This is my second year working at the J.F. Oberlin University in Tokyo, where I serve as chaplain and associate professor of Christian Studies. My family still lives four hours away in the city of Kobe. When my son graduates from high school this June the family will move to Tokyo. I am very much looking forward to all of us living together again.Read more
Every year, I take my seminar students to the Philippines as part of their course in social work at Doshisha University. For many of the students it is their first experience in a country where most of the population is poor.Read more
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)Read more
Nine years had passed since the nuclear disaster in Japan. It was a grey and dreary day as I got off the bus in front of the Fukushima High Court to meet my friend Terumi who is one of the co-representatives of the “Children’s Trial Against Radiation Exposure.”Read more
These two articles regarding the Olympics in Japan and the situation in Fukushima were shared by mission co-worker Jeffrey Mensendiek and leadership of the Aizu Radiation Center.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Matthew 5:21-37
Prayers for Japan:
Thank you for who you are.
Thank you for being a God that sees us not for the rules we follow, but what is in our hearts.
When the rules only say, “do not be mean,” help us to be intentionally and especially kind. When the sign says, “do not litter,” help us to pick up even the trash that is not ours.
When you instruct us to not seek vengeance, help us to truly forgive.
Help us to serve you with all our hearts.
We live in a world where courts, laws, and judges have the authority to decide what is “just” and what is “right,” yet too often these human judgments fail to reflect true justice and righteousness, which comes from you. Teach us true justice and righteousness.
We pray for the people who are hungry, the communities that are marginalized, and the environment that suffers at the hands of people seeking to make a profit.
Teach us to be good stewards, good servants, and good neighbors, to not only recognize the value of every individual but to actively make space and invite them in.
Teach us to follow you from the inside out.
Entonces le fueron presentados unos niños, para que pusiese las manos sobre ellos, y orase; y los discípulos les reprendieron. Pero Jesús dijo: Dejad a los niños venir a mí, y no se lo impidáis; porque de los tales es el reino de los cielos. Y habiendo puesto sobre ellos las manos, se fue de allí. Mateo 19:13-15Read more
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Matthew 19:13-15Read more
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 (email@example.com) or Global Ministries East Asia Pacific Executive, Derek Duncan (firstname.lastname@example.org).Read more
Lectionary Selection: Luke 18:1-8
Prayers for Japan:
Today we remember those in Japan who, like the widow in today’s gospel lesson are pleading for their rights.
We remember those who still suffer from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima 8 1/2 years ago - those who still are unable to return home to their beloved communities due to dangerous radiation levels. We stand with the plaintiffs who are deeply hurt and dejected by the recent court decision that ignored their voices and failed to bring justice to those that suffer at the hands of the powerful.
We remember the many migrant workers in Japan who are working long hours, and for refugees waiting for amnesty, anxious about their future. We pray for the rights of foreign workers and refugees in waiting.
We remember those who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses. May they find the hope and will to live. We also lift up the families of those whose illness led them to take their own life. May they be comforted and be freed from the blame that families often face. We pray that all those who struggle with life may be embraced by love and understanding.
In Jesus Christ, we pray,