2016年 12月 07日
Japan Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Committee. Photo by Sendai-Taitomi baptist church'es Sunday worship on March 13.
BIBLE／the bread of life
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2014年 12月 31日
Central Committee for the World Council of Churches
“Statement towards a Nuclear-free World”
Even before the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, the Japanese Convention had declared to aim for a “non-nuclear, and non-military” society. This was declared in our 2008 periodic general meeting, in apprehension of the nuclear administration. Furthermore, the United Church of Christ in Japan adopted the “Declaration of the United Church of Christ in Japan against the Japanese Government’s Nuclear Policy” in 1987, showing the church’s stance that criticizes nuclear power generation to be strongly connected to nuclear weapons. The Catholic Justice and Peace Council also expressed their criticism. In a leaflet they printed in 2010, it was declared, “Nuclear power generation is not the answer to global warming! It will be catastrophic to the life and environment of this earth”. However the nuclear power disaster occurred despite these prior prophecy-like warnings. After the disaster, many denominations have raised their voices against nuclear power. On the 7th of July, t World Council of Churches central committee declared the “Statement towards a Nuclear-free World”. Now the churches of Christ through out the world are in faith, starting to raise their voices against nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
Furthermore, the Great East Japan Earthquake Support Team is taking action. We have been providing health examinations by doctors. We have lead recuperation programs, and have supported the moving process of households. We also have continued to monitor the radiation and have been working on “decontamination”. We must continue this long-term support.
The resumption of the nuclear power plants is being discussed. During this time, we need churches to understand this reality. We need more voices to be raised and need a continuation of prayers. We have published the faith driven and practical proposal. I encourage you to read the “Statement towards a Nuclear-free World”. The Japanese translation is uploaded on the Japanese Baptist Convention homepage.
Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, “Statement towards a Nuclear-free World”(D. Macintosh, Naoya Kawakami)
God is a generous Creator, calling life into being from atoms and molecules and endowing creation with life in abundance. To split the atom into deadly, unnatural elements already gives cause for serious ethical and theological reflection. To use the energy of the atom in ways that threaten and destroy life is a sinful misuse of God’s creation.
We are called to live in ways that protect life instead of putting it at risk – neither living fearfully, defended by nuclear weapons, nor living wastefully, dependent on nuclear energy. We are invited to build communities and economies in harmony with God’s manifold gifts and promises of life.
In the 1990s, when the Sahtu-Dene people of northern Canada learned that uranium from their lands had been used in the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, they sent a delegation of elders to Japan to apologize. We too have such a witness: to judge armaments and energy use by their effects on people and on God’s creation; to confess that our desires for material comfort and convenience insulates us from concern for the source and quantity of the energy we consume; to abandon all support for retaining nuclear weapons and refuse to accept that the mass destruction of other peoples can be a legitimate form of protection for ourselves. (Will be continued in the next issue.)
The Continuing Aid Work in the Devastated Areas.
The local support teams are continuing their visitations of people living in contemporary housing and visitations to local residents.
•Otsukacho city aid
•Kozuchi temporary housing #4 aid
•Kozuchi temporary housing#7 aid
•Ishinomaki city Motourayashiki aid
•Ishinomaki city Oshika peninsula
•Koriyama city Midorigaoka temporary housing aid
•Fukushima Shinobudai temporary housing aid
In August a DVD introducing the aid work that is carried out was made. We sent the DVD to churches through out Japan. Even now, we want more people to know about and to join the aid work that is being carried out. The DVD explains the aid work that is taking place in the places listed above.
Goal for 2014 Donations: 14mill Yen
Total Donations up to September: 5mill440thousand yen 8mill560thousand Yen to go!!!
