Do Your Christmas Shopping In Japan

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In November 2014 the Onagawa Megumi Project opened an online store. Their unique products can be purchased online from Canada or the USA, and made great Christmas presents—especially for ladies. And all proceeds go toward helping rebuild the lives of some people in Onagawa.

The Onagawa Megumi Project is an income generating social enterprise that transforms vintage kimonos into beautiful products. The Megumi Project shares the love of Jesus Christ in a tangible way in the town of Onagawa, Miyagi-ken that was devastated by tsunami generated by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011.

The Project is a ReachGlobal and EFC of Germany initiative that the EFC of Canada Mission (EFCCM) is partnering with. The Project received over $30,000 from the EFCCM disaster fund for the construction of their working trailer where they make all their crafts.

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The EFCCM church planting ministry at Tokyo Multicultural Church (TMC), led by Dale and Ann Little, is closely connected with the Onagawa Megumi Project. Throughout 2014 TMC ladies have prepared kimono fabric for the Project by seam ripping many donated kimonos so the ladies in Onagawa do not have to do that time consuming work.

Several times in 2014 Dale and Ann delivered the prepared kimono fabric to Onagawa, and offered encouragement to the missionaries and workers there. They will continue to do this in 2015.

Wednesday Missionary Roundup

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Update from Mexico

In a post from Mexico called Fruit is Coming!, Lane and Sheri are excited to share the next steps of a youth outreach ministry.

“My vision in this ministry was (and still is) to pour into the more mature youth in our church and train them to lead this ministry, which they are now doing.  Those first months after we started, really that first year, had its share of bumps along the road.  The youth who were running it weren’t very faithful in showing up and taking much leadership and the kids who came from the shanty town absolutely bounced off the walls!  Well times have changed!”

Update from Japan

Japan is still in recovery mode from the devastating tsunami ~1.5 yrs ago. Dale and Ann have been exploring a variety of community-generating ideas, and they landed on sewing sandbags for seaweed growers. Seaweed is an important part of the Japanese diet, and the sandbags are a crucial component of . These sandbags weigh down the ropes embedded with seaweed seeds, which keeps them stable in the ocean water in the growing months.

The manufacturers of these sandbags have not been able be nearly keep up with demand. So Dale and Ann’s group of sewers has added to what’s available — enough that the growers can at least look forward to a nominally better crop next spring. Read more about this project, and the future dreams of what it could lead to, by clicking here.

Outreach to Kids in Fukushima

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This quick exceprt is from Laura, an EFCCM missionary in Japan:

Last weekend I went to Fukushima to volunteer as part of a CRASH Japan effort to help a network of churches in Fukushima City. The children in Fukushima are restricted from playing outside in many cases by parents who are worried about them accumulating radiation in their bodies. Therefore, the churches have planned recreational weekends for the area children and their families to travel to areas with lower radiation levels where they can play outside.

On this trip, we went to Aizu with the children and their families. As soon as the children saw the playground and surrounding wooded area, their faces lit up and they went running off the buses. They enjoyed a week end of playing basketball, soccer, tag, dodge ball, collecting stag beetles, etc. They also heard a ventriloquist who told them about Jesus. Many of the kids and their families are living under great stress and need the peace that Christ can bring. Last week I heard that above 30% of families in Fukushima city are living apart, as the father stays home to work and the mother and children live in areas with lower radiation levels.

Please continue to pray for the churches in Fukushima and CRASH Japan as the family of Christ tries to point the way to rest in Christ.

“Mother, Please Don’t Give Up!”

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This story of Ryuichi was shared by Bella Mori (missionary at the Sendai Izumi Evangelical Free Church) and is written by Ann Little.

Ryuichi lives with his mother and grandparents near the Sendai Izumi Evangelical Free Church (Sendai, Japan). He was born with some mental challenges and because of this, his father bullied him when he was very small. His mother decided to divorce, to protect Ryuichi from abuse. After the divorce, Ryuichi’s mother became discouraged about raising Ryuichi alone, and decided that suicide by jumping in front of a train was the only answer. Ryuichi was just a small child at the time and his mother was carrying him on her back. She lacked the courage to jump and four trains passed by, but as the 5th train came into sight, she resolved to jump. Just at that time Ryuichi said to her; “Mother, please don’t give up!” His words were enough to convince his mother to keep on living!

