Lectionary Selection: 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Prayers for Japan:
God, you want everyone to be saved; saved from oppression, suffering, hostility, loneliness, illness, selfishness, fear, alienation, ignorance and despair. We lift up our partners in Japan who strive to be true to the good news of your gospel. Bless the Emmaus Center that reaches out to tsunami survivors, Bless the Asian Rural Institute that honors the dignity of all who toil for a better tomorrow. Bless the Aizu Radiation Information Center that educates the public about the dangers of radiation, and advocates for the children of Fukushima. Bless the United Church of Christ in Japan that is struggling to rebuild its earthquake-damaged churches and face the severe economic, social and ecological realities of a post-Fukushima-Japan. Allow us to walk with our partners such that the work and presence of the church in Japan may be a blessing for all. We pray in the name of the ONE who brings hope for all. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Japan:
Meet Terumi, representative of a local non-profit in Fukushima called the Aizu Radiation Information Center. Though based in the educational wing of the Aizu Sakaemachi Church (UCCJ) where Terumi attends, most people at the Center are either local residents or evacuees from other parts of Fukushima who have had no prior contact with the church. The Center provides a meeting space for people who are concerned about the dangers of radiation.
I sat in on one session where a doctor came to consult with a group of young mothers. I witnessed the tears of mothers who feel responsible for the safety of their children. They are confused about what information to believe, where to get safe vegetables, and which doctor to trust. Some suffer from psychological stress and feelings of insecurity. The doctor does not try to provide all the answers. Instead he tells them that all of their reactions are most natural and to be expected. He commends them for their courage to come together and to share. Soon the session turns into a time of peer counselling, and the mothers start to relax and share in laughter.
Terumi listens to the session from the ajoining room. She will never forget the young Russian girl who died of cancer here twenty years ago, when this building used to serve as a day nursury. She knows that life will become increasingly difficult for all local residents. Yet, she also knows that God wants her to be there, and to do all in her capacity to protect and walk with the people of Fukushima.
I handed Terumi a small handmaid Moravian star made by a church member in the US. I told her that we are praying for her. Through Global Ministries we will continue to walk with all of the people who come in touch with the ministry of the Aizu Radiation Information Center.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Jeffrey Mensendiek)
Mission Partners in Japan:
- Doshisha University
- Asian Rural Institute
- Emmaus Center
- Kobe College
- Korean Christian Church in Japan
- Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University
- National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ)
- Tohoku Gakuin University
- United Church of Christ in Japan
More information on Japan: http://globalministries.org/eap/countries/japan/
Global Ministries Missionary in Japan:
Jeffrey Mensendiek, a member of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Berkeley, California serves the Council on Cooperative Mission. He is assigned to the Emmaus Center in Sendai where he works as director of youth activities.