Pray for Japan on Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pray for Japan on Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lectionary Selection: John 17:1–11

Prayers for Japan:
“Protect them,” Jesus prayed in his last hours. “Protect them because they believe.” On this day we lift up the small and yet vital church in Japan, and all of the people to whom they minister. We lift up the children of Fukushima who are exposed to high levels of radiation. We lift up all people who are made to feel small and insignificant in society: the indigenous Ainu people, immigrants working in Japan, the LGBT community. We lift up the peace-loving people of Okinawa, whose voice never seems to be honored by politicians in Tokyo. We lift up the resident Korean population that was targeted by a public show of “hate speech.” We lift up all those who call for justice to be done, for women who were abused as sex slaves during wartime. We lift up the environment, which quietly suffers the heavy footprint of human existence. Jesus prayed for others’ protection. Jesus prayed on account of all who dare to believe in the promise of life despite the realities before them. God, allow us to pray as Jesus did, “Protect them.” 

Mission Stewardship Moment from Japan:
I spoke to a class of 260 college students in southern Japan on the topic “Fukushima and the Christian Response.” It is remarkable how little coverage Fukushima receives in the press here. The young people admitted in their written comments to me that they had almost forgotten that the disaster ever happened. I had a lot to share about my friends and colleagues who still live and work in the Fukushima area. Following class one young lady came up to me and said, “I am from Fukushima,” after which she immediately started to tear up. I shared her tears, knowing that the people of Fukushima are suffering greatly on account of this technological disaster. National policy has prioritized “recovery” at the cost of “safety.” Many people feel betrayed, hurt and powerless to speak out.

Our partner, the Aizu Radiation Information Center, is a beacon of light for such people. The church-based non-profit joins with concerned citizens to gather information, educate themselves about the dangers of radiation, create support groups for concerned mothers, sponsor “fresh air camps” to allow families to spend quality time away from Fukushima, and provide thyroid tests and health consultations. In a nation that is more concerned about controlling than caring for the situation, the church is a refuge of hope. Thank you for your generous support and prayers that make this ministry and these programs possible. 

(Prayer and Mission Moment by Jeffrey Mensendiek )

Mission Partners in Japan:

More information on Japan:

Global Ministries Missionary in Japan:
Jeffrey Mensendiek, a member of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Berkeley, California, serves with Kwansai Gakuin University in Kobe, Japan as Chaplain for the Center for Religious Activities.