Osborne Jun 24 ’11
Since I last wrote, many things have happened here:
* Singaporeans Visit – four youth from Bedok church in Singapore came to Japan for 3 weeks. The disaster changed some plans, but they did participate in some of the relief work, and saw many friends in Japan. I was sorry that the timing was such that I was so tired, but I think they had a wonderful time anyhow. It was definitely encouraging for us.
* New AETs – we have several new AETs from America who have arrived and they are now trying to adjust to their lives here. Atsushi, Sasha and I hosted another weekend retreat for the foreigners in the middle of May to help with group bonding, spiritual focusing, and introducing them to Mito church. It looks like we may be blessed with a good group this year, and we’ll see how things take shape over the year. Alongside this, we began our new bible study series on Sundays from John’s gospel, and started new Wednesday night small groups.
* Mito Church – the church continues to be active, not only in various aspects of disaster relief, but also in our week to week church life. Sasha recently helped the church to kick off another season of outreach in EBC (English Bible Class). The numbers of AETs who volunteered to help in this outreach was significantly less this year, but the overall feeling of the orientation and first class was really positive. Atsushi and I are preaching from the book of 1 Peter.
* Disaster Relief – this has become a major part of my time and focus, now spending half of the week in Sendai/Ishinomaki and half of the week in Mito. The churches in Japan set up a nationwide committee of 10 members representing the nation’s churches which I co-chair with Shiro Obata. I will learn a lot from him and his experiences. The committee selected three young adults to work together with me in this effort: Gaku, Hiroaki and Emiko. Every week, we take groups of volunteers from the churches and partner together with Chad Huddleston and the B1/Asian Access network. For more information about this, please see the East Japan Relief blog . At the beginning of next month, we will post a report regarding the first two months of work (May/June) and then we hope to put up a monthly post with pictures and some of the information about our activities. I am amazed at how much good is coming out of something so bad. However, I also want to share that while the news of the tsunami and earthquake passed away a few months ago, it is still a very big reality for us and for so many people. The emotional toll is reeling and suicide rates are soaring.
In light of the current situation in Japan, my time is more precious and slim than ever. It doesn’t mean that I don’t try to take a few moments to breathe, but I seek your faithful prayers. Please continue both your spiritual and financial support.