Japan Missionaries and Their Partners

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Missionaries George and Ruth Young live in a port city northeast of Tokyo, closer to the quake epicenter and more at risk from tsunami.  Although Ruth left for the U.S. to welcome a new grandchild just before the quake, George was home when it happened and quickly made his way to a 30 foot (10 meter) hill near their home.  By God's grace he is physically well.  Meanwhile, Rev. Yoshida, moderator of the Reformed Church of Japan and pastor of the Sendai Reformed Church was very near the epicenter.  He writes of God's grace for his congregation in the midst of this disaster in a letter to all members of the Reformed Church of Japan that should soon be posted on our website.

As you have seen on the news travel and communication remain very difficult.  The full extent of the damage and final death toll will be some time in coming.  Many bodies will never be found.  The rebuilding process, even in an economically developed country like Japan, will extend for years. 

For 60 years the Christian Reformed Church, through World Missions and Back to God, has been deeply involved in Christian outreach among Japanese people.  Our partner there, the Reformed Church of Japan, consists of about 9,000.  Many of the congregations are quite small.  50 people give sacrificially and of their lives to witness for Christ in a society where about 1% know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Pray for the Reformed Church of Japan in these days as they reel from their own losses, and seek to communicate the unshakeable love of God in Jesus.

For updates on the CRC's response to the situation, visit www.crcna.org/Japan

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I was pleased to see this reference in the above note (located on FACEBOOK):

**Gary Bekker, director of CRWM, says that his agency has turned the request for possible help over to the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) whose international disaster relief officials will be in contact with the church in Japan to see how the agency can help. CRWRC will likely be working with other organizations as well.**

Although the scope of this disaster and responses to it are beyond the response capacity of the RCJ, we are in Japan denominationally because of our missional link to the RCJ. Our (CRCNA) response to this disaster can/should have an intentional link to the RCJ -- both to assist them directly with their parish needs and also to assist them in providing relief to their wider communities as a broader testimony to Chirst's presence in Japan. Let's ask them how we can assist them.

So, while CRWRC may work with other partners with techical experience in disaster response, some clear, visible component of our response should assist the RCJ in the two directions I have suggested. Undoubtedly, we will raise an amount that is larger than can be administered by the RCJ, but within than amount we can intentionally affirm our missional link the Japan. 

Wayne de Jong from CRWRC has been in contact with the diaconal committee of the Reformed Church in Japan.  I've seen some email traffic on this, but we are still at a very early stage.  As more information becomes available, I'll try to post more.  Steve

I appreciate Dale's comments, and want him and others who see these posts to know that we are indeed working meaningfully with our church partners here, the Reformed Church in Japan (RCJ). Dale should know that as Christian Reformed World Mission's team leader in Japan, I have been meeting and interacting with the Reformed Church in Japan's Diaconal Action Committee as well as staying in close contact with CRWRC, and response is being coordinated with our RCJ partners and those our mission is connected with less directly as well, such as Food for the Hungry (whose local organization is known as Japan International Food for the Hungry, with whom both we and the RCJ folks work) and with the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association (JEMA) of which we are a member mission. Our RCJ friends are well informed about this posture. CRWRC has been very responsive to my advice, and I deeply appreciate both the spirit and content of the cooperation I am receiving. I am  also very grateful for many communications I have been receiving offering prayers and financial assistance, as well as words of comfort and encouragement, and I gladly refer their offers of financial assistance to CRWRC. 

Larry Spalink (posted from Tokyo)

Larry, thanks for filling in the details here.