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Paul & Sarah van Den Dool

Paul & Sarah van Den Dool


If you ever travel to the north-east coast of Japan and pass through the small village of Taro, you might get yourself a map of the place at the local tourist information center. Right in the middle, you’ll find a picture of a funny little building called – in Japanese – Watermelon Cafe. Its place on the map indicates it has an established presence in Taro. The cafe grew out of the ministry of Renee Williams, who had been reaching out to the people in this village after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. When the community center that she used to hold meetings in closed down, God provided the cafe as a space to continue building relationships with the people she had gotten to know. Since 2023, Paul and Sarah van Den Dool have continued the work that she started.

The Watermelon Cafe is open 5 days a week. On these days we welcome both locals and tourists, offering lunch, hot and cold drinks, and cake sets. We also have a fantastic collection of watermelon goods that amaze many visitors. Besides regular opening hours, we have art workshops or concerts from time to time or we participate in local events.

Just as a watermelon can be one of the most refreshing treats one can get on a hot summer day, we wish for the Watermelon Cafe to be a refreshing place where people can slow down and have time for a good conversation. It is our prayer that in our day to day encounters at the cafe we may have opportunities to be of help to people and speak of the hope we have in Jesus. In an area where there are less than 0.1% Christians, many people do not have an opportunity to meet one regularly. We believe therefore, that having a meeting place like the Watermelon cafe is of vital importance. All the more so, because we see around us that the disaster of 2011 has had long lasting consequences, showing us the need for long term presence.

The cafe is currently not making a profit, and although we are working hard to make it profitable, we are not sure it ever will be. Ultimately, that is not the reason for which it was started. Your financial support makes it possible for us to keep welcoming people and showing them the love of Jesus. Thanks to your support, we can also hire one Christian Japanese staff, who is invaluable to us for this ministry.

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Paul and Sarah

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