Donators during August and September
Nara, Fukuma, Ijyuin Saba, Chofu, Nakano, Hirao, Yuko Kubo, Seinangakuin High School Student Society, Kansai Reimei, Utsunomiya, Omiya, Oita, Keisen, Sasebo, Hitachi, Nakano, Shionsan, Chofu, Takasu, Nankodai, Ainoura Hikari, Koga, Omura Koga Shima, Kagoshima, Akazuka, Ainosono Nursery
2014 Activity Plan (estimate for 2014)
(Donations will be used for the activities below)
•Support for Aid work in North East Japan
•Support for Tono Volunteer Center Aid work
•Work toward Nuclear Issues – Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant victims
•Activity fees for the support team
2014年 10月 13日
To all the churches through out Japan, thank you for your daily support through prayers and offerings. In North East Japan the hot summer has passed, and the people living in the temporary housing estates finally have some cool weather. The churches in North East Japan are planning to receive many student volunteers this summer from universities such as Seinan Gakuin. Please pray that each program will be protected and that each will be a place of new meetings and good work. In this issue we would like to focus on Fukushima Asahicho Church’s kindergarten, supported through the donations given to the convention’s donations. We will also focus on the aid work carried out by Yamagata Church, situated in a prefecture on the coast of the Sea of Japan.
Fukushima Asahicho Christ Church Report Thank you for your support and prayers. After the earthquake, many children and their parents left the kindergarten and church. However in 2014, we were able to build a home for the pastor in the church premises. The past 3 years, we have received many volunteers from all over Japan and from abroad. We are building a space of rest and healing for those many volunteers, and of course for those that are made to suddenly return to Fukushima. Currently at our church, we have 50 kindergarteners and students. The kindergarteners of Fukushima Kohitsuji Kindergarten were not able to play outside, but now that the school court has been decontaminated, the children are able to play outside for 30 minutes everyday. This decontamination of the area must be done repeatedly. (However, we must be weary not to touch any fallen leaves or flowers. What is more, the trees in the school garden such as the apricot trees, persimmon trees, and Yuzu trees had to be cut down.)
Since last year, through the support of the Japanese Baptist Convention, we have been able to hold two thyroid checkups for 120 people in the community. Many parents who have yet to test for thyroid cancer themselves are very thankful for the checkups provided by the church. What is troubling is the increasing emotional fatigue that adults are experiencing after the earthquake and devastation. Some parents are unable to pick up their children until late at night because they are often held up after hours at their works because of the lack of workers. There is an increase in parents that are experiencing fatigue. On top of the fatigue they experience, many show signs of health deterioration and depression. The parents not only have to worry about themselves about about their children and about the people around them. Furthermore, there has been an increase in junior and high school children with asthma, rickets, and bone injuries. Through the support of the Baptist Convention, we have recreational programs for children of different age ranges during the spring, summer, and winter holidays. This program allows children to go outside and play in a safe environment. Here the children can take deep breathes in the outside air. In truth, we want to hold more long-term programs for the children. We thank you all for the support you provide from your distant places. Also, three times a year, we take the church children to visit two different temporary housing estates where other children live. There the children sing worship songs for the residents, and also help to invite the residents to other church activities. The children from church share the hope of Jesus to children of their own age. Several parents, who have to work far away from home, shed tears as they saw the children playing together. We truly feel that the church is starting to become a big family. We ask that you continue to support us. Fukushima Asahicho Christ Church Nobuko Kokubo
Aid Work by Sendai Church – Logistical Support
After the Great East Japan Earthquake, though Yamagata prefecture experienced black outs and water shortages, it did not experience any direct damage. For two years and three months until March 2013, Yamagata church had no pastor. Therefore, we could only carry out short-term aid such as providing rice, blankets, and making sewing kits for the victims of the earthquake. Despite our limitations, thanks to a church member that is a pharmacist, our church has been able to make hand creams to send to the people in the devastated areas. We send the hand creams to the churches in the devastated so that it can be handed out to the people in the community. The hand creams are gentler than the creams that are often sold in the stores, and are very popular. After receiving a pastor for our church, we have made stronger connections with the convention, and with the vice-chair of the Great East Japan Earthquake Support, pastor Chikayo Kaneko (Currently pastor of Koriyama Kosumosu Dori Christ Church). We are also in close contact with pastor Makoto Osuka and Ayako Osuka, and have been supporting the aid work at Otsuchi-cho, Iwate Prefecture.
