(Photo courtesy Asian Access)
Japan (MNN) ― It has been two years since the March 11th disaster in Japan, and yet, from many accounts, a sense of heaviness remains hunkered down over northeast Japan.
The devastating earthquake and tsunami left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing, and displaced more than 300,000. Then, the Fukushima nuclear power plant melted down. While initially responding to urgencies and making fast emergency provision, Japan's momentum seems to have stalled.
Many of the displaced remain unable to return home, especially those who lived near the plant. Geologists recorded nearly 10,000 aftershocks since the original quake, including 736 jolts that measured above a magnitude of 5.0. Depression and anxiety are also commonplace.
And yet, despite the bleak narratives of Japan, two years later, Asian Access tells a more hopeful story. A2 president Joe Handley says the Lord has turned a tsunami of destruction into a tsunami of love.
The spiritual healing that is occurring across the affected regions is profound as believers have served as the hands and feet of Jesus bringing hope and healing to the country. Handley writes, "This is indeed a kairos" or God-moment for the Church in Japan--what many have called "Japan's Hour for the Hope of Christ!"
Japanese church leaders have reflected on the similarities between this situation and the reality of the pain in the cross of Christ and the corresponding hope that came three days later through the resurrection.
As Christians responded to the physical, emotional, and spiritual cries for help, it became clear they needed more hands on deck. As a result, Asian Access launched a strategic sending partnership with SIM USA to help meet the needs. Handley exclaims, "Local pastors asking me to send hundreds of missionaries to help them in Japan and this partnership will help us meet the need.
When the initiative was first launched, the only thing that would slow the potential for growth was money. A challenge was issued and met by a $1 million matching grant. Encouraged by the momentum, a second one was launched, and it too was met for 2012-13.
Pray that God would continue to heal the hearts of those whose lives were affected by the disaster. Also pray that the Church would be filled with Holy Spirit and would be able to share the love and saving power of Jesus effectively.