Japan Disaster
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kyushu relief group 2017Nurturing Resiliency through Emotional and Spiritual Care 

“I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”  Psalm 16:8 ESV

Need for a Compass

I am directionally challenged. If I tell my wife while driving to ‘turn right,' I really mean left. I am not the most reliable navigator. At times I find that I can be 'directionally challenged' in my walk of faith and ministry path as well and must intentionally put the Lord before me, as my compass and stabilizer. When I do that, I experience resiliency even in times of crisis. How does this work out in ministry in Japan? Here are a couple recent examples of being on the right side of a crisis…

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00063 00099The story of this lady was amazing. She lived just 1.5 kilometers from the ocean (about a mile) and the tsunami took everything. Soon after, the gentlemen standing next to her, started a house fellowship not too long after retiring from work. He was inspired by his church to start another church after he retired from a great career. Did it matter that he is not a pastor? No. Did it matter that he had received no significant theological training? No. Rather, his pastor saw his gifts and invested in him for years. From the Asian Access training, he developed a plan to empower lay leaders to start churches so that they could reach the Japanese people. He knew there was no way you could reach Japan through just the clergy alone. So, he raised up several business leaders to begin starting house churches in his region.

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woman sharingThe lady sharing in this picture was saved by a bridge in her local fishing village. She was driving back to her home where her husband’s family has led a fishing business for several generations. As she drove onto the bridge, the tsunami swept away most of her friends, their homes, and their cars. The town was devastated and all she could do is sit there and watch her friends get swept away. Her husband, just a few minutes earlier was able to marshal a few people to several boats he owned and fled into the sea before the waves crushed the village. He’s standing in this picture to her right. He was gone for three days at sea and she had no idea where he was or if the tsunami took his life. They were both saved that day… For a purpose! God had a plan for them and their village. Pastor Kishinami, who...

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Tragedy brought them to a deeper level of ministry

Pray for NepalNepal (MNN) — Nepal just marked the second anniversary of devastating twin earthquakes that killed 9,000 people and made a million others homeless. The government has been criticized for the slow pace of rebuilding, and did not officially hold any commemorative events April 25th. However, survivors held memorial services in Kathmandu and other parts of the country. Although it has faded off front page news, the reality is that Nepal is still in tatters. Less than one-fifth of the destroyed homes have been rebuilt. Asian Access, a ministry that helps train, develop, and network church leaders, had already started connecting believers to help respond to the quake needs. It was a unique moment for these Christians. Perhaps what makes this more interesting is how the Japanese Church lived out... 

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highest watermark during Tsunami of March 2011This day will be a day I never forget. Six years ago, in just a few short hours from right now, I was in Karuizawa, Japan for our annual Japan Staff Spring Retreat. It was a wonderful time together with our Asian Access/Japan family as always and as we were in chapel that afternoon, the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced hit: over 9 points on the Richter Scale. Even though it was centered several miles off the coast of Japan and many miles further from my location, it was still the single longest and strongest quake I had ever lived through. And, I’ve lived through some pretty strong quakes living most of my life in Los Angeles.

This morning as I awoke, I was reminded of being here in Japan that horrible day. Silk and I were in Japan and our thoughts went to many of the pastors and churches we know in the heaviest hit regions plus staff we have all over the country who were unable to make the retreat. We also were thinking of our children and families back home and what might happen to us.

As you know it was a devastating quake that triggered a massive tsunami that wreaked havoc on the shorelines of Northeast Japan. They call it a triple disaster because the...

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As recovery stagnates, Gospel growth booms

Damage left by the 2011 tsunami. (Photo cred: Tamaki Seto via Wikimedia Commons)Japan (MNN) — Broken remnants and barricades remain six years after Japan’s deadly ‘triple disaster’. “There are still tens of thousands of people in temporary housing…. That place (near the Fukushima nuclear facility) was so devastated that the local people cannot afford to go back into their homes and rebuild them,” says Joe Handley of Asian Access. Worse yet, the Japanese government is ending housing subsidies for some Fukushima residents. Financial aid will end this month for “those who fled the Fukushima nuclear disaster from areas other than the government-designated evacuation zones,” according to Japan Today. Yet. Handley found hope during a recent...

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brokenness beauty signNozomi のぞみ = Hope

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joe and nakamurasPastor Yoji Nakamura, who leads the Kyushu Christ Disaster Relief Center in Kumamoto, is an amazing pastor. You can learn more about him in this post from last fall: Mr. Christ… Christ, Christ, Christ! I had the privilege of spending a few days with him in Kumamoto following up on the earthquake that hit the region about nine months ago. He was so inspiring and as he shared in church that morning before I preached, he told the congregation another amazing story that brought tears to all of our eyes!  As they’ve led the relief efforts, they have tried to adopt people from the disaster areas who live in temporary housing and Pastor Yoji adopted a little girl who has been particularly challenging to work alongside. Most people avoid the child because she’s so oppositional. But, Yoji just...

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