Flower pressing at the Temporary housing estates in Kozuchi, Otsuchi-cho
2014年 10月 13日
~Great East Japan Earthquake Charity Concert~ Akatsuka Baptist Church (…)
June 7th 2014, we invited flutist Atsuko Koga and cellist Georgiy Lomakov to perform for the Great East Japan Earthquake Charity Concert. Atsuko Koga and Georgiy Lomakov are musicians based in Germany. They contacted us to see if they could conduct a charity concert at our church after reading that we were collecting donations for the Great East Japan Earthquake. Although it was raining, close to 80 people attended the Great East Japan Concert. People of all ages from near and far came to the concert. Some, after hearing that the concert was to support East Japan, went to the trouble of asking permission from their hospital to come to the concert. Many had heard of the concert through our homepage, Facebook, and our newspaper advertisements. The wonderful sounds of the flute and cello moved our hearts. The intricacy of the music and the rich sounds enveloped us and seemed to carry us to a different world. The 90 minutes flew by. We were truly very grateful. Many people joined our call, “Don’t forget 3.11!” Many joined with us to pray. We want to express our deepest gratitude to Atsuka Koga and Georgiy Lomakov. We hope that we will be able to hold events like this again. Though the work that our church does is small, we hope that we can serve the community in the best way we can. Akatsuka Church has voluntarily been taking part in the support of Great East Japanese Earthquake. Please share with us the work your church does. firstname.lastname@example.org
~ Ai Ai Project 2014 ~ Ai Ai Project, along with the prayers of women through out Japan, has continued to support North East Japan in 2014. There are churches in the North East Japan that continue to support and stay along side those that are affected by the devastation. Those in the devastated areas live in pain, unsure of their future, fearful of the nuclear power plant accident and its radiation. Many are tired from the years they have spent in the temporary housings. We hope that through our connection with the churches in the area, we can continue to walk with the Lord, spreading our prayers and blessing the people we meet. Koriyama Kosmosu Dori Church has carried out visitations to Koriyama Midori Ga Oka Temporary Housing Estate once every month. Ai Ai Project also participated in the visitations in April and July, and hopes to go in October, December, and March. Ai Ai Project also continues to support the handcraft groups held through out the temporary housing estates in the devastated areas by sending snacks and craft material. Furthermore, last year we gave a donation to the support network for migrant women in Fukushima. What is more, now that we are more aware of the networks’ activities and the prayers that are needed for the migrant women, we want to find how to show more solidarity. Requests by the Women’s Committee, and prayer requests can be found on the Home page, and will be announced through the regional alliance.
~Local Support Committee Meeting Report~ The Local Support Committee Meeting was held in Sendai church on Friday, first of August. It was an open meeting, which allowed many non- committee members to join from different churches in North East Japan. The meeting held 17 participants. Each time we hold these meetings, we are encouraged by the people from surrounding churches who show interest in the work that we do. This Local Support Committee Meeting has been held almost once every month as a way to share about the aid work carried out for the victims of the earthquake and nuclear accident. It is also a time for participants of the meeting to think together, to learn from the Bible together, and to support each other. It is impossible to express how much the conversations during the committee meetings have encouraged us these past 3 years. I believe that this meeting also serves as a way for different aid workers to support each other. It is easy for only the actual “work” of the aid work to be noticed, but I was reminded that behind that “work” there is a lot of thought exchange, prayer, and communication that has continually taken place, which paves way for the aid work to take place. I thank God for his guidance. The Local Support Committee has produced a DVD, “Local Support Committee Activities DVD Vol.1”, to introduce the different aid work that is being carried out. This DVD has been sent out to all churches throughout Japan. Please take a look at the DVD and please continue to support our work. We are greatly thankful for your prayers and support. Committee Head, Makoto Kanamaru
The Great East Japan Earthquake Aid Committee Team Report I joined the World Development Conference, hosted by the Baptist World Aid, one of the Great East Japan Aid Committee Team’s greatest supporters. The conference was held on the 5th and 6th of July in Izmir Turkey, and I was able to represent the Aid Committee Team of the Japan Baptist Convention, and present our case study report. At this conference, Baptist individuals working for human rights and individuals working in devastated areas gathered from around the world to learn from each other. I spoke about the long-term aid carried out at the devastated areas of the great east Japanese earthquake. For long term aid, there is a need for 1) the concept of “mission” to come together with “aid”, 2) the church not to do everything but to be the bridge that connects the local people to organizations and groups specialized in the field of work that is needed for the people, and 3) the church to be a place of comfort for those who were not able to receive the aid that the organizations and groups provide. These three points were based on what was discussed during the “Theology Forum 2, Post Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Accident Missions”. I used these three points as the foundation of how the church should support the areas affected by the nuclear disaster on a long term scale. I also spoke of how the church should be critical of the nuclear power administration. Furthermore, as presented in the World Church Conference in July this year, I spoke of how we hoped that the Baptist World Alliance would declare an anti-nuclear stance. I think it was significant that there was a presentation on Japan’s exportation of nuclear power and weapons to Turkey. What is more, I was able to gain the support from many participants. Lastly, during the evening prayer meeting, we were able to share our prayers with Baptists from all over the world to remember the Great Each Japan Earthquake, and not to forget about it.
