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!
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of a baby but not just any baby. This was the Son of God being born in a lowly stable. Because He was willing to humble Himself, He lived a perfect life and became the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
Christmas in Japan is a mixture of attention given to the surface and ignoring the truth of the depth beneath. The stores are filled with decorations and Christmas songs which include hymns such as Silent Night and What Child is This. Shopping areas are decorated with Christmas lights and draw hundreds if not thousands to see the “illumination”. In the midst of all this “Christmas” the real reason for celebration is completely missed. The fact that December 25 is a work day as any other is a perfect reflection of what Christmas means to our neighbors and friends.
When Japanese were asked what Christmas meant, the answers ranged from Santa’s birthday to a time for partying with friends. Although few Japanese know the true meaning of Christmas, at this time of year they are very interested in listening or taking tracts or CD’s. It will take a work of God to touch the hearts of the Japanese but God is a miracle worker so we can be encouraged.
Please join us in praying that God’s Kingdom will come for many Japanese this Christmas season. Pray not only for those in Japan but for Japanese living around the world. This is the best time to witness for Christ so please pray for boldness shared in love for each of us and receptive hearts for those with whom we are sharing.