Stand Women's Ministry
Stand Women's Ministry

Tokyo, Japan Welcomes Minister of Music Sherri Garrison for the 2nd Time

Tokyo, Japan Welcomes Minister of Music Sherri Garrison for the 2nd Time

Music Minister Sherri Garrison“I had no idea that the Lord would lead me to direct and teach gospel music in Tokyo, Japan. Actually, I’m really amazed at what God has done in my life and I’m just waiting and watching for whatever else He has for me. I just want to be used of God and be obedient to this call that He has on my life.”

These were the words of Eastern Star’s Minister of Music, Sherri Garrison as I recently talked with her about her trip to Tokyo, Japan. As most of you know, Sherri Garrison is one of the most powerful and dynamic worship leaders that God has raised up in music ministry. She ushers the congregation into the presence of the Holy Spirit each Sunday at Eastern Star Church and when she is traveling and being used of God in another part of the country or the world she is truly missed. Sherri recently returned from a 5-day trip to Tokyo, Japan where she served as the Director and Workshop Leader of the Women’s Choir for the “STAND” Women’s Ministry.

When asked how the group in Japan found out about her, Sherri said, “Yoko Rucker is a Japanese lady that is married to an American who is a member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA). She and her husband bring Japanese women to America to participate in the GMWA and some of the women started singing in the Women of Worship Choir that I direct for the GMWA. When Yoko was led to hold a women’s conference in Japan focused on gospel music, she brought together a group of people to plan it and said that one of the first names that came up was mine, because of my work with the GMWA. I got a call from Yoko asking me if I would come to Japan to direct the Women’s Choir. I was stunned…blessed, honored and humbled by the invitation. And I of course accepted the call.”

My interview with Sherri was quite educational as I learned that 99% of the population of Japan is Buddhist, so the STAND!! In God’s Presence Women’s Conference that was held in May 2003, was the first conference of its kind focused on only Christian women. The May Conference celebrated about 75 women that came together to learn worship and praise songs of Zion under Minister Garrison’s direction and other invited guests. However, the conference in November opened the doors to women who were also non-Christian, but were fans/singers of gospel music. So there was an evangelistic theme to the conference in November, because there were those present and singing that said they didn’t believe in God, but that love the gospel music.

“The Japanese Christians use gospel music as a ministry tool. They have gospel choirs all over Japan and it’s geared to non-Christians as well as Christians. All of the women that I worked with when I was there for 8 days in May were actually saved, practicing Christians. Any songs that I taught them, they opened up the word of God and found scripture to make sure that they knew what they were singing, ”added Minister Garrison. “In November, my prayers, my lecture, my teaching and the resultant singing of God’s praises by the Women’s Choir was used of God to bring at least 3 women that participated in the gospel workshop to Christ that were not saved at the beginning of my visit.”

Believe it or not, of the approximately 60 women that participated in November, only 6-7 spoke good English, about 4-5 spoke very broken English and about 48 of them spoke no English at all. But God was able to use Minister Sherri to teach the choir 8 songs in English and provide instruction in English without needing an interpreter until she began to lecture. Yes, these women learned songs such as Oh, How My Soul Loves Jesus, Rejoice and Emmanuel from the Eastern Star Recording Choir’s CD, ‘Lord I Worship.’ Minister Sherri let me hear the CD of the concert from November 4th that she had just received in the mail from Japan and the songs sounded just like the Recording Choir was singing them, but with an accent. The band played the musical renditions, exactly like those heard on the original CD. It was amazing to hear.

Another amazing point was how God used Sherri to learn and sing a song in Japanese that truly blessed the people. Sherri shared, “I told them that if they could learn 8 songs in English, then surely I could learn one song in Japanese, even if it took me a little longer. I know that it was God when I sang that song, it blessed them so that they worshipped, clapped and cried and were in utter disbelief when I sang it. I think I amazed myself that day.”

Sherri was truly blessed by the commitment of these women who are saved that are constantly persecuted for their belief and following of Jesus Christ. Although Christianity is growing, there is truly a very small segment of the population in Japan that know and worship Christ. These women, saved and unsaved, practiced for 5 ? 6 hours per day without a complaint. “Every time I go to Japan, I come back stronger. They give Him so much praise; they open their mouths and sing…they truly worship! It’s refreshing to see them praise Him with everything that they have, but at the same time, it’s disappointing that we have the freedom to praise Him and we don’t do it. We act like we have nothing to praise Him for and we have all of the freedom to praise Him without the persecution that they face.”

Minister Garrison talked a lot about the impact of Yoko Rucker, the event organizer and Meg Awano, a Japanese worship leader and choir director, during our conversation. “Meg directs 4 or 5 gospel choirs in Japan. Her husband is over the band and they are awesome. She also directed the praise and worship team and they worshipped and praised God with everything they had. I hope that one day we will be able to take our choir to Japan. It would be a true blessing.”

The Lord has enlarged Minister Sherri Garrison’s territory in her ministry. Her closing comments were the epitome of her humble spirit in the Lord, “There are people around this country that I know could do way more than me, could minister way better than me, but God chose me. For some reason God has chosen me and I don’t know why, but since He has called, I must go. I will continue to operate in His will in my life and I thank Him for allowing me to travel all over the world to minister to His children.”