This Lenten season, my mind is stuck on an image of a dilapidated house that I saw in Fukushima. The house is still standing, but it is beyond repair. On first sight, it does not look habitable. Yet when evening comes, there is a light that goes on in the kitchen toward the back of the property. The house was damaged by the earthquake eight years ago. The trees in the small yard are overgrown. The front of the house is a mess. I would not have given the house much thought had it not been for my Japanese colleague pointing it out.Read more
March 11, 2019 marked eight years since Japan’s “Triple Disaster.” Communities and individuals are still marked by this disaster and continue the work of healing. Mission Co-worker in Japan, Jeffrey Mensendiek, shares some reflections from a recent trip he took to Fukushima with Derek Duncan, Area Executive for East Asia and the Pacific. Part one can be found here. This is part two:Read more
2018 was a tumultuous year in many ways. Personally, I had to say goodbye to several dear friends, one of whom was Teruko Enomoto, the founder of the Bazaar Café.Read more
March 11, 2019 marked eight years since Japan’s “Triple Disaster.” Communities and individuals are still marked by this disaster and continue the work of healing. Mission Co-worker in Japan, Jeffrey Mensendiek, shares some reflections from a recent trip he took to Fukushima with Derek Duncan, Area Executive for East Asia and the Pacific.Read more
2018 was a tumultuous year in many ways.
Personally, I had to say goodbye to several dear friends, one of whom was Teruko Enomoto, the founder of the Bazaar Café.Read more
Although I ate many and varied dishes during my stay, my hosts in Japan had never heard of kotsudan. According to Dave Barry it’s a dish made with dates although I suspect he got the name wrong. One of my favorite Japanese dishes was lamb grilled in the style of the Hokkaido Islanders. I watched my friends cook the lamb with cabbage and shallots on a small square grill on their living room table.Read more
J.F. Oberlin University is a private four-year university located in Machida, a suburb of Tokyo, Japan. Founded in 1946 by Reverend Yasuzo Shimizu, the university is comprised of a College of Arts and Sciences, a graduate division, and four professional colleges. In the late 1920s, Rev. Shimizu attended Oberlin College in Ohio, U.S.A., where he learned about the educational philosophy of Jean-Frédéric Oberlin, an 18th-century minister and educator in France. As a tribute to the educator whose ideas influenced Rev. Shimizu, in 2006 the English name of the school was changed to J. F. Oberlin University. With an enrollment of over 9,000 students, many of them from overseas, J. F. Oberlin University seeks to foster global citizens on the basis of Christian values. J. F. Oberlin University is affiliated with the United Church of Christ in Japan and all of its chaplains are ordained ministers in the UCCJ, including Rev. Jeffrey Mensendiek, who as a Global Ministries mission co-worker has taught and served as a chaplain at J. F. Oberlin University since April 2018.
Having grown up as an American in Japan, one of my great passions is to be a bridge for people who want to encounter new cultures. This month we had a group of ten people from Los Angeles, led by Mike Okamura of Altadena Community Church UCC. They visited our partner church, the Kyodan, to learn about issues facing the Japanese church, and to visit specific projects and ministries. Mike’s relatives live in Fukushima. He was particularly interested in taking the group to see the Tohoku region which had been devastated by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of 2011.Read more
In the third week of October, we can feel fall in the air here in Tochigi, Japan. Some days are still warm, but nights are pretty cool. We expected to see changing leaves, but they are still green, and the changes are in the mountains, we hear. September was busy with many visitors – university classes coming to gain experience in organic agriculture, Rotary clubs and women’s groups. Mealtimes were spent explaining to visitors our role as short term Global Mission Coworkers and why we are here!Read more
In September, 2018, Asian Rural Institute (ARI) life is as we remembered it from 2013 – welcoming smiles, camaraderie, hard work, learning by doing, and everything that comes with a community sharing a common life together. The special blessing of returning is renewing friendships and also meeting a whole new class of participants and volunteers. We are grateful to Global Ministries, an ARI partner for their support.Read more