Japan Disaster
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Joe and Silk with friendsLast week I had the privilege of visiting Pastor Youngsan Cho, a Korean missionary serving with Asian Access partner church Hongodai from Yokohama appointed to Ishinomaki. He’s the pastor I’ve been sharing about leading the Ochako “Tea” House in Ishinomaki. We’ve posted a few stories about him. This visit was quite profound for me. Cho sensei, as we call him, was his normal ebullient self. He’s the most optimistic joyful Korean missionary I’ve ever met. I love being around him!

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Sendai tsunami disaster 29Mar2011 jj 044

From Greed to Generosity

On March 11—the 7th anniversary of the Triple Disaster here in Japan—I’ve been asked to preach at Tokyo Life Church, the church we attend most regularly. TLC is in a Lenten series, and the topics are The Seven Deadly Sins. The passage I’m to cover is Matthew 19:16-30. It is the story of the rich young ruler, and the deadly sin is greed. As I reflect on how to tie greed, the rich young ruler, and 3.11 together, vivid memories come to mind. I’ll never forget that day in the mountains of Karuizawa thinking...

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courtesy of Save the Children via FlickrPrayer is needed as the nation continues to heal

Japan (MNN) – Seven years ago on the afternoon of March 11, a massive earthquake shifted Japan’s Honshu island by several feet. The moving earth resulted in a series of tsunamis, the first of which struck the Fukushima nuclear power plant at a height of 45 ft, knocking out its backup generators. Three of the six reactors exploded because the cooling systems stopped functioning. Many people died in what’s known as Japan’s Triple Disaster, also called 3/11. Hundreds of thousands of people had...

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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…

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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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