Target for 2014 Fundraising: 14mill Yen Current amount donnated (July 31, 2014): 4mill330thousand Yen
We have received donations from the following 72 people /organizations: Isahaya Ch, Ito Ch, Koga Ch, Tsukushino Futsukaichi Ch, Yokodai Ch, Omiya Ch, Kasumigaoka Ch, Mojiko Ch, Kobe Ikawa Ch, Tokyo Kita Ch, Fukuoka Josei Ch, Kochi Isezaki Ch, Fujisawa Ch, Kurigasawa Ch, Nara Ch, Higashi Osaka Ch, Seinan Gakuin Junior/High Sch, Chofu Ch, Goro and Fumiko Amano, Yuko Kubo, Takamatsu Tokiwacho Ch, Nakano Ch, Saga Ch, Kagoshima Ch, Koga Ch, Fujimino Ch, Nakano Ch, Keisei Ch, Tokyo Kita Ch, Seinan Gakuin, Akatsuka Ch, Chofu Ch, Norio Samejima, Yahata Ch, Kagoshima Ch, Koga Ch, Ainoura Hikari Ch, Hakodate Mihara Ch, Omura Kogashima Ch, Hirao Ch, National Partners of Pastors Group, Megumi Ch, Kansai Reimei Ch, Osaka Block Women’s Committee, Chofu Church, Yuko Kubo, Mitaka Ch, Atsuko Koga, Georgiy Lomakov, Hitachi Ch, Mejiro Gaoka Ch, Meinohama Ch, Takayasu Tadasa, Masako Kamei, Koga Ch, Shuhei Nishin – Nishino Guitar School, Takasuka Ch, Kagoshima Ch, Goro and Fumiko Amano, Foundation for Cooperative Community Creation, Hiroshima Nishi Ch, Seinan Gakuin University Choir, Nakano Ch, Ichikawa Yahata Ch, Nakano Ch, Tokyo Region Alliance One Day Kohitsuji Group, Chofu Ch, Marukame Jotocho Ch, OS Company, Nogata Ch, Ainoura Hikari Ch, Koga Ch, Otaru Ch, Kagoshima Ch.
2014年 07月 28日
A People who Serve the Land~
Extract from Seinan Gakuin Daigaku Theology Chapel
Ichiro Sudo Professor of Theology
On the preface that in the Bible, all things are said to be in relation to God and that nothing is created without God, what sort of relationship did Jesus envision for man, nature, and creation? We can look into Mathew 10:29b and Luke 12:6b for more insight. In the passage titled “Do Not Worry”, we see Jesus speaking the following words about the birds in the air.
Matt 10:29b “Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.”
Luke 12:6b “Yet not one of them is forgotten by God?”
These words depict God’s love that is also poured out to the creatures of the world. The passage in Matthew compared to that of Luke is far more difficult to understand, and it is the passage in Matthew that we find the original words of Jesus. The passage says that God is there, even for the one small bird as it falls to the ground. To man, a small bird is worthless and cheap, but to God, there is no such thing as a worthless creation. God stays beside even the smallest creatures until its death.
If this translation is true, then the following verses in Matt 10:31b and Luke 12:7b “you are worth more than many sparrows” do not follow the same logic. This is often times understood to mean that if something is true for the small bird, then it is more so for the greater man. This implies that man is greater than the little bird. This places man above creation. A similar thought is expressed in Matthew 6:26 and Luke 12:24 “Are you not much more valuable than they?” Even in this passage, with its title “Do Not Worry”, we see how a sparrow, that is worthless in man’s eyes, is subject to God’s love. This shows how the theory that man is greater than God’s other creations does not make sense. This shows how the passages added a human centric view to the words that Jesus spoke, altering the message that Jesus initially gave. If this is true, then Franceso, who was said to have preached to birds, was correct in understanding that God’s love is provided for both man and other creation, equally.
