Monday, March 14, 2011

...and we pray

A friend of mine, Esther, sent me this email from her pastor yesterday. I read it this morning and was completely moved and aware of how much we need to pray.

I copy and pasted the email below so you could be aware of whats going on in Japan as well. It's times like these that I feel so helpless and so unaware and so...we pray.


Geoff Bradford posted a prayer entitled "How to Pray for Japan -- From Danielle (formerly Guevara)" in the group Site Group:

Danielle & Matthias sent this to me--thought I'd pass it along. She was a liberti missionary for several years in Japan...

Dearest Friends,

Matthias and I really wish we could be in Japan right now. Oh, that God will use this suffering to draw millions of Japanese to Himself! I used to live in Sendai, the city closest to the epicenter and am still waiting to hear back from church friends and former English students. I used to teach an English class 3km from the shore where the tsunami hit and donot know if the students are okay.

We didn't know if beloved missionary friends in Sendai, Cal and Edie Cummings, were okay until late last night. Their daughter wrote,"After trying every couple minutes for about 17hrs, my brother Luke was finally able to get through to my parents on their landline. They have no water, gas, or electricity, but they are alive and their house is still standing. Their whole neighborhood is fine. They live far enough inland (8mi) that they did not get any flooding." The daughter of other missionary friends in Sendai writes, "Par ents' house and possessions destroyed."

This might be a helpful list of how to pray for Japan right now. Part of it comes from a message I received it from the PCA missions group, Mission to the World.

Love and comfort for grieving families

Rescue for those who may be trapped/ buried alive

Safety from aftershocks, which have been quite large

Shelter for those whose homes are destroyed

Wisdom and clarity for response of Christians in Japan

Open doors for Christians in Japan to share the gospel

Restoration of power and communication

To give some background to the spiritual condition of the area hardest hit:

The areas affected by the earthquake and tsunamis of Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaraki are some of the most spiritually needy places in Japan. With over 4.9 million people yet only about 9,000 active Christians (about 0.15%). Fukushima has the lowest average worship attendance with only 19 per church. There are one city and 44 towns with no church. There are 86 missionaries assigned to these prefectures.

One town in Ibaraki has over 46,000 people with no church and several others have over 24,000 people with no churches. Average attendance for all the churches in Japan is the lowest in Fukushima prefecture. Ibaraki prefecture has the least number of people claiming to have any religious beliefs. (Sources: CIS News 12/2012, JEMA Directory 2010)

Here is a clip from my former team leader, Michael Oh:

"Over the years I've often described our mission in Japan as praying and preparing toward the day of opportunity in Japan. In the back of my mind I've often thought of the possibility of great suffering being a part of the opening of the heart of the great nation of Japan. A massive earthquake or a nuclear missile from North Korea topped the list of possible devastating ways the Lord might awaken that nation that I love. This, perhaps, could be one of the ways the Lord pierces the darkness of Japan with His light (John 1:5)

Japan is the largest unreached nation in the world. In Japan they are reporting upwards of 1100 dead so far. Again, it is very possible that that number will multiply 10 fold. But every 11 days an equal number of Japanese (1100) take their own lives. In hopelessness they turn to suicide."

Mission to the World Japan team leader, Rev. Dan Iverson adds:

1100 killed= 12 day total of suicides in Japan

To put the spiritual darkness of Japan in perspective, Japan averages about 90 suicides per day. It is so sad that already 1100 people appear to have died in the earthquake/tsunami and that is making world-wide news. It needs to also break our heart that this very rich country is really so spiritually impoverished, with so many with no hope. But if indeed 1100 are dead from the killer earthquake, we need to also remember that a normal 12 days in Japan brings about this many suicides. But it does not make CNN news.

An exciting thought is that perhaps in these days there are more prayers being prayed for Japan throughout the world than at any time in the history of the world. What purposes could God have both in this tragedy and in the active response of the Church of Jesus Christ?

So please do pray. Pray not only for the physical life and well-being of the Japanese but for their spiritual salvation. And may the prayers of Christians around the world be used not only to bring the comfort of Christ to Japan but also as a prayer tsunami to break the powerful dams of the rock-hard hearts of the Japanese.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Office Space

So most of us spend a lot of time in our offices. As a counselor, it is really important to have a calm, welcoming, soothing environment. Since I am not a calm, welcoming or soothing person, I needed to work really hard to make my office display these characteristics.  To celebrate my 8 month anniversary at PIT, I have decided to post pictures of my office space, a "then-and-now" if you will. I would like to note the lamp in the corner cannot be used because I would need a desk lamp in order to see anything in my office (if anyone has one, I will gladly take it off your hands). Also, I asked if I bought the paint if I could paint my office when I moved in. The office manager said no, but you can buy two posters and hang them up wherever you like! So really it's like the same thing.

And yes, that is a microwave on the ground under the double trash cans.

Tomorrow I'll take pictures of Tim's office and you can compare and contrast the two very different counseling environments :)  Enjoy.

Phat Tuesday

I'll be there. So should you.