- the beginning of organized evangelical Japanese Christian movement in Canada.
"With the outbreak of the war in the Pacific in late 1941, the hitherto peaceful and industrious Japanese settlement of the Lower Mainland area of BC was thrown into sudden turmoil. Confiscation of property and possession and the upheaval of whole families to be relocated in interior "ghost towns" and camps understandably resulted in confusion and bewilderment. But God is the Master-Designer, and He is never at a loss to make something beautiful out of what might look like a disaster. And so it came about that the trauma of the evacuation became the birth-pangs of what would later be called the Canadian Japanese Mission ...". So writes Mary Holdcroft in the preface of the CJM Historical Sketch 1942-1978.
Margaret Ridgway, at the youthful age of 27 years, felt a strong call of God upon her as all of her Japanese friends and many of her Sunday School children were suddenly uprooted and sent to the remote mountainous interior of the province. Driven by her love for the Japanese, she boarded a bus and eventually reaching the village of Kaslo where she made her first "home" amongst the destitute evacuees. It wasn't long before she gathered children for Happy Hour Bible clubs, youth for various activies and women for crafts and Bible study times. Her experiences, as she shared the love of God are well documented in the afore mentioned CJM Historical Sketch. Margaret's personal testimony and some of her amazing experiences can be found in Profile of the Founder
By 1946, her ministry had expanded throughout interior BC and Alberta. In the fall of that year, the Canadian Japanese Mission was organized as many turned to the Lord and Japanese churches were established in strategic centres across the land. As time progressed and assimilation into the Canadian society was taking place, other dynamics were drawing the Japanese Christians into existing Canadian churches. It gradually became evident that a change in focus needed to be addressed..
In the fall of 1979, at a gathering of Japanese Christians from across Canada in Calgary, AB, the Japanese Canadian Evangelical Christian Society (JCECS) was born. Its mandate, unlike the former CJM, was to provide support and assistance to the fledgling Japanese independent churches when requested. Over the years, various requests such as organizing cross-country itineraries for evangelists and missionaries, purchase of Japanese Bible from Japan, support of Bible camps and conferences were helpful and meaningful ministries. Over the next 22 years, the JCECS assisted the churches but did not focus on active vision of it's own.
In the year 2002, following several years of discussion and the revisiting of our purposes, it was agreed that while we must maintain our supportive role to the churches we must also move with determination, vision and active cooperation with the local Japanese churches. Along with a renewed purpose, a name change was also agreed upon, thus the Canadian Japanese Ministries was adopted - allowing us to revert back to our original and familiar acronym "CJM".
Pray with us as we work today in full cooperation with local Japanese evangelical churches across Canada to reach out to our kinfolk-in-the-flesh with the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ.