Mission worker invites prayer, giving to help Japan
Canadian Conference of MB Churches news service
Although none of the 29 Mennonite Brethren churches and six MB Mission workers were in the tsunami/earthquake zone, all were affected by the March 11 disaster. Many have relatives in the disaster zone; every one feels the weight of their nation’s physical, emotional and spiritual need.
Laurence Hiebert, MB Mission worker in Japan from 1987 to 2009, asks North American Mennonite Brethren to pray with our Japanese brothers and sisters:
- that God will speak to those suffering loss and rebuilding their lives. According to Takanori Sasaki, chair for Japan Mennonite Fellowship (JMF), more than 10,000 are dead or missing, and 400,000 displaced.
- for a spiritual awakening. With only one church for every 16,000 people in Japan, the need for church plants is great.
- for Japan’s government and economy. The disaster destroyed businesses and infrastructure, affecting imports and exports in a country already carrying trillions of dollars in debt.
- that God will comfort, guide, empower and sustain believers as they share love and hope with those suffering around them.
With more than 1,800 of Mennonite World Conference’s (MWC) approximately 3,000 members, the Japanese MB Conference is the largest Mennonite/Brethren in Christ group in Japan. “They will need help in explaining how our God would allow something like this to happen,” says Hiebert. Let’s join him in praying: “May this tragedy be used for good by our Lord who loves Japan deeply.”
North Americans interested in helping with relief efforts have several options for contributing to recovery efforts.
Though they have no programs or staff in Japan, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is collecting donations for like-minded organizations already on the ground, including MWC, Church World Service and members of Canadian Churches in Action.
Japanese Evangelical Missionary Association (JEMA), an evangelical missions umbrella organization of which the MB churches are members, recommends Christians support CRASH – Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope – working with Japanese churches to provide relief and assistance in the devastated area.
At a disaster relief office in Sendai, Japan’s national food bank Second Harvest (2HJ) is establishing a network of donated items, evacuation sites, safe delivery routes, and information regarding victims’ needs. 2HJ currently sends two four-ton trucks of food and supplies into Sendai every second day.