We, as people who read the words of creation from the Bible should choose not to be the “rulers of the land” but as “servants of the land.” We should take the words of Jesus and understand that God’s love is given out to all of creation. And it is in this understanding, that we should take part in tackling the issue of nuclear power.
The Radiation Levels of Churches, and Information about “Decontamination”
The Great East Japan Earthquake Aid Committee Team on the Nuclear Power Issues has continued to measure the radiation levels of churches and its facilities that are believed to have higher radiation levels after the nuclear power disaster. It has also worked to support the fees that are required in decontamination, and also monitor the change in radiation after decontamination. The financial support we provide go up to 500,000 yen per building. So far we have aided the decontamination of 7 churches. It has been over 3 years since the disaster, but there are still churches that have not applied for this program, and so we intend to call out to those churches that we have yet not reached. If there are any churches that are in need of this aid, please contact the Great East Japan Earthquake Aid Committee Team.
*The difficulty in the decontamination process is that it is impossible to stop the contamination due to radiation. The decontamination is carried out by decontamination companies, that often burry or cover with concrete, the contaminated material.
Koriyama Kosumosu Dori Christ Church, that is continuing decontamination
The Great East Japan Earthquake Aid Committee Team Report
Thanks to your support we have been able to carry out the following projects.
1. Donations for disaster struck areas.
Project Fees Year 2013 Total
Specified Donations (international) 3,252,795
Withdrawn from Reserve Funds 9,013,568
Funds Carried Over from Previous Year 9,086,795
Disaster Aid Funds 40,556,764
2. Aid Work for Stricken Areas
Projects (items of expenditure)
1) Support for churches in stricken areas
Fukushima Asahimachi Church child education support (2,485,494),
Special health support for pastors in stricken areas (330,000)
Total 2,815,494 (A)
2) Support for church projects in stricken areas
Temporary housing aid provided by churches in stricken areas (4,408,100),
Maintenance of vehicle specified to aid work (2,306,205)
Total 6,714,305 (B)
3. Support for stricken areas by Tono VC
Electricity, heating, maintenance for Tono VC (2,428,035),
Volunteer travel for non North East Japan churches (1,222,884),
Activity fees for local aid worker (5,328,448), miscellaneous (16,904).
Total 8,996,271 (C)
4. Projects dealing with the nuclear power issues
Fukushima Asahimachi & Koriyama Kosumosu Dori Christ Church children
relief project (1,936,155),
Health Checkups due to radiation (152,406),
Radiation measuring and decontamination (1,339,713),
Housing support for evacuees from radiation (500,000),
Expenses for conference meetings (681,691)
Total 4,609,965 (D)
5. East Japan Team
International correspondence (237,429),
Expenses to hold Theology Forum2 (1,628,913),
Cooperation with other organizations (235,700),
Officer Personnel expenses (2,554,177),
Expenses for conference meetings (678,026)
Total 5,334,245 (E)
6. Office Correspondence Fees 407,810 (F)
Year 2013 Expenditure (A)+(B)+(C)+(D)+(E)+(F) 28,878,090
Funds carried over to 2014 11,678,674
•Closing of Tono Volunteer Center: 31 March 2014
•Finishing of mission work (Chikayo Kaneko): 31 March 2014
•2014 media work for Great East Japan Earthquake Aid
Tohoku News Letter published every odd month
Bond of Prayer published every even month
2014年 07月 28日
To all the churches through out Japan, thank you for your daily support through prayers and offerings. It is through your continued support in prayer that we have been able to carry out our work these 3 years. We hope to continue our work through out this year, serving those that continue to live in disaster, radiation, and hardship. Please continue to support us throughout 2014. This issue will look at the work carried out through Koriyama Kosmosu Dori Church, and its prayer requests.
Koriyama Kosmosu Dori Church’s Aid Work
Though Tomioka City is in the same evacuation sector, it has 3 different evacuation areas.
The time of silence held for March 11 at the temporary housing meeting room
Koriyama Midori-gaoka temporary housing, situated at the far east of the city, is in an area that is most difficult to reach when compared to the two other temporary housing estates in the city. Those that evacuated from the nuclear power accident live in these temporary houses. There are still approximately 100 households that live in the housings. Many of these people are elderly. Koriyama Kosmosu Dori Church has, through the support of churches throughout Japan, carried out visitations to Midori-gaoka temporary housing once a month, since August 2011. The time we hold most dear is the gathering we have at the temporary housing. Many of the residents tell us that they look forward to the time we have each month with the familiar members.
