Monday, March 14, 2011

When the Earth Gives Way

I haven't been able to turn off the TV as I've read my Bible the past couple of days. I am glued to the news, failed news writer and hater of bleak news stories that I am. The devastation in Japan is weighing heavy on my heart tonight as I try to focus on my Lent readings.

As a little kindergartner who was sad to be losing friends who were moving back to Tokyo, I vowed that I would learn the language and someday travel to their homeland. Thus began a journey that included years of language study (much of it resulting in tears and frustration), a strange call to ministry that I still don't fully understand, and two trips overseas to visit the land that God had placed on my heart. All these years later and my heart aches for the people of Japan--of whom only about 0.5 percent know Christ--in a whole new way.

This week, I am thankful that my friends who serve in Japan with Asian Access are okay. The entire mission was gathered together in the Nagano Mountains, just 200 miles from Sendai, for their annual ministry retreat. A time that was meant for reflection and refreshment became a time for prayer in the midst of total devastation.

On Friday, my friend Sue Takamoto wrote:

God’s timing is strange. Last Saturday Eric and I attended an all-day training to help Christians in Japan be prepared to respond in case of earthquake. Eric was supposed to teach that day, but we felt this was really important. We both sense that it is likely that Eric will go and be part of relief efforts. How thankful we are for God’s timing in preparing us to be able to more practically help. We will pray and wait to see how God may use our family, our mission, and the Church to bring much-needed relief as the days unfold. Our prayer is that God will quickly move and unite the Church to reach out during this terrible tragedy. The news that we are hearing is that it may be the worst earthquake in the history of Japan.

We also believe that God has our mission gathered at this time for His purposes. Pray that God will give us wisdom and allow us to be strategic in what will be challenging days ahead. We do pray that the God of Psalm 46 will bring hope to those who right now are buried in tragedy. (More on Sue's blog.)

Asian Access president, Joe Handley, writes along a similar vein:

We have been praying fervently and are convinced that this is a "kairos" moment for the Church in Japan. This is an historic opportunity for the Church to be the Church and rise up to serve the needs of the country in the name of Christ. We at Asian Access believe that God has called us similar to how Mordecai spoke to Esther centuries ago, "you have been called for such a time as this." (Read more at the Asian Access blog.)

Thanks to the many of you who have texted and called to find out how the Takamotos are doing and to say that you are praying for them and other Asian Access missionaries. It is encouraging to know that just as the Lord has been faithful to use them in their everyday comings and goings to "love people like crazy" (as Sue and Eric would say!), He will use them now in a special way.

I am praying Psalm 46 along with them:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging..."Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46:1-3, 10

To donate to Asian Access' relief efforts and join the work God is doing in Japan, please send checks marked
"Japan Tsunami Relief Fund" to:
Asian Access
P.O. Box 200
San Dimas, CA 91773 USA


David Freeman said...

Mike Huizinga lives over there.

Chelsea said...

Dave--I don't know Mike; just know the family name from WH. Is he doing okay?