“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” 2 Cor. 2:15
Japan is very different from the US, especially California in many ways, but one of the most pronounced in my mind, is that we have real seasons. Everything follows the changes in weather. There are different foods, social gatherings, manners of dress, sounds and smells. Because of the hot humid weather in summer, there are many different insects and especially mosquitoes. Japanese use special insect repelling incense to repel these pests, its smell wafting through the streets and byways.
“And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.”
From Belind’s Desk: Last summer, just after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, I was able to participate in several Operation Safe children’s trauma training seminars. Last month, during our spring break I had the opportunity to go up to Ishinomaki and actually participate in the program itself.
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.“
I John 1:5
God speaking into His creation and manifesting Himself into His creation is more than just “turning the lights on”. When you consider that in a three dimensional world, where length, width, and height are possible, what is also possible is the ability to experience the concept of relationship, one thing to another, and in our human experience, one person to another.
“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
From John’s Desk:
Life is so full lately as you can imagine. I have sat down to write an update several times over the last couple weeks, but it’s been difficult to put into words what I have wanted to say. Having sent out a few right after the March 11th earthquake, many of you have responded and continue to respond, with words of encouragement and an outpouring of support. Let me say first off, Belinda and I are so thankful for what God is working though His body and how he has used you to minister to the people of Japan and to us.
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
From John’s desk:
I write to you today with a sense of wonder and amazement. I look at what has transpired and at what is to come in the future. As I do, the emotions continue to soar within me. God has moved His hand across Japan, and Japan is listening. Each day I learn of a new testimony, a new statistic or a new way God has touched someone through the circumstances at hand. I read this verse and I feel the tears begin to fill my eyes.
“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” – Is 61:3
After a long week of response to such a disheartening disaster, so close to home, we were able to focus back on the church here in Ome again, at least for a couple days. Belinda and I got some much needed rest and a chance to fellowship.
During the week, while Belinda and I were in Higashi-Kurume each day, working with the approximately 60 volunteers, our emotions have been going back and forth. We have the joy of knowing we are where God has placed us, and we are overcome with the stark reality of all the lives that are either lost or are in desperate need. We do know this; that God is supernaturally sustaining us as we serve Him through all.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.
Although we may be shaken physically, by holding to the promise of Christ’s eminent return with His body, our hope and trust are in these things, not what this world may hold for us in the this life. As long as the Lord tarries, we will not only hold to that promise, we will share the news of hope and faith to all those who He brings us to.
Just a quick update as to our status: Please forgive the “quick and terse” mailing, but there is a lot going on:
- Fuel is scarce
- They are shutting off the power for blackout periods
- Food supplie lines are getting worse
- We are scrambling with CRASH to respond to hughe amounts of communications and doing our best to coordinate operations
- Skype is not always working
- Phones are intermittiant
Please continue to pray as we desire to be effective for the kingdom of God here in Japan.
Please pray that God would continue to supply all needs for the people here in Japan.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:5
I am sure your first question is: “Are we ok?” Yes, we are fine. In our area there was no real damage or loss of life. We went through a strong and sustained shaking. Trains shut down, phones jammed and many people were stranded. Belinda and I spent the evening driving some of them to their homes. The aftershocks continue, but we are so thankful that God has protected us, and those we minister to.