John and Elaine Mehn

Archive for March, 2011

Churches Shattered

March 31st, 2011 by John

Today we were meeting for our Converge Worldwide Japan Field Council. We have been planning on our response to the triple disasters of March 11th. More coming very shortly. Jeff Chapman, who went on a relief trip (see previous posts) to Kessenuma and Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture a week ago, shared some photos and video of his trip. The destruction is what we have seen elsewhere but it was encouraging to hear how they were helping people with relief supplies, people who would have nothing without it.

Kessenuma had a population of over 73,000 people but only three churches with about 120 attendees before the earthquake and tsunami. One church is no doubt completely gone from the tsunami. Of the over 400 churches in the hard-hit areas no one yet knows the big picture condition of all the church buildings, congregations, and pastors. No doubt Christian witness in this area was heavily affected by the March 11th events. PRAY for each church and membership. May each of these people share the joy and hope in Christ to their neighbors. PRAY too that Christian relief groups could assist those churches to minister in the communities God has called them to minister too.

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Rengo and Converge Respond

March 29th, 2011 by John

Our Asian Area Director and I met with Pastor Yonai and Pastor Sasaki, the Rengo General Affairs director to discuss Converge Worldwide and our CW Japan Team response with these Rengo leaders. Pastor Hiroaki Yonai is the chairman of the Japan Baptist Church Association (Rengo) and the pastor of the Kokubunji Baptist Church in West Tokyo.

Pastor Yonai had just returned from a trip north to Higashi Matsushima City in the hard-kit area of Miyagi Prefecture. Pastor took his team of three trucks and 10 people to assist out this church as there were no one helping out in this community. At the time of the tsunami they had escaped to the second floor. The water covered the first floor and the pastor and his family had to be rescued by Japan self-defense forces by boat. When they returned to the church Pastor Tanaka’s wife almost collapsed when she saw the damage.

This volunteer relief team cleaned out the first floor of the church and removed the mud that was left after the tsunami. They also helped several people in the community get out of their homes, especially the elderly. In the evening they set up a soup kitchen and served hot food for 170 people. The area was without gas so many had not had a hot meal in days. The people in the community described them as “volunteers of Christ.” What a testimony to the community! Since Pastor Yonai’s team has left there have been two other teams that have entered the area to continue the relief work. They plan to return to the area in about a week.

The estimate population in 2010 of this Higashi Matsushima city was 42,762. 729 so far have been reported killed due to the earthquake and tsunami. This Bible church is the only church listed for this entire city. They report that this church started in 1951 has an average attendance of 36 for Sunday worship. This is typical of the progress of the gospel in this unreached people group. They need outside help to continue relief work to their needy neighbors, and they need help to bring the gospel to the entire city. Both are daunting tasks that deserve your prayers, gifts, and personal involvement. Pray for Pastor Tanaka, his church, and their continual ministry to people of this entire city.

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CRASH base now in Hitachi

March 29th, 2011 by John

In Hitachi, CRASH Japan’s second hub for support and hope has been established. A core team left Tokyo on Friday, March 25, to set-up the new base-camp in Ibaraki. In line with the goal of helping churches share love and hope with their communities while meeting their practical needs, CRASH Japan is searching for potential base sites in each of the affected areas of Tohoku. Once a location has been chosen, a team is sent to set-up, prepare to receive volunteer teams and most importantly contact local churches to see how CRASH Japan can serve them.
“This is a nice, safe place,” said CRASH Japan Operations Manager Caleb Eby, about the new base site located just south of Fukushima. “The base-camp is outside of the worst hit areas, but is within traveling distance for volunteer teams. The base will be able to help the churches in the local communities, as well as people who have evacuated from Fukushima and those still in the stricken areas.” In order for these base-camps to reach the worst affected areas CRASH Japan teams need fuel. While supply chains are slowly being repaired in major cities, many people outside in the hardest hit areas need aid to come to them. FROM http://crashjapan.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=95%3Apress-release-march-26-2011&catid=26%3Apress-releases&Itemid=4&lang=en

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Continue to Pray for Japan

March 26th, 2011 by John

PRAY that God would bring the Hope of Christ through Christian relief efforts by the Japan Evangelical Association, CRASH Love-On-Japan, Japanese churches and denominations, and Christians throughout the region.

ASK God to grant each church a special measure of peace for their community that they may be safe places of calm. PRAY too that they may help the grieving. Everyone knows at least someone in the affected areas.

Government leaders like Prime Minister Kan remind us that the end is not yet in site of controlling the awesome forces of nature in the #1 Fukushima plant. PRAY for God to work miraculously and for the skill, wisdom and the strength of the workers.

Our Converge Worldwide Japan Team has our Field Council next week when we meet with our Asian Director to pray, discuss, and strategize ministry in light of the disaster here. PRAY for wisdom, faith, clarity of purpose in these vital plans.

For those wanting more prayer information.
24 hour prayer room – http://www.24-7prayer.com/signup/75b4d4
English prayer list http://www.crashjapan.com/crashjapan/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=315

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Continue to Give Generously

March 26th, 2011 by John

On Friday, Converge Worldwide sent an additional $15,000 for Japan relief work through CRASH Japan, this is in addition to the $20,000 already sent. This Japanese based evangelical relief organization is a cooperative effort of both missionaries and Japanese leaders. Funds are helping set up relief bases in the hard-it areas and buying necessary relief supplies. Thank you for this giving that brings smiles and shares hope. PRAY that all needed funds will be received as they are needed. GIVE to Converge Worldwide and their cooperative efforts with people on the ground in Japan www.convergeworldwide.org/giveJapan.

