In Ishinomaki the city where John volunteered the nearest church to the neighborhood he worked had water up to the first floor ceiling. The church was cleaned out and was used for a relief supply distribution center and where hundreds of people would drop by daily for supplies and a word of encouragement. The first worship service since the earthquake was held at the Ishinomaki Christ Church near the train station.
On 04/18 John Mehn talked briefly with famous Japanese artist Makoto Fujimura during his visit to this work site in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. John and volunteer team member Roger Olson were removing the flooring to be able to clean out the mud that entered this house. There were other volunteers helping as well.
John mentions to Makoto there were more deaths in Ishinomaki than in the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe in 1995. Also that even though Ishinomaki’s population is about 165,000 there are only about 6 or 7 churches with only about 130 people attending. The physical, emotional, and spiritual work needed ahead is overwhelming!
PRAISE the Lord of Heaven that John Mehn and Pastor Nakano arrived safely in Sendai. They said the roads in Miyagi Prefecture were quite bad and driving them at night was scary but God brought them safely through.
Today the Kokubunji Church Team is going to work in Ishinomaki City. The number of people killed or missing in this city alone equals the number killed in the Great Hanshin Earthquake. The Team has divided into 3 groups. PRAY for compassionate and listening hearts as one group makes and serves miso soup. PRAY for safety, strength, and opportunities to relate to those who have lost so much as a second group cleans up houses. (John Mehn, Converge Worldwide missionary, is in this group.) PRAISE God that public showers were donated and PRAY as they are set up today. Japanese are very hygiene conscious so making public showers available is a great blessing.
Joys and sorrows of disaster relief
John Mehn and the men he worked alongside were able to take the flooring out of the Suzuki’s house. The house had been flooded so everything was saturated. The grandfather would wash off the wood and hope it would dry out so it could be put back. PRAY that the help they received would encourage them and that the words they heard will draw them to Jesus. Today they will be working at a neighbor’s house. Yesterday they met the lady and were able to pray with her. PRAY for safety as they work and for more opportunities to share the love of Christ.
Yesterday’s soup group served 500 servings of soup and were able to share with several of the people who came through. One lady even asked for a Bible when she found out they were Christians. They also distributed necessary items. PRAY for those who received food that they would receive the “Food of Life” as well. Today this group will make and serve a Japanese sweet along with the items they distribute.
Today is a rainy day so please PRAY that the rain will stop or at least not cause problems. Especially PRAY that it will not be windy.
It is always great to see how God brings encouragement in the midst of loss. Each evening several relief agencies and church groups who are doing relief work gather at a local church to share what they did that day. PRAY that God would refresh these workers. The task before them is so overwhelming yet each act of kindness and help is such a blessing to the person who receives it.
I (John) leave today to head to Ishinomaki City in the hard-hit area to join a team which left on Thu. Would appreciate your prayers for strength, health, and a big heart.
TODAY BACKUP TEAM LEAVES FOR ISHINOMAKI
The relief team from the Kokubunji church arrived safely in Sendai Miyagi Prefecture on Thursday. They have been busy in several locations in Ishinomaki (see http://groups.google.com/group/Pray4Japan/browse_thread/thread/2c34f33bbdc99cba) working cleaning out houses and dealing with water damage from the tsunami. Today (Sunday) Pastor Nakano from the Crossroad church and missionary John Mehn will join the team bringing more supplies and tools. PRAY for preparations and safe travel and that they may be encouragers to those already there. The team along with cleaning homes and churches will be making special Japanese stew to serve to the people they have contacted. The team is expected to leave the hard-hit zone on Weds 4/20. PRAY that in these last days deep relationships will be formed with people of the community and connections for future team visits would be encouraged.
OTHER PRAYER REQUESTS
1. Pray for the people they will contact over the next week. May they show the love and compassion of Jesus.
2. Pray for healthy team relationships, may they support and encourage one another.
3. Pray for the health of each member of this team. May they be strong to deal with the conditions in the hard-kit area.
4. Pray for many other Rengo churches to be involved in team ministry in the affected areas. Pray that Converge Worldwide would be a valuable partner in relief and recovery in the affected areas. Maybe you and your church.
