Disaster Remembrance

In this edition

  • Remembering disaster
  • Noriko's visit
  • Use this and pray with us

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The Sakura House staff visit a group of women in temporary housing unit

Disaster Remembrance

Next Wednesday is March 11, a sad commemoration of the devastation that shook Japan four years ago. As a result of the threefold disasters of 11/3/2011, profound uncertainty and mental struggle continue for countless people. The agony of all the losses cut deep into the lives of many people. The scars of suffering are still everywhere to be seen. It's even evident in the environment, according to new reports on radio-active pollution.

Thousands of people still live in temporary housing, and reconstruction is progressing at a slow pace. “The residents of disaster-stricken areas feel neglected by the rest of the country”, a lady from that area said in our church last Sunday. But for many – especially the few Christians (1%) in Japan – this crisis has become an opportunity to share the hope of the gospel in practical ways. Some people have come to realize anew that, although they were struck down, they were not destroyed (2 Cor. 4:9). The ministry of the churches has produced small beacons of hope.  As a direct result of the disaster Christians’ presence has become more visible than ever before.

In the first months after the disaster Mission Japan’s supporters made huge contributions to the Disaster Fund. This made a concrete difference! The fund was used mainly to share with our brothers and sisters here in Japan our supporters’ care-outreach – Christians as well as non-Christians.  Under the guidance of the Reformed Church in Japan (our partner for many years called the RCJ), and with other international support, two support centres were established.

One centre, named Sakura House, is coordinated by the RCJ Sendai East congregation. The other is known as Nozomi Center. In both centres a small band of volunteers still work daily side by side with residents of the local disaster areas. Their empathy with disaster victims’ hurt, frustration and loss, bring small bits of hope. They serve the people of the area by listening to stories of trauma over a meal, or by organizing camps and excursions, by helping with the establishment of vegetable gardens, and by helping the children with their school work etc. But they also become tired and despondent, therefore the support of Christians from all over the world remains of vital importance for their on-going involvement.

Noriko's visit

Noriko Lauer, one of the permanent team members at Sakura House, spent some time with us at our home in Tokushima recently. From her stories it became clear that the memories – of the gigantic waves that submerged and destroyed several communities – are impossible to wipe out. 
The children with whom Noriko works daily still get nightmares, and their families still mourn deeply those that were taken away within minutes. Parts of the coast remain stripped of life and activity – seemingly hopeless.

Use this and pray with us

Therefore we ask (as in last week’s prayer flash): 
Please pray with us specifically for Japan this Sunday.
Here are 3 options to use:
· Download a short Power Point presentation at - entitled Power Point: Mission Japan Disaster Commemoration (8 March 2015). Show it during Sunday’s worship service in your church, or share it in small groups / with prayer friends. (The headings are unfortunately in Afrikaans, because my time to translate everything is just too limited - sorry! But please feel free - if possible - to translate and use it)
·  Click here to watch the documentary (on YouTube) about Mission Japan (produced in May 2014). Look specifically at the short clip from 34:24 to 39:02. This tells the story of the disastrous events and Mission Japan’s involvement. Show it during divine service or at any other suitable occasion. (It is in English)
·   Use the contents of this letter to address and pray for the matter of the disaster during the worship service on Sunday. And share it with people in a prayer or care group. In this way you can share in your Japanese brothers and sisters’ struggle and hope.

Please pray with us for long term support work which is needed in Japan, in the face of huge financial challenges.

Thank you for your empathy. Without continued prayer and contributions it cannot be sustained.
God’s Peace

Stéphan, Carina, Annlie, Cornelius, Lodewyk and Stephan
Copyright © 2015, All rights reserved. Duplication for prayer supporters welcome.