On March 11th 2014, just 3 years after the Great East Japan earthquake and nuclear disaster, we visited the temporary housing estate. Here we had a massage corner, a Japanese candy store corner, a music exercise corner, a “snacks and tea” corner, with snacks made by the church members, and a karaoke corner. About 40people gathered, and we all spent time together, as we always do. We also handed out tulips each filled with the prayer that one day a flower will bloom in the lives of those that have no choice but to live in the temporary houses due to the nuclear disaster, uncertain of when they can return home. The residents living in the Midori-gaoka temporary housings are evacuees of Tomioka City, who lived within 5-10km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. All we know at this point, is that they are unable to return to Tomioka City until 2017.
Not only did they suffer directly from the earthquake and tsunami, but their homes were made inhabitable by the nuclear disaster, forcing them to leave their homes. Despite our continued visitations, it is perhaps impossible for us to understand the suffering that the evacuees at Midori-gaoka go through. However, we believe that God can work past our human incapability. This is why we are able to continue spending time with the many who have suffered here. We now have pastor Chikayo Kaneko as our church pastor. She has continued to support us. We plan to continue our once a month visitations through out this year. Please continue to pray for us.
(Koriyama Kosumosu Dori Christ Church, Haruka Saito)
1)That the nuclear accident will be solved as soon as possible, and that the radiation levels throughout Fukushima prefecture will decrease.
2)That God will provide wisdom for the removal of the fuel rods and the contaminated water, and the operation will proceed with no problems.
3)For the protection of those that work to solve the nuclear accident.
4)That there will be no further increase in health issues.
Kawauchi Town, Declares to Return Home
We have also been given the opportunity to meet some of the people from Kawauchi town. After the Great East Japan Earthquake and the proceeding disaster of the nuclear power plant, the whole population of Kawauchi town was forced to evacuate. Many had to evacuate during June and August to state facilities inside of Koriyama city. At the end of January of 2012, the people of Kawauchi town declared that they would return to their homes, and in April the Kawauchi primary and junior high schools were returned. 535 returned full time, 920 returned part time (4 times a week for work), 1600 have rented homes outside of the town, and 680 live in temporary housing. Because Kawauchi town was the first to return to their homes, their compensation for emotional damage (100,000yen/month) was cut off in August 2012. They did receive a 200,000yen financial support and free temporary housing until March 2013, but all forms of compensation were cut off from March 2013. Many who live in temporary housing estates outside of their hometown are the elderly, unemployed, and disabled, with very little income. What is more, many of these people have been separated from their families, and have no way to be reunited. There are many elderly people living in temporary housing estates that are in need of support, but slip between the cracks, unable to attain the government support that they are entitled to.(Chikayo Kaneko)
The Start of Refresh Time
Since the nuclear power disaster, the children of Koriyama city have not been able to have fun outside, or play around in the dirt. Having to live in situations such as these for 3 years has affected the livelihoods of the children living in Koriyama. It has lead to the decrease in stamina and the weakening of muscles in the children. In order to allow the children to be active in an environment that has lower radiation levels, and to help decrease the stress that they often have to carry, we have been running a health project called Refresh Time. The pastor’s room is fitted with exercise machines so that it can become a gym, so that people can have fun and exercise there. (Chikayo Kaneko)
I am Ryota Osuga from Koriyama Kosumosu Dori Christ Church in Koriyama prefecture. I will be in fourth grade in April. After the disaster, I have transferred schools to Yamanouchi in Nagano prefecture. After that, my little sister was born, and so I transferred to a primary school in Nakano city. It was sad to have to say goodbye many times to my friends. I’ve returned to my church in Koriyama this summer. I was happy to see my friends at church again. I will be returning to Nagano in April again. I am sad that I have to be far away from my dad, but I will do my best with my mother and sister.
(A message that was read during the National Kohitsuji Camp. We received permission to include this in our newsletter.
