The fourth anniversary (on March 11) of the huge triple disaster in North-Eastern Japan.
We remember thousands of people who are still living in temporary housing units. We especially think about many children who are still suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. Many relatives of the thousands of victims who were swept away by the horrific tsunami, are still grieving their losses. Dangers concerning the radio-active radiation
, because of the nuclear power plant accident, linger on.
We pray for the churches and the many Christian organizations who continue their committed involvement in serving the disaster area’s victims on a wide scale. We specifically remember Sakura House and Nozomi Center
, with whom which Mission Japan was directly involved. We also pray for the full-time workers and the part-time volunteers who serve the people (especially the children) of the disaster area with Christian love and care.
More about this will follow in a next newsflash (also so that churches in South Africa and elsewhere can commemerate the disaster events, on Sunday March 8)
THANK THE LORD WITH US FOR…
The short but very meaningful visit by the Mission Japan delegation to Tokushima, Kochi and Kobe etc. They really encouraged and strenghtened us (the Van der Watts and Oliviers). We were able to discuss some significant issues in-depth, thanks to our deep trust relationships with our Japanese sisters and brothers. Concrete suggestions are now being considered regarding:
- Our shift to the RCJ Theological Seminary in Kobe (DV before the end of 2015)
- The planned visit of a group of young Japanese pastors to South Africa (in May 2015)
- The broadening diaconal involvement by the RCJ in South Africa
- Karen Strydom, who is a missionary candidate to Japan. She could – through this visit – get to know more about the core challenges in Japan, and she had opportunities to share the story of her own calling etc.
- The growing relationship of mutual trust between the RCJ and the DRC Family of Churches in South Africa
PRAY WITH US IN DEPENDENCE ON THE LORD FOR…
Gideon van der Watt (secretary of Mission Japan), who has been struggling with recurring infections in his left arm for more than two months, because of a serious dog-bite incident. He is still receiving intraveneous antibiotics, and must probably be operated again. Please pray for this full recovery, and for deep rest amidst a very heavy workload.
Karen Strydom, who will take a very big decision concerning her calling to Japan (as youthworker) – in consultation with the Lord, DRC Andrew Murray congregation and friends and family. Please pray for her for clear spiritual discernment.
Gys, Linda and Linie Olivier, our missionary English teachers at SEIWA Christian school in Kochi city on Shikoku island: for their work and witness in the school with many young girls who are seekers in terms of their faith; for Gys and Linda’s Japanese language study; also for the admission tests which are now being written by the girls (for the new school year starting in April), so that a strong new group of learners can be added.
Stephan and Carina’s schedule for March (which includes):
Stephan preaches at RCJ Takamatsu-Higashi (church without a pastor); Carina and Miwa lead Happy Kids at RCJ Tokushima
Thursday 5 - Friday 6:
Stephan lectures on Pastoral Care and Counselling at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Kobe
Stephan does a presentation on Pastoral Care at the RCJ Shikoku’s Presbytery fraternal
Carina and Miwa lead Happy Kids at RCJ Tokushima
Friday 20 – Saturday 21:
Stephan and Carina lead a Marriage Retreat for ministers and congregants of Shikoku Presbytery
Stephan preaches at the English Fellowship at RCJ Tokushima
Friday 27 – Saturday 28:
Shikoku Presbytery’s Church Camp is held in Okayama, where Stephan also participates.
Other preparations: Stephan leads a presentation at a meeting of about 200 women in the RCJ Presbytery of Tokyo region. It will be a pastoral perspective on main issues that impart meaning and hope within the current RCJ, and especially the essential role that women play in this (from October 2015, women will DV be ordained as elders and pastors in the RCJ).