PRAY FOR ISHINOMAKI
Until 3/11 nearly 165,000 people lived in Ishinomaki. This city only has 7 churches which average only 19 in attendance each Sunday. Imagine the difficult task of these nearly 130 Christians sharing the gospel with all their neighbors. They need our help! Imagine the challenges that this disaster has brought to each of these churches, their facilities, their pastor and members families. This is a great opportunity for the rest of the church, in Japan, and around the world to make an impact in a community that has great needs at this time. They deserve your prayers.
Updates on the disaster response in Japan, the spiritual climate, Christian relief efforts, and daily prayer items at this website but we have moved mission related prayer information to a new location (next below).
We have also set up a website for general prayer for the Converge Worldwide Response to the trio of tragedies. Please encourage everyone to interested in praying for our response to this disaster to sign up as a member. http://groups.google.com/group/Pray4Japan
To provide a wider group for intercession for Japan we are migrating Converge Worldwide related prayer items to our new google groups site. You can read them online if you wish or please sign up to receive these updates directly as they are generated. http://www.gospelrest.com/japan-prayer-group/
This site will be used for prayer and information related to the ministry of John and Elaine Mehn. More general disaster response information will be posted at the Google Groups site. http://www.gospelrest.com/japan-prayer-group/
Thanks for your prayers and your understanding.
Please pass the word around for those interested in praying for Japan during the recovery from this record breaking disaster.
Here is an update from Converge Worldwide Missionary Jeff Chapman. We are migrating Converge Worldwide related prayer items to our new google groups site. Please sign up to receive these updates. http://www.gospelrest.com/japan-prayer-group/
Fri 10:43AM (JST) Just got off the phone with Jeff Chapman who with another driver, Hiro, has just arrived in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. He just reported that the main expressways were closed due to last night’s record 7.4 aftershock (we also just heard that two people were killed due to the quake). Other roads are closed and the power is out in places meaning there are no traffic lights. He even drove over a bridge that was noticeably damaged. Cell phone coverage is also out. He heard the city seemed back to near normal yesterday but now has taken a few steps backward due to the quake. They are trying to make it to the Sendai CRASH center where they hope to meet up with the rest of their team. PRAY that they connect with their team. Hidaka san from Jeff’s church is also with the team. ASK GOD that they find the most needy people to share their limited relief supplies. PRAY too that there would be no more aftershocks.
Jeff also asks for prayer that he may make contact with a Christian family in Kessenuma (where he was last trip). Jeff has mutual friends who know this family’s daughter, who is a Wycliffe missionary in Southeast Asia. The parents lost their home in the tsunami along with their Sunday meeting place for worship. PRAY that Jeff would make contact with them and be an encouragement to them.
Please Join to the Pray for Japan – Disaster Response group!
This is a prayer group for those interested in praying for the Christian response to the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami of 3/11. Prayer requests and answers will be shared regarding the coordinated efforts for spiritual, emotional and physical ministry of Converge Worldwide Japan mission team, the Rengo association of churches, and other broader cooperative organizations like CRASH, JEA, and JEMA.
This google group will include prayer for 1) Christian churches affected, 2) churches partnering with churches, 3) volunteer teams deployed, and 4) career and short-term workers ministering in disaster response. 5) Prayer will also be mobilized for evangelism, discipling, leadership development, and church multiplication especially within the hard-hit areas.
The first response for many Christians to this crisis was prayer. Prayer is a right of a Christian believer and a responsibility we all share. All Christian ministries, especially in the midst of crisis, must be undergirded through prayer.
We desire a tsunami of prayer by God’s people for Japan at this crucial time.
