Prayers for Japan: John 6:1-21
God, you care for us with your abounding love. When Jesus stood before the crowd, he saw the great need, blessed the few loaves and the fish, and shared it with all who had assembled. The people of Fukushima, the fishermen and farmers from the coastal towns and villages of northeastern Japan, the families who have lost loved ones, their homes and their livelihood, they stand before you to receive your blessing of life. May the miracle of your abounding love bless them and keep them in this moment of great need. To care means to lament and cry out with. Help us, the church, to be a vessel of your caring love.
Mission Moment from Japan:
Did you know that our church has been sending missionaries to Sendai, Japan for the past 126 years!? The first missionary was William Hoy, from Mifflinburg PA who was instrumental in starting many churches in northeastern Japan, as well as what became the Tohoku Gakuin University. I am now the last CGMB missionary to work in Sendai. We have indeed had a long partnership with the people of the Tohoku (the northeastern region of Japan).
Last March when the earthquake hit, I was working at the Emmaus Center which serves as a community center for both church and local community activities. Because of the decades of outreach provided to the wider community, many people came to our Center wanting to help. Whether Christian or not, we found ourselves in the midst of a huge effort to reach out to relieve the suffering of those affected by the tsunami and nuclear explosion. Sendai was on the frontlines of this tremendous humanitarian effort.
CGMB was quick to send funds to support our activities, and Rev. Xiaoling Zhu (the Area Executive for East Asia and the Pacific) was also quick to visit us. “Mission personnel provide us with the truth!” said Rev. Zhu when he visited me. I think he was talking about the bonds of trust that exist not only between CGMB staff, but also between us and our partner church in Japan, the Kyodan. For me it was a blessing to be a link through which these bonds of trust could bear fruit.
In August I will be leaving my long-time home, Sendai. I ask myself “why at this time? Why when there is so much that I could do to help relieve the suffering of the tsunami survivors, and stand with the people of Fukushima who suffer from the dangers of radiation?” But then again, is there ever a “right” time? I think the key is to look back upon our shared history of partnership with the people of the Tohoku. We need to use our imagination to think of ways in which we can “stand with” those who suffer. We need to look for new ways to be an advocate for the children of Fukushima who will most likely be the first to suffer from the effects of radiation. We will need to reaffirm the gift of our long partnership with the churches in the Tohoku.
Now more than ever the church in Japan needs support from its international partners. In a farewell speech that I gave at the Tohoku District Annual Conference, I told them; “We (CGMB) value our long history of partnership. Know that we will continue to pray and work with you in this time of critical need.”
(Prayer and Mission Moment offered by Jeffrey Mensendiek)
Video Resources for Japan:
- Martha Mensendiek – GM Missionary http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/index/video-mission-moments/japan-a-safe-place.html
- Stephen Cutting – ARI http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/index/video-mission-moments/japan-farming.html
- Sandra Lee-Takei – Former GMI http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/index/video-mission-moments/japan-lee-takei.html
- Casilda Luzares – Former GM Missionary http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/videos/video-mission-moments/japan-luzares.html
Global Ministries International Partners in Japan:
- Doshisha University: http://www.doshisha.ac.jp/english/ Martha Mensendiek is a teacher of Social Welfare at Doshisha University, Kyoto.
- Asian Rural Institute: The mission of the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) is to build an environmentally healthy, just, and peaceful world, in which each person can live to his or her fullest potential. This mission is rooted in the love of Jesus Christ. To carry out this mission, ARI trains and nurtures rural leaders for a life of sharing. Leaders, both women and men, who live and work in grassroots rural communities primarily in Asia, Africa and the Pacific form a community of learning each year together with staff and other residents. Through community-based learning they study the best ways for rural people to share and enhance local resources and abilities for the common good.
- Emmaus Center: Rev. Jeffrey Mensendiek works as the Director of youth ministries at the Emmaus Center, Sendai. Since March of last year, the Emmaus Center has also served as the Tohoku Disaster Relief Center for the United Church of Christ in Japan. http://ameblo.jp/jishin-support-uccj-en/
- Kobe College: http://www.kobe-c.ac.jp/ekc/index.html
- Korean Christian Church in Japan: http://www.kccj.net/
- Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University:
- National Christian Council of Japan: http://ncc-j.org/english/profile.htm
- Tohoku Gakuin University:
- United Church of Christ in Japan:
For more info about Japan, click here: http://globalministries.org/eap/countries/japan/
Global Ministries Missionaries in Japan:
- Martha Mensendiek teaches Social Welfare at Doshisha University
- Jeffrey Mensendiek serves and the Director of youth ministries at the Emmaus Center.