Marty Woods, along with his wife, Jenny, are working with 14 teams from countries participating in the world rugby league. They do so to connect Japanese people to churches through community festivals.
Australian couple Marty and Jenny Woods partnered with Fusion. This is an international youth and community organization that started in Australia 60 years ago and spread to 17 countries.
Fusion was invited by the Japan International Sports Association to Japan to help churches use this year’s tournament and next summer’s Olympics.
Until now, people often thought that sports kept Japanese people away from the church, because matches were held on Saturdays and Sundays. But the World Cup craze has opened the door of the Gospel in schools and communities in unprecedented ways.
The two teams from Fiji have had the strongest influence since the tournament’s inauguration. They share their beliefs in schools, universities, and rugby fans with irresistible testimonies for many Japanese people.
Especially, it is very attractive to young men. Takashi Funatogawa, pastor in Sapporo, organized rugby training with two college teams. He was surprised when the Japanese coach allowed them to read the Bible and pray after the game. Anh they are realized that this was part of Fiji culture.
At Kamaishi, the Fiji team held a rugby training in the fan zone as people prepared to watch the matches on the screen. In Sapporo, the Church organized rugby training with the Fiji people.
There are three different groups of people involved. Two days later, on Sunday, eight people went to the church, who had never been before
Seventy percent of Japanese people participate in sports. Interest in the World Rugby League is huge. Viewers are watching TV broadcasts. Forty percent of the country views Japan beating Samoa. But on weekends, they need to choose sports or church.