INTENSIVE PRAYER TEAM
John and Elaine Mehn
Accelerating Spiritual Renewal and Church Planting Movements
Converge Worldwide (BGC) Missionaries to Japan
JAPAN SUFFERS GREAT DISASTERS – As many of you already know Japan suffered a 9.0 magnitude earthquake on 3/11, followed by a devastating tsunami, and a growing nuclear crisis at one nuclear plant. The effect of this triple tragedy is today still staggering.
CRISIS OR OPPORTUNITY? – Many of us serving Christ in Japan see out of this tremendous chaos a great opportunity to serve the Japanese people in the name of Christ, one we have been waiting for years. Many of us who serve as pastors and missionaries in Japan have always thought that one day God would bring a season of unusual opportunity for the Gospel. PRAY that the church would respond and the church would be the church for all those in Japan.
THE SCOPE OF THE RESPONSE – The scope of these record breaking triple disasters demands a response of great magnitude. Last week Converge Worldwide Japan drew up plans for prayer mobilization, recruiting short-term workers, volunteer teams, and funding of projects. Last week John withdrew his nomination for Field Coordinator of the mission so that he will have adequate time to serve as director of disaster response for Converge Worldwide Japan. The Rengo churches are making great efforts to pray, send supplies, raise up volunteer teams, and give generously so suffering will be minimized. PRAY that this compassionate response would grow for us personally, our mission, and our partners of the Rengo association of churches.
ARE YOU SAFE? We have appreciated all the messages of concern for our safety and the safety of our mission team and our church partners in the Rengo. We are glad to report everyone and every Rengo church is fine. We have been monitoring events very carefully since the earthquake. Aftershocks continue but not nearly as frequent, power blackouts are a decreasing possibility, we are still concerned for the nuclear plant but radiation levels in Tokyo are normal. Things are far from normal but we are not as nearly concerned for our safety.
MACHIDA HOUSE SHIPSHAPE – We are pleased to announce that all the soundproofing remodeling has been completed on our house and within days all the painting will be completed. The transformation is very startling. Even with the work, several sets of guests, the earthquake, and power outages Elaine was able to continue with all but one needlepoint class! With many quests already coming and many more no doubt to come to respond to Japan’s disasters it is great to have the house in tip top shape. Were open!
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN PRAY FOR US AND OUR MANY MINISTRIES
1. Elaine completed her Bible study in English series last month. There are plans to develop it further and use it in other contexts and churches.
2. Thank you for praying for our mission Annual Field Council. Due to the Japan disasters it was a significant meeting. Continue to pray that this year would be a great year of ministry impact by the entire mission.
3. Pray for John and the participants as they begin four-month’s of training in personal evangelism at the Crossroad church on April 17th.
4. John and Pastor Nakano of the Crossroad church will be heading to the disaster area April 17-20. They will be joining a volunteer response team from the Kokubunji church planning to leave on the 13th. Pray for all the preparations for each member and also for God to prepare hearts at our destinations. Pray for safety in travel and that we would find (or bring) enough gasoline.
5. John will be attending the KDK church planting seminar April 25-27. Pray that he would be a great encouragement and blessing to the 50 or so people attending.
6. Pray for the CPI Leadership Team as we consider the implications of this large disaster on our ministry of equipping and envisioning God’s workers for evangelism and church planting. All of the seminars planned for March were canceled. We have much planning to do regarding the scheduled November CPI National Conference.
The SCOPE OF THESE DISASTERS is staggering.
– The earthquake was the largest in Japan and one of the world’s largest earthquakes on record. The quake was 1,000 times larger than the quake that hit Haiti in 2010. The effect of the quake was felt nearly all over Japan. In Tokyo, 120 miles away, we had a 5.0 magnitude quake, it was that powerful!
– The tsunami was one that Japanese say only hits Japan every 1,000 years.
– And resolution is not concluded for a nuclear accident only second to the Chernobyl accident.
– Estimates of damages will top $300 billion, making this 3 times the 1995 Kobe quake, and 4 times that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
– These disasters have caused power blackouts hundreds of miles away, disruption of transportation and supply chains and threatening economic growth of the 3rd largest world economy.