Local Aid Committee News Letter, Published in February 25, 2014
Japanese Baptist Convention Great East Japan Earthquake Local Aid Committee
President Masato Osuga
2014年 05月 22日
26th March 2014 Issue #25
Great East Japan Earthquake Support Team Newsletter
A Bond of Prayer
1. That the physical and emotional health of those who are still living as evacuees will be protected.
2. That the removal of the nuclear fuel rods, and the disposal of contaminated water will be carried out smoothly.
March 11, 2014, Koriyama Cosmos Path Christ Church was able to have a tea party at the Midorigaoka 7-chome temporary housing complex. We have been visiting Midorigaoka since the August of 2011. In this housing complex there are 110 households, consisting of 180 people. They are evacuees from Tomioka, a city that is within the 5-10 km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. We heard that one of the members that had always joined our monthly tea party had died a lonely death, just a few days before. Many of her neighbors carried the guilt and responsibility of not having noticed her death. There were also those that worried about perhaps having a similar fate. Many spoke of how, even after 3 years, nothing had changed, and how they were unsure of if they could ever return. They didn’t know what awaited them in the future. Many confessed of their emotional and physical fatigue and of the anger they held, that they could not resolve.
At 2:46 pm we had a moment of silence. Afterwards I spoke a few words, but I found myself unable to hold my tears in and unable to find the words to speak. In the evening we had a gathering in remembrance of the disaster. This year, the head of the women’s convention Aiai Project, Jyunko Hirukawa and a 4 person working team from Mejirogaoka church came to help us set up from the morning. I was reminded that the support work we have carried out for the past 3 years has not been a sole effort, but one that has been supported by churches around the nation through prayer, donations, and aid.
March 11, Midorigaoka Temporary Housing Complex Tea Pearty
2. Visit by Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF)
We have continued to receive generous amounts of donations from CBF. To determine if further aid is needed, 2 individuals from CBF visited Otsuchichyo Koriyama City during March 20-21. During the 20th to the 21st, Tono, Kamaishi, Otsuchi were covered with heavy snowfall. In some areas the snow was knee high. It was the worst snow we had seen in 25 years. However even within this stormy weather, the people of Kozuchi Fourth Temporary Housing welcomed us with a cooked lunch. Ms. N, who always cooks the lunch for us, said with tears in her eyes, “This year, March 11 was really hard for me. I could keep myself from crying. Maybe it was the toughest year yet.” These words by Ms. N, who usually always has a smile, and always makes others laugh, depicts the reality that these people live in. The past 3 years, it has been one hardship after another. For 3 years our hearts have been strained.
“When will you visit us next? We will be waiting for you…” The people in the temporary housing waved us goodbye all the way until the car was out of sight. This reminded me of “Macedonia’s cry”.
“Lord, please allow this aid to continue”. “Please use our convention”. Leaving the drive, I could not help but cry. It reminded me that even now, people are in need of aid. It reminded me of the challenge still ahead of us.
Great East Japan Earthquake Aid Committee Team on the Nuclear Power Plant Issues
“Those who Tend the Land”
- October 28 2013 Message Summary from Theology Studies -
Seinan Gakuin University Professor of Theology Studies
Recently there is not one day when we go without hearing some news about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and its contaminated water. During the IOC session, when Tokyo was chosen as the 2020 Olympic host, Prime minister Abe stated, “The situation is under control”. However the situation is far from being under control. There is still contaminated water leaking into the ground water and into the ocean. This is, along with the Chernobyl event, the worst environmental disaster in history. How are we, as Christians supposed to face these issues?
1967, Lynn White Jr. wrote an article in “Science” magazine called “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”. He argues that at the root of the environmentally destructive scientific revolution is Christianity and it’s anthropocentric understanding of nature. He stated that way out of the ecological crisis in not the evolution of science and technology. We must condemn the concept that “no item in the physical creation [has] any purpose save to serve man's purposes” and “rethink and refeel our nature and destiny”. White brought about a great question for Christian Theologists. However he is a specialist in the history of Medieval Europe’s agricultural technology, and his interpretation of the Bible may be limited. Therefore it is necessary to critically reconsider his thesis.
Genesis 1:28, which White uses as the basis of his argument, does definitely say that man subdue the earth. However In Genesis 2:5 and 15, is tells man to “work” and “take care” of the earth.
