Heavy rains moving up north and we are reported that some rivers flooded in Tohoku, especially Miyagi prefecture. CRASH Japan is collecting information. Please keep praying for the survivors.
On November 24th and 25th of November the 4/14 Window movement arrived in Japan culminating a year of preparation with the first national conference encouraging a focus on children for God’s kingdom.
Pastors Nam Soo Kim and Herman Mendoza from Promise Church in New York, Jess Curabo of AWANA Asia and Ruby Johnston of World Without Orphans were international guest speakers joined by dozens of locals who led practical workshops or shared the importance of children and youth from a Japanese perspective.
The reality of the Japanese context is that nearly half of churches no longer have a regular children’s ministry. This is partially due to the changing demographics of Japan’s population that has steadily become silver, but in the church it is even more extreme.
For humanitarian organizations like CRASH Japan and Samaritan’s Purse it means that local churches are more likely to be connected to the elderly than responsive to the needs of children in their communities. Since both the elderly and children are the most vulnerable when disasters strike it is paramount that the church serve both and build up trust and relationship with children and the elderly before a crisis.
The 4/14 Window Movement has made a good beginning in Japan. Our hope is that over the next few years regional groups could be formed to bring the focus on children to every part of Japan.
CRASH Japan’s child trauma program OperationSAFE joined twenty-six organizations in Seoul to collaborate to explore rescue plans for North Korea
SEOUL, Korea (October 23, 2014) — A consultation initiated by Cornerstone Ministries International with 26 other ministry organizations resulted in several core values established for delivering the Gospel to North Korea: “Servanthood,” “Faithfulness,” and “Management by Obedience to God.”
This was agreed to by everyone at the gathering, with an ultimate goal of furthering an indigenous, self-sustaining church in North Korea that is holistic, healthy, and Christ-centered.
The consultation led to three rescue scenarios:
Scenario 1 – current situation remains the same;
Scenario 2 – the country opens up;
Scenario 3 – Collapse.
The consultation also explored 11 possible ministry tasks: 1. Disaster Recovery, Child Trauma, Food; 2. Medical intervention; 3. Church Planting; 4. Bible and Literature Distribution; 5. Children/Youth/Family Ministry; 6. Communication; 7. Leadership Training; 8. Prayer (Intercession & Covering); 9. Community Development; 10.Foundations; 11. Ministries.
One example of action considered in Scenario 3, with a possible sudden collapse in NK would be: Disaster Recovery Team deploying rapid assessment teams and mobilizing global disaster network response. Child trauma teams would launch camps in two months and run for two years. Volunteers would need to be mobilized for response, along with a Food Team bringing food into the country with local distribution during the crisis. Additionally, medical teams would be organized to rescue refugees from health threats and supply medicine to existing health care centers.
All who were gathered committed themselves to advance their action plans and to participate in the upcoming “Mayday Mayday Mayday” conference to be held on April 29~ May 1, 2015.
NK consultation delegates are inviting others who share this vision to join in partnership. The criteria for inclusion in the partnership is Kingdom theology, integrity, and Christ-like character. Please join by going to www.rescuenk.org and signing up for partnership.
In Hiroshima, CRASH coordinated with the Hiroshima Senkyou Kyourokukai (a group of Hiroshima pastors) and Japan International Food for the Hungry (JIFH), who ran a volunteer center in a church annex. No records were kept for August, but in September, there were 360 volunteers representing 84 churches or other Christian organizations (plus additional volunteers from local churches who cleaned the volunteer center and cooked dinner every evening that were not recorded). Their combined work totalled almost 900 days of work. Most of those volunteers were local and didn’t stay at the center, but there were 315 man-nights of lodging during September – the center was hopping with people!
The volunteers were so effective at helping and encouraging victims that the city-based volunteer office started recommending us instead of themselves to the victims in the neighborhoods we served – the city volunteers changed every day, but we were more consistent.
Besides removing many tons of mud and dirt from houses, yards, streets, and canals, and beginning to repair the houses, two emotional care programs were done by volunteers from the center: a hand massage program with fragrant oils to help survivors with stress and let them tell their stories, and a flower project to give them a start on rebuilding their yards and gardens.
Most of the church-based volunteers for landslide relief were local to Hiroshima and registered directly with the volunteer center organized by Hiroshima Senkyou Kyourokukai (a group of Hiroshima pastors) and Japan International Food for the Hungry (JIFH). But CRASH volunteers also joined the effort and were able to make a difference.
Will Thompson of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes contacted CRASH with news that American pitcher Bryan Bullington, a Christian, was interested in lending a hand in the relief effort in Hiroshima. Bullington, who is currently a pitcher with the Hiroshima Carp, was the first overall pick of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft and has played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, and Kansas City Royals. Since Bullington is currently in rehabilitation we could not put him to work mucking out homes, but local pastor Hiroshi Horikawa had a better idea, visiting the Bairin Elementary School where students and staff had just begun classes after the school reopened. Thompson reports,
“On Tuesday, September 16th we visited Bairin Elementary School with Bryan Bullington, pitcher for the Hiroshima Carp, along with Rev. Horikawa of Mitaki Green Chapel, and Yusuke Yoshioka and myself from FCA Japan. The school is right in the middle of the area affected by the landslides and you could see the mud on the hills and in the street from the windows of the school. The principal said that right after the disaster over 600 people stayed temporarily in the school gymnasium with dozens still living there now weeks later. Thankfully, there were no lives lost among the students and families of the school despite being right next to the landslides. It was great seeing the joy and smiles on the kids’ faces when they were suprised by a visit to their classroom from a professional baseball player from their beloved Hiroshima Carp. According to the principal, this was the first time that a player from the Carp had ever come to visit the school. The teachers may have been the ones that were most excited with several of them freaking out over the surprise visit by the baseball star, being huge Carp fans themselves. Its amazing to see the influence that athletes have, and the potential to use that influence for the Kingdom and to bring true hope to people, especially out of disaster. We are really thankful for Bryan, for taking his time out to visit with and encourage the kids, and for our brothers and partners at CRASH Japan for providing the opportunity to serve and their tireless commitment to provide relief and the true hope of Jesus in the wake of disasters.”
CRASH has found that sports can be a wonderful way to bring recovery after disaster, helping children’s teams recover equipment and hold skills camps with help from professional players after the tsunami of 2011 and the tornado of 2012. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes has introduced players and partnered in these efforts.