autobiographical novels here. In researching the piece, I learned a great deal about Holocaust Education and the lack of Holocaust Education in many places. 

Another book, Hana’s suitcase, is sold in various languages, including Japanese and English. The memoir/story is perfectly positioned for Japan. In fact, it was co-written by the director of Kokoro, Tokyo Holocause Education Resource Center. After receiving a mysterious suitcase from Asuschwitz in 1988, they began hosting Japanese students and even taking the suitcase to educate children and teens all over Japan. They are hosting a Yom Hashoah memorial on May 3rd, from 4-6 pm. You can register here in English for the bilingual event. 

It is my aim to voice the stories of survivors and the realities of the Shoah–these people are dying, of course. It is a race to care for them and speak with them about their life. Many survivors live in poverty.  In terms of helping survivors who are in need, there are ministries devoted to this in Israel and around the world. One organization is Kavod. There are other ministries and organizations specific to survivors living in Israel. 

There are also survivors who are now living a nightmare again in Ukraine. Here is a video about them. 

Pray about continuing ways that we, as a community, can help. 

I encourage you to take time to watch, read, or listen to historical and/or personal accounts. Cry and take your sadness to the God of Heaven and earth. 

Continue to be an ally for the Jewish People. Pray and intercede for fullness, healing, health, and salvation. 

Much love, 

Melissa

Hag Purim Sameach!

Today is Purim as depicted in the Book of Esther. Traditionally there are Four Mitzvot associated with celebrating Purim which include:

  1. Reading from the scroll of Esther (megillah)
  2. Giving gifts to friends and neighbors (mishloach manot)
  3. Eating a special meal (seudah)
  4. Giving support to those who need help (matanot l’evyonim)

In keeping #4, a few of our members go each year to Shinjuku on Purim where a Korean mission serving the homeless community provides a free hot breakfast and spiritual nourishment every Wednesday morning. This year, Isaac shared his testimony (as there were more younger men than years’ past the pastor requested Isaac instead of the usual Paul-sensei) to around 70 people total. We also donated fresh pairs of socks (per instructions from the pastor of the church/mission) and gave an offering to the ministry.

Please pray that the words of hope and ongoing act of kindness by this church will stir these people to cry out to the Lord… Every year we go we are so touched by the love of these Korean missionaries for the Japanese people.

What else do we do on Purim? Let’s not forget dressing up as our favorite Jewish hero (Esther, Mordechai, President Zelensky…). But WHY dress up? It is a tradition and some explanations include:

  1. The miracle of Purim is hidden within the story where G-D is never mentioned. It sounds like a natural, secular story but G-D is involved all throughout.
  2. Jews during the Babylonian captivity only “pretended” to serve other gods so on Purim we also pretend to be someone we are not.
  3. We dress differently on Purim so that the poor and needy do not feel embarrassed to receive and collect from those who are better off.
  4. To commemorate the dressing up of Mordechai in King Ahashuers’ royal garments in the story of Purim. 

Therefore, young and old are encouraged to dress up on Purim. Don’t be shy!

To this end, we will have a special celebration on Shabbat from 14:00 with the children sharing the story of Esther and Mordechai for us. We might also nibble on a few Hamentashen cookies as well…

19 March – Tzav (Leviticus 6:1(8) – 8:36)

  • 10:30 to 12:30 – Shabbat service
  • 14:00 to 16:30 – Purim Celebration

See you on Shabbat, in person or on Zoom.

Prophetic word about Ukraine-Russia conflict

Nearly a year ago on March 8, 2021 I had the most intense dreams of my life and it was about Ukraine. I submitted these dreams to messianic leaders in the Ukraine and also to other intercessors, including to some here in Japan (and of course to TOL’s local leadership).

First dream

I was in an underground industrial location with metal grates and pipes all around. The most vivid part of the dream, I was with some other people (I think they were people) and we were fleeing from a dark creature. We escaped to one room but then suddenly the beast/creature was there and had cornered me. The beast had the name “Ukraine” upon it (it wasn’t written on the beast but it was just known to me suddenly, the words “Ukraine”). The beast lunged at me and bit me on the left side of my neck. I woke up from wildly flinching in my dream and I continued to experience physical pain, like a searing burn, on my neck exactly where I was bitten in the dream. 

