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Planting New Urban Churches in Southwest Greater Tokyo
Both Kevin and Kaori grew up in Christian homes and accepted Jesus at a young age. But Kevin’s home was in the suburbs of Chicago, while Kaori’s was in the mountains of Yamagata, Japan. The two met in 1990 during Kevin’s short- term missions work at Zao Baptist Church in northern Japan. They married in the States in 1993 and have one son, Justen.
The Lavermans were appointed by WorldVenture for career service in 1997, raised support and moved from Chicago to Japan in 1999. After Kevin completed language studies in 2001, the family moved to the Kawasaki area to begin a new church work. The Lavermans began with four believers and held meetings out of their home. This tiny group prayed to impact their area with gospel, and over time God worked through them. Many have come to faith in Christ and been baptized.
Currently, Denen Grace Chapel meets in a private hall on Sundays and numbers around 40. Small group Bible studies are held in member homes during weekdays. Outreach events and evangelistic Bible studies are offered to non-Christians. In 2019, the church built a multi-purpose facility in Mizonokuchi: a residence for a future Japanese pastor, and a first-floor space dedicated to neighborhood outreach.
In 2020, the Lavermans moved to Musashi Kosugi (Kawasaki, Japan), to plant a new church in this growing area of 120,000 without an evangelical church witness. The Lavermans also lead “The Cross Project,” an urban initiative to simultaneously plant new churches in Kawasaki and Yokohama, with Denen Grace Chapel as its central hub. Together, this joint team of missionary and national workers, are moving toward the vision of expanding God’s kingdom in southwest Greater Tokyo.