One day when he was 8 years old, he and his mother were walking by the Izumi EFC. Missionary Bella Mori greeted them and invited him to the children’s meeting. Ryuichi and his mother promised that they would come. However, when the time came for the children’s meeting, no one came. Bella was about to go home when Ryuichi and his mother arrived. His mother confided in Bella later, that she had had no intention of bringing him to the children’s time, but that Ryuichi had insisted that they come. He reminded his mother that she had promised, and she must keep her word. So she decided at the last minute to bring him.

Ryuichi has been attending Sunday school ever since that first meeting and has come to believe in Jesus. He is a changed boy; so much brighter and more cheerful than before. Even his grades at school have improved. He wants very much to please Jesus with his life. He has decided on his own that he will not participate in the community children’s club, because it requires that he carry the temple shrine at the festivals. It is a delight to see him grow in the Lord. Bella teaches him during Sunday school and Gina Lo looks after him during the church service. Gina and Bella have become second mothers to him. (photo attached)

Just a few months after Ryuichi started attending Sunday school his mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. When she and the grandmother told Bella about the tumor, Bella, Larry and Gina spent time praying for her. (Ryuichi confided to his grandmother that if his mother died, he would like to be adopted by the Mori family (Bella and Larry).) However, when the mother returned to the doctors for further tests, the tumor had completely disappeared! This was a wonderful miracle for this family!

Once when Bella was also passing out tracts in the area around the church, she met a neighbor. This lady was delighted to meet Bella, not only because she herself was a Christian, but because she also knew Ryuichi and had heard that he was attending Sunday School at the Izumi church. She had had a burden for Ryuichi and had wanted to take him to her church, but it was too far away. Now she was happy that there was a neighborhood church for him to attend.

Ryuichi is now 12 years old and has entered middle school. Once a student reaches middle school, there are always extra school activities held on Sunday that prevent young people from attending church. However, he has chosen an activity that allows him to continue to attend church on Sunday. Please pray that his mother, grandmother and grandfather will also come to believe in Jesus and that Ryuichi will continue to grow faithfully in the Lord.

Japan: Continued Quake Recovery and Developing Homeless Ministry

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Kurt connected with Home Office on Skype yesterday, and shared a thumbnail sketch of what’s happening right now in Japan.

CRASH (Christian Relief, Assistance, Support, and Hope) has obtained the Geiger counter that Kurt recommended. Starting in mid-March, CRASH will be using his experience to train personnel how best to use it as they continue to serve in the regions affected by the nuclear meltdowns. A Geiger counter informs its users what the radioactive conditions are in an area, which promotes safety and prevents the effects that more serious contamination would cause. For example, minor contamination on one’s hands can be taken care of by thoroughly washing them with soap and water. (We were not aware of that!)

Kurt would like to especially thank Ludlum Measurements Inc. — not only have they provided a wealth of training and support for the Geiger counter, they have pledged to provide support on an ongoing basis as well. With their help, CRASH was able to get the Geiger counter for far less than it would cost locally, and other partner organisations are planning to purchase their own units as well.

If you’re interested, this video describes the measuring device very well.

Please pray for CRASH. Japan’s immediate relief needs have been taken care of. But it seems like every day that local news announces a new threat of radioactive contamination which is affecting everything from residential construction to food supply. It’s putting everyone in every sector on edge, and people don’t know who to trust. There is a lot of fear, depression and despair. This is actually the most pressing need that CRASH has perceived.

CRASH is in a development phase. They are providing counselling, establishing coffee-houses, and building bridges to local churches where people can find real hope, despite their daily turmoil and uncertainty. Dale and Ann who recently returned to Japan, will be heavily active in this work as well.

In unrelated news, Kurt gave a mini-report of the growing homeless ministry in Japan, and there are exciting things happening!

Over Christmas, Santa showed up to offer the gospel message to the homeless people assembled.

McDonald’s gave the homeless ministry vouchers – enough to feed all the people that attend. This is a change from their typical bento boxes, and the novelty was appreciated by all.

An invitation was extended to several local churches for a clothing drive, and Kurt said this is the fullest his van has ever been!

It is exciting to see God at work, as he stirs hearts in his church to engage the needs in their city.