A Light in Japan from the 1950s
In the early 1950s, a group from Madison College traveled to Japan to begin a medical ministry training work at Mount Akagi. In 1978, three families accepted the call from Eden Valley in Colorado to continue this work in central Japan. English schools operated by U.S. and Canadian student missionaries in nearby communities supported the work. For some time an academy in Okinawa also functioned as part of the project. The bakery these families began is still going, reaching nearby cities with unique products such as sprouted wheat burger buns, walnut raisin bread, black sesame crackers, and a variety of other baked goods.
However, the gospel work in this rich secular country began to dwindle until all that was left of the ministry was the humble bakery. Though still a small light as bread was delivered in town, some longed to see Mount Akakgi deliver the bread of life to more of the people of Japan. In the late 2000s, a Japanese family moved to Mount Akagi and began the hard work of reviving the mission of the ministry. Then in 2010, two energetic couples with experience and training from Wildwood and Uchee Pines joined the Mount Akagi Institute team, bringing new life and ideas to this mountainside ministry. Working with LIGHT and drawing from their own experience, they worked to reinstate the training program and lifestyle center to expand the spread of the gospel throughout Japan.
In 2014, three more people were added to the team, bringing with them a great desire to also see the gospel reach Japan through the use of electronic media. Using social media, websites, videos, and email newsletters the team is reaching the people of this modern generation for the restoration of body, mind, and spirit.
Until 2016, a former student ran a Country Life store in Takasaki and continued to work with Mount Akagi, recommending the lifestyle center to her customers and setting up in-store counseling with a Mount Akagi lifestyle counselor. The new ministry team is actively building up good connections with the community, preparing for the outreach programs that students will be involved in. The core focus of the ministry is sharing the gospel throughout Japan, and though they face struggles, the Lord continues to sustain Mount Akagi and use it to accomplish His service.
2017 was met with a staff of 3 full-time workers and 2 part-time workers. Over the course of the previous year and a half many workers left for various personal reasons. Due to the bakery being the only source of income the remaining workers focused their energies on the bakery.
Location, Location, Location!
Mount Akagi Institute is a natural medical missionary institute situated on the mountain side of Mt. Akagi just outside of Maebashi City in the Gunma Prefecture of Japan. As a missionary steps out of a house, the Lifestyle Center, the church, or toward the end of the driveway, and looks south, he cannot help but remember what his mission there is as he gazes on the vast Kanto Plain below populated with many cities. On a clear day one can see Tokyo and Mt. Fuji, about 100 km (62 miles) from the institute. With clean mountain air, milder summers, and mountainous nature all around, it is an ideal place for people to become well in mind, body, and spirit.
Mount Akagi Institute owns 4 acres of land, on which there are 4 residence houses, a lifestyle center, a church, and a bakery. The institute is a supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, therefore the church on campus is Seventh-day Adventist. Until a few years ago, attendees included staff from campus, a few from the community, and any guests who came. Recently, the church has has become a study group that has merged with a study group in Maebashi City and now worships together in town.
The bakery is active and currently working at capacity. Bread is not the only thing made and sold from the bakery, crackers, cookies, brownies, and granola are also in the catalog. Stores in town order and sell the items.
A vegetable garden is planted every year with hopes that the deer will not eat everything, and firewood is gathered for the coming winter. This is one of the needs of the lifestyle center — it would be time-saving and more evenly heated throughout the building if electric heating were installed.