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The Chicago Japanese Mission Church Makes a Church Dedication Ceremony

• Since its ground-breaking ceremony in March, 2010, Rev. Yugo Kobari and his church members worked hard to finish a new building for the Chicago Japanese Mission Church (CJMC). Their efforts finally completed the church building, and Church Dedication Ceremony was held on September 14. It is the first church building in North America built by Japanese hands from scratch.
• Rev. Kobari said, “About 60 % of the building was built by volunteers, and I would like to convey God’s words to Japanese speaking people through this church.”

• Former businessman Kobari decided to become a reverend after he overcame an incident. After graduating from a theological school, he loaded living necessities in his car and came to Chicago with his wife Keiko in 1996. After settling in a Chicago suburb, he opened CJMC in the building of the Baptist Church of Schaumburg. Rev. Andrew Kim of the church kindly shared the space with him.
• Rev. Kobari wanted a space where Japanese speaking people got together and bought a site at 24 E. Seegers Rd., Arlington Heights, IL. At that time, nobody believed that he could build a church building. Although it took four and half years, he cleared the problems and completed it.

• At the ceremony, Rev. Yoshito Anno, Chicago Japanese Pastor’s Association, offered the opening prayer.
• Former Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder, who attended the ground-breaking ceremony, congratulated Rev. Kobari and said that he poured his power, faith, and efforts into building the church, and she could imagine how much he worked to overcome hardship and challenges. She mentioned that he repeatedly visited her mayor’s office more than he should, and warmly laughed.
• Former Mayor Mulder also talked about politeness of Japanese students in Futabakai School, economic contribution of Mitsuwa Marketplace, and the presence of Nippon Sharyo’s headquarters in Arlington Heights.
• Rev. Kobari thanked Mayor Mulder for listening to him and giving him courage.

• When Kobari decided to become a reverend, he returned to Japan to tell his parents about his decision, and his father disowned him. His father, however, forgave him 10 years later and was baptized by his son. A day before his father departed, he said to Kobari, “You never say ‘I can’t do it.’” Rev. Kobari said, “My father hadn’t read the Bible, and I wondered why he knew about God’s words that say, ‘You can do anything with God.’ During the building construction, I thought, ‘I’ll quit doing it,’ many times. Every time I thought about it, I was encouraged by my father’s words.”

• The full story is available in Chicago Shimpo’s October 10th issue.