I have never experienced anything like it where I felt pain in a dream and woke up to still have that physical pain. I prayed and went back to sleep and had the second dream below. I later woke up with no pain on my neck. 

Second dream (on the same night):

I was now in what looked like an urban war zone where there had been some kind of attack on a European looking town. I was running around with a plastic bottle of water and rinsing out the mouths of people who had just vomited from being sick (and they were covered in filth head to toe). There were also what looked like flash-bang grenades or very bright flares burning here and there but they were burning hot blue and white under the surface of large rain puddles/ local bodies of water.

In the same setting, there was an older man (40s) and a younger woman (20s) that had some emotional connection. He had been very worried for her in the midst of the attack/disaster and was relieved to find her. The trauma of the event made the man say to the young woman that he wanted to always be by her side from now on to take care of her. She asked what that meant and looked like exactly, the implications of their relationship (they were not married). She wanted something definitive from him and not just be a girlfriend or casual relationship.

They got on bicycles and rode through a more residential looking area. The man was riding in front of the woman and at one point the woman turned into her neighborhood to return home where she lived with her mother. The man, realizing that the woman was no longer with him, turned around and pursued her and caught up to her just as she was getting off her bike in front of her house. The young woman invited the man in to meet her mother and they stepped inside the foyer connected to the living room but did not go all the way in. The mother was disapproving of the man and said some stern words of warning to the daughter so the man left the house and the woman stayed.

Possible interpretations 

Some of these interpretations may seem obvious to us now but a year ago it was not very clear other than the fact that it was about Ukraine.

I shared the dreams more recently with a gifted intercessor at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. He replied with the following regarding the first dream:

In Daniel 7… nations are beasts. Only the kingdom of God is the Rock … all nations, one overcoming another are all beasts; one after another…

This beast known as Ukraine is like a biblical beast in Daniel 7. Sometimes we look at international politics through the lens of good guys vs. bad guys, or aggressor vs. victims. In this case, Russia is obviously looking like the aggressor and a bad guy. Reasonable but heavenly eternal perspective transcend earthly geo-politics. It is through redemptive lenses. All nations that are not under Christ Lordship is beastly. Beasts are fighting beasts overcoming each other until the final anti-Christ beastly kingdom and then the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of God and His Christ. 

Out of every beastly kingdom, Christ redeemed Jews and Gentiles to form the ekklesia, the Royal priesthood and the Holy nation.

Therefore, you been bitten by a beast known as Ukraine is in line with biblical interpretation of a beast. Like the prince of Persia. You may have seen the beast of Ukraine. The church in Ukraine, Jews and Gentiles are separated out of this beast. We must separate nationalistic sentiment with Kingdom paradigm. We are praying for the church, the lost and the seed of Abraham while the beast of Ukraine and the beast of Russ is at work. Kiev, Ukraine is the spiritual, ethnic and cultural roots of the Russ (Slavic) people from over a thousand years ago. The beast is ancient…

The bite to the left side of my neck was targeted and an attempt to kill and decapitate. The head naturally represents leadership. I fear that the beast of Ukraine seeks to remove the current leadership of Ukraine from power. I don’t know if that’s the physical or spiritual leadership but if it is about President Zelensky, a descendant of Holocaust survivors and the only Jewish leader of a nation besides Israel, I would not be surprised.

I worry that the anniversary of the date of the dream, may prove to be significant for Ukraine and the leadership. It is believed to be the date (Adar II 15th) which Moses relinquished leadership of Israel… He died two days later atop Mt. Nebo while looking across to the Promised Land…

As for a possible interpretation of the second dream.

I have drawn some parallels with the characters and aspects of the dream.

Rinsing out the vomit from the mouths of those who have survived the war. A great deliverance and cleansing is coming to the people of Ukraine. They will not only be in need of physical water but of the waters of salvation. The Body of Messiah is called to act and be the ones bearing clean water to them. I deeply hope the vomiting has nothing to do with the potential for nuclear meltdown issues or bioweapons as is being rumored.

The large puddles of water with blue fire/light burning underneath the surface. This may be the local “bodies” of water, the churches and congregations in Ukraine (or more broadly in Europe) that may become displaced and disconnected from each other for a season. However they will burn more brightly and intensely than even before. The blue-ness of the fires reminded me of the Israeli flag. Perhaps there is a revival for the Jewish people of Ukraine in the works or many of the Jews who still lived in the Ukraine will make aliyah. This may also indicate another outpouring of the Spirit in Ukraine like what happened in the 90’s.

