One year after the triple disasters finds nearly 20,000 dead, 400,000 displaced, over 1 million buildings destroyed, and very little rebuilding. Much of the debris has been removed, equivalent to 120 years of the whole nation’s garbage. Encouragement has come as where Ishinomaki City had 7 churches before the disaster, now it has four more, and counting! Converge Disaster Response ministry is now focusing on long-term help for people and building community. The Samaritan Purse rebuilding project will soon be completed with 400 homes rebuilt! March 2-4 will bring Franklin Graham to Japan for a series of meetings in Sendai to celebrate hope. Pray that all believers helping to alleviate suffering would be re-energized for more ministries to victims.
March will be a busy month with 13 people coming on Converge Worldwide teams. Yas Yoneda, Team Coordinator, along with Craig Nasson from Ludington MI arrive on March 16. A team of 5 from Canada arrives March 23 for two weeks. After Field Council, Asia Director David Jahnke, Nate Jahnke and Chloe Milhous will join the gang working in Ishinomaki. These teams will wrap up their work around April 15th. Pray that they would be effective in bringing the hope of Christ to victims through word and deed ministry. More prayer info on these teams visit http://groups.google.com/group/Pray4Japan/topics. More teams are coming throughout 2012.
Mar 2-4 Speaking at Meadows Christian Fellowship, Rolling Meadows, IL (Our Home Church)
Mar 5-8 John at Trinity Seminary class with Dr. Ed Stetzer and others
Mar 11 Speaking at Evangel, Wheaton IL
Mar 13-15 John to attend Converge Ignite Church Planting Conference near Phoenix
Mar 18 Four Generation Mehn Reunion
Mar 24-25 Speaking at Fox River Baptist, Appleton, WI
Mar 29 Attending Converge MidAmerica Banquet
1. Ask God to equip us to be great encouragers during our travels on Home Assignment.
2. Continue to pray for an answer to our financial support needs as we are over $850/mo. short and will not return as scheduled until we raise more funds.
3. Ask God to bless by granting us wonderful times with our families while in the US.
4. Ask God to grant good unity and clear direction as the Japan Field Council meets March 28-31.
5. Pray for wisdom and skill as John is working on a paper on reproducing churches to be presented on April 13 at the Evangelical Missiological Society regional meeting in Colorado.
A recent article from LA Weekly compared what American people in LA think Japanese eat. I have no idea what LA people are, let alone what they would think about what Japanese eat, but it is an insightful article.
Having lived in Japan over 26 years we get asked all the time what we eat in Japan. Some people seem to have an exaggerated understanding of what Japanese eat. Their impressions are usually the things that people would consider inedible or strange to eat.
While we are in the US we normally don’t eat Japanese food because we have missed many US favorites since we were gone. Unless my wife prepares it usually we pass on Japanese food in the US. It is not as good and is usually on the high end. I am pretty right in guessing that the best sushi in the world is not in the American Midwest. We would probably only venture into a restaurant that was frequented by Japanese nationals, as they know what authentic is.
It seems the people in LA have more exposure to Japanese culture and have a better understanding of normal Japanese eating habits. I was delighted to see 3 of my top 6 favorite Japanese foods on what Japanese commonly eat. Not one was on the list that LA people think Japanese eat. Proves I am not from LA, I guess. The article is at http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2012/01/japanese_venn_food_diagram.php
In Disaster Response ministry already much has been accomplished. (See this posted video.) Things are getting done with a recent dedication of three more completed homes. Concerts and other community events are ongoing to connect with the community. There is still so much to do.
1. Ask God to grant permanent meeting places for café ministry, Bible studies, and public worship services.
2. Pray for the preparation of several teams heading to Japan next month to continue ministry.
3. Pray for partnership with SOLA, a non-profit organization started by the Kokubunji church, to meet the needs of children and youth.
“Thanks for coming! We can understand more clearly your challenges in Japan.” January was a busy yet rewarding month. We have already been in three states sharing in homes and churches the ministry God has called us to in Japan. Over the next 6 months we plan to visit at least one half of our partnering supporting churches plus responding to other opportunities with churches and individuals. And we desire to exceed 100% financial support. We are also recruiting more team members for disaster response ministry in Japan.
1. Pray that we would connect with people in the US, we have been gone so long.
2. Pray for safety in travel, especially in these winter months (schedule below).
3. For more individuals and churches to partner with us in Japan ministry.
02/02 – Grayslake IL, Home Group
02/04 – Morris IL, Home Meeting
02/05 – GracePoint Church Belvidere, IL
02/10 – First Baptist Church, Augusta WI
02/11-14 Cumberland Baptist Church, Cumberland, WI
02/15-18 Meetings in Twin Cities
02/19 – Elim Church, Minneapolis, MN
We enjoy weekly visits by our granddaughter, Molly. Being in the US is a great time to spend quality time with our immediate family, children, granddaughter, and other extended family. John’s mother is 90 years old and both our children live in northern Illinois now. We juggle both being on tour and being nearby our family.
1. That we would have quality time with all our family while in the US.
2. After ending a contract job, for Tim to find a permanent welding position.
Though there is much work to be done, disaster victims do have time to thank those who have helped them. If you donated funds, worked as a volunteer, or prayed for disaster response ministry this video is especially for you.
Over 9 months later, people in the disaster area still live in temporary homes. Half of the 61,000 homes in Ishinomaki were lost in the tsunami. Difficulty still continues. More homes need to be rebuilt.