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Christian Congressman has Hope

March 26th, 2011 by John

Japanese Congressman Ryuichi Doi became emotional as he walked the streets of Sendai for the first time since the tsunami waves devastated the city. There was so much damage, so much destruction. So many people lost their lives. So many people don’t know where to turn for help. “It was such a big disaster,” he said. “But we must have hope. We must overcome. We must overcome.”

Congressman Doi has been instrumental in getting emergency relief supplies from Samaritan’s Purse into the affected area. He personally assisted our team to ensure the immediate issuance of travel permits for emergency access to highways and priority gasoline rations. He also has been a key partner in mobilizing the relief effort through the local church.

As one of the few Christians in the Japanese parliament, he knows the Japanese people need more than physical aid. “This is my responsibility, to tell the people,” he said. “As a Christian, and also as a politician. Let’s start from this. Let’s have hope. We need faith. If we don’t have faith, nobody can have hope. Here in Japan we are a very small group, as Christians in this society. So we must tell them how to have faith. “From this situation, people can live again.”
From http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/people_can_live_again Also an interesting video of him surveying the damage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLILuVFIKyQ&feature=player_embedded#at=22

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Tsunami of Prayer for Japan

March 26th, 2011 by John

Join us in a Tsunami of Prayer for the Heart & Soul and of Japan!
By Carlton and Joshua Walker

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing 30-foot tsunami on March 11 were the worst in Japan’s recorded history. The devastation they wreaked, along with the continuing dire threat of escaping radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plants, has led both Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Naoto Kan to call this Japan’s worst crisis since World War II.

The disaster struck an area unknown to most foreigners and Japanese; visitors and locals alike tend to gravitate to the southern half of Honshu Island, where the metropolises of Osaka, Tokyo, and Yokohama are concentrated. In the worst hit areas near the northern town of Sendai, close to the epicenter of the earthquake, harsh geography and icy temperatures are still complicating the rescue and relief efforts—and continue to produce stories of singular heroism.

The northern Japanese have been patiently enduring a chaotic response from their national government, freezing weather and a continuing threat of dangerous radiation. All the missionaries are safe, but souls of millions of Japanese still hang in the balance.

The power of moving water is greater than most of us can imagine. Nothing stands before it. We are driven to our knees. But the Spring of Living Water is even more powerful! All will bow down to Him and all nations will serve Him.

The power of an earthquake is more frightening than many of us can comprehend. The force of the quake was so strong that it literally moved the entire island of Honshu 8 feet to the east. But the Unshakable One is even more powerful! He is the Rock of Ages and will reject no one who comes to Him.

The prospect of a nuclear meltdown is more terrifying than all of us can fathom. It could poison life on our entire fragile planet! How can we respond? In times like these, we avail ourselves of prayer because the power of prayer is stronger than the combination of an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear crisis. In moments like these, we are almost instinctively drawn, if not driven, to prayer.

“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11-12)

Prayer is the gentle whisper. Prayer is the presence of the Father in these perilous times!

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Sat 3/16 Update

March 26th, 2011 by John

Recovery efforts continue throughout the hard-hit areas, many people are still hurting without needed food, water, and medical care. Major efforts continue to restore cooling systems at the Fukushima #1 nuclear plant and the environment continues to be impacted. The Japanese people continue to struggle on some in desperation. Many are banding together to give hope and consolation in the midst of this terrible triple tragedy of the earthquake, tsunami, and leaking radiation. This will be a marathon of recovery. Some videos recommended are
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U61_r6QIMsc and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq6uPTAuhA. Continue in prayer, generous giving, and personal involvement. The Japanese all need our help right now.

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Teaming Up for More Relief

March 26th, 2011 by John

CRASH Japan reports that the reopening of expressways in Miyagi Prefecture means they will be able to move needed relief supplies and will soon be able to open their second and third base camps in Sendai. But along with needed relief supplies is the need for people to be touched by Christian believers in relief volunteer teams with the message of hope. Love-On-Japan Relief Volunteer Director, Bryan Thompson, explains, “At the present time we are prioritizing teams from Japan…. We hope to be prepared to receive teams from overseas in the coming week…. This is a huge, huge task ahead of us.” http://crashjapan.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=90%3Apress-release-march-24-2011&catid=26%3Apress-releases&Itemid=4&lang=en

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Proud to be Japanese!

March 26th, 2011 by John

From Yahoo News
In Soma, a hard-hit town along the Fukushima prefecture coast, rubble covered the block where Hiroshi Suzuki’s home once stood. He watched as soldiers dug into mounds of timber had been neighbors’ homes in search of bodies. Just three bodies have been pulled out. “I never expected to have to live through anything like this,” he said, mournfully. Suzuki is one of Soma’s lucky, but the tsunami washed away the shop where he sold fish and seaweed.
“My business is gone. I don’t think I will ever be able to recover,” said Suzuki, 59. Still, he managed to find a bright side. “The one good thing is the way everyone is pulling together and helping each other. No one is stealing or looting,” he said.
“It makes me feel proud to be Japanese.” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110325/ap_on_bi_ge/as_japan_earthquake

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