(Please keep our brothers and sisters in the Ukraine in prayer. Especially pray for Messianic Rabbi Boris Grisenko in Kiev and his 1500 member Messianic Congregation, the largest in the world. He is an International Leadership Council member of TJCII and a faithful servant).

The man in the second part of the second dream who is very worried for the woman – this might be the West/Europe/NATO. 

The young woman is Ukraine, she has mutual feelings for the man but their relationship has not been defined clearly. She, like Ukraine has sought legitimacy and validation of her relationship with West/Europe/NATO.

The mother is Russia (Mother Russia), who is very disapproving of the woman’s (Ukraine’s) relationship with the man (West/Europe/NATO).

The man (West/Europe/NATO) has good intentions but only makes it into the foyer, a temporary space between where the Mother is and the outside. The foyer may be the image of Ukraine’s position of being caught in between.

The conclusion here is that the Mother’s (Russia’s) influence and rebuke of the man (West/Europe/NATO) is the outcome. The woman does not leave and cleave to the man but remains a possession of her mother’s house.

Again, I say this with great trepidation and fear of the Lord. If these interpretations are an indication then Ukraine will ultimately cede to Russia’s will.

But even through this suffering, upheaval and destruction, the Lord is working in the midst of His Body on the ground in Ukraine/Europe. There will be a great spiritual cleansing and deliverance in Ukraine and the ekklesia must be prepared to bring the waters of salvation to the people.

The believers in Ukraine and throughout Europe will be ignited with an intense fire from the Holy Spirit. Many Jewish and Gentile people in Europe will come to know Messiah in the coming months through the loving-kindness and witness of the saints.

I hope this serves as an encouragement to you and inspired you in your intercession.

Let us put on kingdom eyes and do not get distracted by worldly reports as you pray. The intel can inform us but we must let the Ruach truly guide us in intercession.

Introduction to Tree of Life Center Komagome

Tree of Life Japan Ippan Shadan Houjin

Those of you who have been with us on Shabbat over the last few weeks have been hearing about the vision and steps into the next stage of growth for Tree of Life Japan Messianic Ministries. To this end, we are now officially incorporated as an Ippan Shadan Houjin (as of 4 Feb 2022) which is a legal organization registered with the local government. An Ippan Shadan Houjin allows us to do both nonprofit and for-profit work. This means we can receive donations and offerings as well as engage in business activities that may generate a profit without the limitations of an NPO.

Tree of Life Center in Komagome

10 steps away from JR Komagome (Yamanote Line) station East exit we will be renting the 2F and 3F of a new building. This is a site which the Lord had really pointed out to us back in October 2020 (longer story). It was formerly a front of station bakery on a shotengai but it went out of business due to the pandemic. The building was eventually torn down and the new structure was completed this past December and Rakuten Mobile moved into the first floor. Realizing that the 2F and 3F were seeking tenants, we made a call and long story short, after a few months of discussions and negotiations with the owner group, we have agreed to take the space from March 1. We truly sense the Lord’s favor through this whole process and we are now beginning the design stages for the interior. 

Tree of Life Center will in essence be a community center with a Messianic synagogue attached to it, a model that is common in many Jewish communities around the world. This “Life Center” will serve our local community that we have been blessed to be planted in the midst of. The focus will be everything we are already doing (congregation, messianic teaching, Jewish outreach, church unity etc.) as well as something new, local outreach, which will include some of the following aspects:

  • Language School
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Education & Learning
  • Music & Arts
  • Care & Counseling
  • Food Bank

See the attached diagram to understand how everything ties together. There are also some photos of the new space.

We absolutely seek your support both in prayer and Terumah (what your heart compels you to bring to the Lord as an offering). If you would like to be involved in one of the many projects that we will be launching soon, please get in touch with us. Certainly if you feel called to Give toward the building of Tree of Life Center we welcome your generosity and calling to walk with us as we build out the space and fund the ministries. The space is currently a skeleton so it will still be some months before we can have an opening ceremony but stay tuned!

Together we’re believing this is one of the bigger steps towards establishing an all out Messianic Center in Japan one day. The future Messianic Center will support all the Messianic ministries and work from around the world that are connecting into Japan and also be a resource and place of relationship for Church leaders in Japan.