Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God and there is no other. ~ Isa. 45:22.
OPC Japan Missionary Kaz Yaegashi began a recent report with the above verse and the following paragraph:
“Since March 11th we daily pray for the nation of Japan that every Japanese learns from the Great Disaster that there is none other but the Lord God of the Bible Who can save them from eternal ruin, which will be no comparison to the ruin of the tsunami and radiation disasters. So we continue sowing the seed of the Gospel at every opportunity as we meet people, giving out special tracts about the disasters and inviting them to come to worship and hear the Word of God.”
What an occasion our Sovereign God has given us for the advancement of the gospel in the nation of Japan, this nation that has such a small Christian presence of less than 0.5%! May the Lord bless our feeble efforts with fruit for His kingdom!
I imagine that many are wondering what is currently happening in the Japan Disaster Response effort. These past few months have required real steps of faith by our missionaries as they continue to seek the Lord’s will in how best to use the Disaster Response gifts you have given.
Relief Ministry Center Concept
As has been recently communicated, at the suggestion of the Reformed Church of Japan back in May, the OPC Japan Mission has partnered with two other mission agencies, all of whom work with the RCJ. These three reformed denominations are pooling resources and working toward a concerted disaster response effort. This has coalesced in seeking to establish one or more “Relief Ministry Centers” to be located in tsunami-stricken areas. The idea is that these strategically-located stations will be used for approximately 3 years as an outreach to the community: providing clean-up help, counseling, hosting teams, and other services along with hosting weekly worship services. The goal would be to see these centers develop a presence in the community out of which a church plant might develop by the end of the 3 year term.
In mid-September, the location for the first such Center was purchased in the town of Yamamoto cho, about 45 minutes south of Sendai near the Sendai airport. This building had previously been a dental practice, but had been flooded with 6 feet of water. The building was determined to be very sound, but would require new wallboard and floor. It would also require modifications to change it from a dental office to a Ministry Center. Deacon and builder, John Voss, upon completing a positive assessment of the building, took measurements and drew up plans for it to be refurbished. Due to the exchange rate and the general price of building material in Japan, it was deemed best to order and ship the material from the US to Japan.
And that is what has been in the works for the past 6 weeks or so.
We hope to see the material arrive in Japan by early November. At that time, we will need teams of skilled builders to perform the work. We are looking for electricians, plumbers, tapers, tilers, and carpenters. We anticipate a couple of months of work. This is a wonderful opportunity for those with these skills to serve in this kingdom work. We anticipate helping with some of the travel costs of these skilled workers.
Sendai Church Building Repair
While there, the other project that these builders will be working on is the repair to the interior of the sanctuary of the Sendai church. This church building is almost 100 years old and much of the plaster fell off the walls in the earthquake. We expressed our willingness to minister to this church by helping them with this repair effort and they have agreed to accept our offer. These teams will be removing the remaining plaster, sheeting it with plywood to add sheer strength to this building and then covering the plywood with drywall. As you can imagine, the Sendai church greatly anticipates the completion of this project!
Higashi Matsushima Outreach
The last thing to note is that the OPC Japan Relief Fund continues to financially support the efforts of Pastor Tateishi of the East Sendai RCJ and the many volunteer teams he leads as an outreach to the town of Higashi Matsushima, about 45 minutes north of Sendai. These teams have already provided assistance to approximately 80 households in this severely tsunami-affected area and hope to see a second “Relief Ministry Center” established in this town.
Donations to the fund have been slowing down. To date, we have received just over $480,000. Of that, almost $250,000 has been spent, leaving us with about $230,000 to put towards the efforts described above. Future donations received will most likely become a part of this effort as well, as you can imagine that these are costly ventures. We trust the Lord will provide, even as He has done so abundantly.
Please contact us if you are able to give a few weeks of your time to serve as a member for a team of skilled workers or if you are willing to contribute towards sending these teams. We look forward to hearing from you.
May Christ be honored and glorified in all that we do as His ambassadors!