We've broadcast TV program "Harvest Time" for the past 24 years with the prayer and financial support of our viewers in Japan and U.S. until we ended it in March 2010. The following is the letter sent out to our supporters to let them know the reasons behind the decision to cease the broadcasting.
March 1, 2010
To all our Japan and U.S. supporters,
Hallelujah! I'm so thankful for your support for Harvest Time over the years.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:..." (NIV, Ecclesiastes 3:1).
As I write this, the verse above comes to mind. Through the understanding and support of all of you, we've been able to air the Harvest Time TV program continuously from April 1986 to the present. Now the Lord is leading us to make a big change in the direction of our ministry. Specifically, we'll be ending our TV broadcasts at the end of March and, using different means, begin a work that we pray will contribute to the beginning of a revival movement in Japan.
I'm so very thankful that over the course of the last 24 years, our broadcasts have helped provide leadership and support for the kindling of revival fires. The final broadcast at the end of this month will, in fact, be program #1249 -- quite an amazing number! It's all due to God's grace, of course, and I can only give thanks. And, it has been made possible because of the help and cooperation that all of you have given to us over the years. I'm so truly thankful! Our reasons for ending the broadcasts, for the most part, boil down to the following three:
As most of you know, all analog broadcasts in Japan will come to an end on July 24th of next year and all TV stations will move to high definition digital broadcasting. After that, the method and equipment for producing television programs will change significantly. The equipment we've currently been using will become obsolete and we'd have to acquire a completely new system if we wanted to keep broadcasting. That, of course, would require a significant expenditure on our part (at a minimum, somewhere between $400,000 and half a million dollars worth of equipment).
With a multiplicity of currently accessible TV channels and the spread of Internet and cell phone use, the ways that Japanese people obtain information continue to multiply. Put simply, television as an information medium continues to lose value in comparison to its former position of importance. From the perspective of the effective use of financial resources, one can't help but think of how alternative methods could be used successfully for evangelism.
This is really the most important reason for our change of direction. A few years ago, I began to feel an urge to start something that would have a direct involvement with a revival movement in Japan while I still had the energy to do so. My first move to put this idea into action was to begin the Harvest Forum Tokyo work. We started in September of 2007 by meeting every week on Sundays and Mondays in Tokyo's Ebisu area to share expository messages from the Bible. Then, in April of 2008, we started the "Seisho Juku" course with the purpose of providing discipleship training for all who desired it. We've gone forward since then with the motto, "Revival in Japan begins with Bible study."
From this point on, Harvest Time will be focusing on this revival movement, and also on building a sense of anticipation for our Lord's Second Coming in believers, both here in Japan and in the U.S. Specifically, we'll be zeroing in on 1) revival in Japan2) the salvation of the Jewish people and 3) the Second Coming of Christ. These won't be separate themes, but will be interconnected as an outgrowth of a Bible-centered approach. Our desire is to bring this to reality through prayer and action. The initial event we've planned to kick-off this effort is our "First Annual Assembly in Anticipation of the Lord's Return" to be held in Tokyo, Okinawa and Osaka.
At the same time we're ending our TV broadcasts, we're moving full speed ahead with a new work. As I look back on it all, nothing but grateful memories remain. And, as I look forward to this new work, I feel a great peace in my heart. As we move toward the final broadcast at the end of this month, I ask for the same support that you have so abundantly given us up to now. But even more than that, I ask for your support and prayers from this point forward, as fellow laborers who are anticipating together our Lord Jesus' glorious return.
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (NIV, Isaiah 43:19).
With a thankful heart,