International Ministries

God’s Care in Time of Need

March 28, 2011 Journal
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Dear Journal friends,

My apologies to you for letting a few days pass without posting a letter.  As much as I want to keep Japan in front of you particularly now, time to do so has slipped past.  What have I been doing instead of sitting in front of my computer/TV?  God has been caring for me. With the help of Tomoko Armagost, I continue posting a translation of new news from the Japanese version of our partner organization, the Japan Baptist Union.  If you want to see Roberta’s blood-sweat-and TEARS check out: https://sites.google.com/site/crisistohoku2011/home

Be assured that I’m not doing this in order to practice my language skills.  I hope some of you, at least are reading it sometimes!  Here you can find the most up-to-date prayer request tucked in this report.  I’ve also been working on solutions for my hip/back problem.  Daily going for treatment and exercise club takes time. I’m seeing some results so I was able to drive one hour to church on Sunday!  The fellowship was scrumptious!  I was assured of God's loving care once again.

Visitors Last Wednesday a friend came to spend half a day with me.  She was the first to ring my doorbell in two weeks! We went out to lunch.  The fellowship totally invigorated me. The next day the doorbell rang again! It was Kanda sensei.  He is the faculty advisor of the Kanto Gakuin University Sigma club. 

Witness From a Hill Tribe He had just returned back from Thailand with the volunteers from this club.  He had a great report. I was especially interested in what he had to say about student “P.”  “P” is a Thai international student at KGU. He went along as an interpreter for the group.  He is not a Christian and neither are the Japanese students, yet they are doing work for primarily Christians in Thailand including a day each at the House of Love and New Life Center.  Ethnic Thais generally look down on ethnic minorities such as the Akha hill tribes.  On this trip, the students helped complete a chapel in an Akha village and then attended its dedication ceremony. The Sigma circle along with “P” spent about a week in the village staying in homes of Christian Akhas.  What a transformation there was in this young man!  The Akha Christians were true to their name in loving this young man and showing him that God really cares.  Not only did he have his eyes opened, crushing his preconceived ideas of hill tribe people, he also became acutely aware of the contrast between these Christian families and the rest of the village.  Please pray for Thai student “P.”

Back Here in Japan schools are on break before the new school year begins. I heard on Saturday that Kanto Gakiun University has learned that 479 students from first to third-year level, have lost their homes, loved ones, source of income or have been adversely affected by the earthquake, tsunami, or nuclear reactor accident. It is not clear how many will be able to return to school in April.  The school is studying what it might be able to do regarding school fees.  Of course, as mentioned before, Shokei Gakuin faces a much graver situation.  Please continue to pray for these two schools.

Conditions in the North continue to improve in varying degrees.  The lack of gasoline and fears related to the nuclear reactor still remain the top two problems.  One half of the ports used for ships transporting gasoline were destroyed.  Gasoline production has increased at depots in western Japan but getting it to a port that has storage facilities is still a slow, nearly impossible process.

Each week, a few trucks from one or other of our Baptist churches heads up north to help Baptist pastors with resources and to keep up their spirits.  Now a public transport company (‘kuroneko’) has resumed the business of transporting goods…so that I can send up supplies, too. Over 17,000 of our American military are helping in the clean-up efforts, transporting goods and assisting in the Nuclear reactor repair. 

The Japan Baptist Union (JBU) has established a conservative emergency plan goal of $250,000 (¥20,000,000) needed by the end of May!  This barely takes into account what is needed at my beloved Shokei church where I served for eighteen years.  They have set up a tent for worship (even though it still snows occasionally) since the structural damage is so great. The Itako church just north of Tokyo has a similar problem although a complete new building is not necessary.  They are meeting in the kindergarten building some distance from the church.  The Kesennuma church has similar needs.

The JBU churches are bewildered by this figure, and yet it is far too little. Many cannot even fully support their pastor.  As a partner to them, we really need your help as well. Your gifts will not only help with supplies but it will help our churches to continue to minister to the thousands upon thousands displaced who are in the stricken areas now without home or income.  Earthquakes still rock this area, even today, as if there is not enough terror.  I believe that God is in charge but wants to work through you and me.  Does the scripture “let us not be weary in well-doing” apply to you?”  If it does not apply, then God is surely asking you to get involved?. 

You Can Help The quickest way to get money here is to send it through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, or you may give it directly online.  Checks should be made out to International Ministries. http://www.internationalministries.org/items/221

My prayer for all my friends in distress (and you too) is that you can:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s might hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  I Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)

Roberta

To find additional information on the International Ministries website, including missionary journals, prayer requests, news updates and how to give to Japan relief, click here