Long-term Mission Co-Worker in Japan, Jeffrey Mensendiek, was instrumental in coordinating humanitarian relief during and in the years following the 2011 Fukushima “Triple Disaster” of tsunami, flooding, and nuclear contamination. Since then he has facilitated an exchange of Christmas cards between U.S. congregations and those of our partner church in Japan. Jeffrey’s letter to participating churches is also an invitation to any new congregations to take part in this Advent season. You can find stories and current information on what is happening in Japan from Jeffrey’s blog http://jeffreyfromjapan.blogspot.com/. Those interested in participating can contact Jeffrey (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Global Ministries East Asia Pacific Executive, Derek Duncan (email@example.com).
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Greetings from Japan.
I am writing to inquire whether you are interested in participating again this year in the Christmas Card Project with our partner churches in Japan. These churches have historical ties to our UCC/Disciples denominations and have been facing unprecedented issues as a result of the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
If you decide to participate, you are asked to:
- send a Christmas card to one or two churches in early December, and
- lift these churches up in prayer sometime during the Advent season.
Once I have a count of US churches participating, I will send you the names and updated information pertaining to the churches to which you will be assigned. If you have participated in this project before I will try to match you with the same churches that you had before. Our partners in the Kyodan (the UCCJ) have asked that we continue this project, and I am encouraged to see how the Spirit is leading us as brothers and sisters in new patterns of partnership.
This is now the sixth year for this project. It is one way to reach out globally through prayer. Please discuss this with your congregation and let me know by October 30th whether you will be participating. I will then send you the contacts and necessary information by November 12th (TUE). This will give you time to prepare the Christmas cards to send off by the beginning of December. Also, please let me know the name and contact address for the contact person from your congregation this year. If you need stories and current information on what is happening in Japan please go to my blog at (http://jeffreyfromjapan.blogspot.com/).
This March marked the closing of the post-disaster relief efforts at the Emmaus Center. These activities continued for eight years, and with great support from our UCC and the Disciples churches. This means that the Japanese church has scaled down its activities to support tsunami survivors on a voluntary basis. The ministry of accompaniment and support for people suffering on account of the nuclear disaster is ongoing and will continue for at least another five years.
The Christmas Card Project aims to connect partner churches across the ocean by reaching out globally through prayer each Advent. In the spirit of the mutuality of mission, I pray that this small gesture of solidarity will be a sign of hope for churches both in the US and Japan. When writing, please do not hesitate to mention your prayer concerns for what is happening in and around your congregation. In this way, we share in the mutuality God’s mission.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Jeffrey Mensendiek
Global Mission co-worker