by Janet Birkmann, STM Admin Assistant (updated March 2016)
We are thankful for the many excellent applications we received from those interested in serving on our two Japan Work Teams this spring!
Eleven individuals (listed below) with varied skills and experience have been selected to travel to Japan in April to refurbish the exterior of the Nozomi (“Hope”) Center in Japan, a disaster relief/community outreach center established by the OPC and its affiliates following the tsunami of 2011.
“The Nozomi Center has become an important beacon of hope and light in the area. The badly affected areas of the country are still recovering, which means that many people are still without permanent homes and work. Nozomi offers them a place to fellowship, partake of activities, and meet friends,” says John Voss, Committee on Diaconal Ministries.
Read about the good works that take place at the Nozomi Center here!
Please pray for our teams and stay tuned for reports on their work!
Japan Work Team #1 (April 4-15, 2016)
- Brian Murphy, Team Leader (Fredericksburg Christian Fellowship, Fredericksburg, TX)
- Patrick Lewis (Harvest OPC, Wyoming, MI)
- Liviu Marhao (First Romanian Pentecostal Church, Hickory, NC)
- Petre Pindic (Hickory Romanian Baptist Church, Hickory, NC)
- Noah Rice (Christ Covenant OPC, Amarillo, TX)
- Gelu Vasiu (Hickory Romanian Baptist Church, Hickory, NC)
Japan Work Team #2 (April 15-28, 2016)
- Raun Treible, Team Leader (Lake Sherwood OPC, Orlando, FL)
- Nick de Ru (Sovereign Grace OPC, Oak Harbor, WA)
- John Flynn (Lake Sherwood OPC, Orlando, FL)
- Stephen Lauer (Lynnwood OPC, Lynnwood, WA)
- Josh Miller (Berlin Baptist Church, Marne, MI)
Work to be done:
While the exterior of the Nozomi Center building was deemed to be in satisfactory condition when the OPC renovated its interior four years ago, there has been noticeable deterioration since then:
- Metal roof has some rust
- Walls need paint
- Exterior caulking needs repair and replacement
- Gutters are in need of repair
- In summary, a facelift is needed
by Mr. John J. Voss, Jr., Treasurer, OPC Committee on Diaconal Ministries
Almost five years ago, a cataclysmic earthquake occurred several miles off the northeast coast of Japan. Minutes later one of the most damaging tsunamis in history crashed into that coast, wreaking hundreds of square miles of complete devastation, killing tens of thousands of people, destroying thousands of homes and businesses, and upending the lives of millions of Japanese people. But the Lord of all creation uses events like this as a means of opening hearts to His Gospel.
The OPC sent a team to explore whether there was an opportunity to assist in recovery by offering the “cup of kindness” and showing the Love of Christ through a ministry of mercy and the presentation of the Gospel. A few months later an abandoned building was identified that was structurally sound but in need of major repairs. The owner, an unbeliever, was led to sell the building at a great discount when he heard of the desire to turn his loss into a relief center to help the people of his town recover physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Less than a year after the “Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami,” teams of OPC members were sent to rebuild and remodel the abandoned building, a former dental office. The ground floor was remodeled to create two meeting rooms, one of which was large enough to hold worship services. An office, a Resident Director room, and kitchen were also built. The large attic was transformed into two dormitories with two full bathrooms and has been used to house visitors and teams of volunteers who continue to come to Japan to minister and witness to the local people. While the interior of the building was extensively rebuilt, repaired, and remodeled, the exterior only required cleaning and some minor repairs at the time. The building was named the “Nozomi” Center, meaning “Hope” Center.
About a year after the Nozomi Center opened, the first worship services were held. Presently, worship is held there on a bi-monthly basis. There are activities for local residents almost daily. The Nozomi Center has become an important beacon of hope and light in the area. The badly affected areas of the country are still recovering, which means that many people are still without permanent homes and work. Nozomi offers them a place to fellowship, partake of activities, and meet friends. All the while, they are seeing how the Love of Christ affects the soul and mind. The Spirit has been and is at work there. Converts are being won to the Lord.
Over the next few months, the OPC Committee on Foreign Missions will begin to wind down its involvement in our mission work in Japan, and the Presbytery of Ohio will take up oversight of it. The Nozomi Center will continue to be a central part of that work.