"Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations"
A Message from the Japan Evangelical Association
As we approach the one year memorial day of the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster on March 11th, we would like to express our greatest gratitude to the global Christian community for continuous prayer and tremendous support. The number of Christians in Japan is less than 1% of the total population, but with the help from the global Christian community, we have been able to serve those who are suffering and bring the love and hope of Christ to the devastated communities.
As of February 10th 2012, the number of deaths are 15,848 and 3,305 are still missing, more than 320,000 are living in temporary housings. Many of the towns which are devastated by tsunami have not even been able to come up with their rebuilding plans yet. Despite all the efforts of the government and private sectors, the process of recovering and rebuilding has been slow.
Tohoku region has been one of the difficult areas in Japan for evangelism. Before this disaster, there were not many churches in those small fisherman towns along the coast. The impact of Christianity was minimal in those places. But through the relief work by Christian volunteers and organizations, those local churches and Christian groups have made meaningful relationships with local people and communities. People have felt that Christianity is a foreign religion, but through these new relationships, God has opened up their hearts. We see a kind of paradigm shift in ministry here in Japan.
Also, through working together in relief work, denominations and church groups with different background has collaborated together and now we see more opportunities for working together for God’s Kingdom here in Japan.
Here are the prayer requests for 3.11 Memorial Day. We would like these to be global prayers, so when you pray for Japan on March 11th, please either e-mail to [email protected] or twitter to @JEA_office to create a “Prayer Chain for Japan”.
According to Joe Handley, President Asian Access the repair task was daunting. "86 communities were completely washed away. People lost their homes, lost their jobs, lost their loved ones." Yet, rebuilding quickly began, and the picture of Japan today is painted amidst the hope of the cherry blossoms falling now. "Out of ashes of this disaster, we've seen hope on the rise."
Asian Access mobilized 30 tons of aid with the help of a $1 million dollar matching grant last year. That aid has gone a long way to spiritual healing. "The churches have been at the forefront of providing relief. So, as people have really faced the emotional and the spiritual trauma that has hit them, the Church has really risen to the occasion to meet people's needs."
Asian Access launched a strategic sending partnership with SIM USA to help meet the needs. Handley remarked that for the first time in his 30-year cross-cultural ministry career, "This pastor was asking me to send hundreds of missionaries. I've never in my life seen local pastors from a country practically begging me to send hundreds of missionaries. It wasn't just one pastor. It was a few."
It's just the beginning. Asian Access hopes to continue to provide funds and also missionaries to support them in this work. "Pastors think we have about a two-year window to really invest in Japan, spiritually. This is a unique time for Japan. Some have called it a 'kairos' moment, or a 'God' moment, for Japan."
The good news: A2 just received a second USD$1,000,000 matching opportunity to bring hope and healing to the country. These new funds allow A2 to continue to bolster the strategic partnerships created over the last year. Here's a link to learn more about the new match: http://www.asianaccess.org/A2-Japan-Matching-Gift.html
"It's cherry blossom season," Handley says. In Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize clouds, besides being a metaphor for life. In this case, A2 teams have given life meaning through the Gospel. "Through this season of hope, this million-dollar matching opportunity will help us come alongside key churches and send more missionaries to help them share the love and hope that lies within us."
· Pray that God will cause seeds of the Gospel to grow.
· Ask God to send the funds and the right people for this recovery effort.
· Pray for continued open doors for the Gospel.
Shintoism, the native religion of Japan, is rooted in animism and is polytheistic. In the sixth century, Buddhism was added to Japanese culture, and today most Japanese claim both sets of beliefs. These traditions, combined with those of Confucianism and Taoism, contribute to the most widely accepted religious principles in Japan. More Prayer Info
Read the full article HERE
Source: Mission News Network http://www.mnnonline.org