Man Subdues Earth
Man Takes care of Earth
In the background of Genesis 1:26-28 is the imperialist ideology that said the king was god, and that he ruled over all the people. However, democracy states that all man is god and this has made man anthropocentric. To this, the Bible talks of how Adam was made out of the earth, and that he is to protect the land. It tells us that God created man and nature, and that we are, together, supposed to face God. The Bible gives us these seemingly opposite messages about how we are to live in the world. It is our choice to decide which to follow.
2013 Fundraising Target Amount (General Donations): 20,000000Yen
15,110,000yen (2,250,000yen from over seas)
Another 4,890,000Yen needed
*We have also received 3,250,000 Yen as specified donations, which has not been included in the total above.
Please continue to donate for the aid work in the devastated areas.
Religious Institution Japan Baptist Convention General Affairs Division
2014年 05月 21日
2011.3.11 Great East Japan Earthquake
Local Aid Committee News Letter From Tohoku
25th Febraury 2014 Issue #11
It is now 3 years from the Great East Japan Earthquake. In Tohoku, there are those that desperately fight for tomorrow, and there are those that see no purpose in life. We ask for your continued prayer. For issue 11, we will be reporting about the aid work in Yoshioka Ministry Center and Nankodai Church.
Yoshioka Ministry Center
Aid After Devastation
Yoshioka Ministry Center’s Hikari No Sono Kindergarten (Garden of light) had been running for 54 years. The kindergarten was forced to close indefinitely after the March 11th Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Pastor Naoki Noguchi has been appointed to rebuild the Yoshioka church just 8 months before the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred. Amazingly the church had not been damaged too greatly, and God used this.
Volunteer Team from Texas
There was an email form the Texas Baptist that was initially supposed to be sent to the convention’s ministry coordinator, missionary Naoya Noguchi, but it ended up being sent to Pastor Noguchi. The email read, “Please give us any where to stay.” To this, Pastor Noguchi replied, “You are always welcome.” At that time, the Baptist convention was acting as the coordinator for any visitors or volunteers that wanted to come to the devastated areas. However this email, which was meant for missionary Tetsuya Noguchi, was sent to the Pastor Naoki Noguchi. However this mistake allowed the American volunteer team to directly find a place to stay. This is how the American Volunteers ended up staying at Yoshioka Ministry Center. This is how we were able to build a strong bond with the mission group of the Southern Baptist Convention in working for the devastated areas of Tohoku.
The widening of our Cooperation
For some time, we were unable to get in touch with a friend of Pastor Noguchi, who was working as a pastor in one of Ishinomaki’s junior high schools. After searching for her with a dozen or so people, we were able to find her at the Monkyou Junior High Sports Gym shelter. They had known each other from 25 years ago in America, where they had traveled together while taking part in a project that worked to allow people to get to know Christianity by home staying with Christian families. As soon as they had found her name, they raced over to where she was and were reunited to her. The Kadonowaki Junior High where they reunited over-looked a land that was all rubble and smoke after the Tsunami and earthquake. This became the start of our Christian volunteer work that worked passed all religious and non-religious borders.
We are now starting to set up as an institution with Pastor Noguchi as the receptionist, Yamazaki Hiroka as the coordinator, and many local leaders such as Noguchi Nao (grand son of Pastor Noguchi), who go out to the volunteer locations. In the August of our first year, the average number of people staying at Yoshioka Ministry Center were “20.1” people per night. Within these three years, approximately 3000 ~ 4000 volunteers have stayed at Yoshioka Ministry Center.
Visitations at temporary housing estates
Sleeping area for volunteers
Within the Bond of Prayer
Our main field is in Ishinomaki. Temporary housing started being constructed in September of 2011, but there are still those who must live in evacuation centers. Even if you are lucky enough to enter temporary housing, you cannot decide where you will be placed. There are many who have to move far away in order to enter temporary housing. Within this reality, what is it that Yoshioka Ministry Center can do? To have long lasting fellowship. To share the warmth of a helping hand. To introduce Jesus Christ even though we may not have any manpower or financial power. We hope to continue doing our best in providing heart felt aid.
(Yoshioka Ministry Center Naoki Noguchi)
University Students dance Japanese dance at the temporary shopping area
Music performace at the temporary shopping area
Thank you for all the aid all over Japan
Aid at Nankodai Church
It has now been 3 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Since April 2012 the Miyagi team has been working with 4 churches and one ministry center. We have been building relations with the people of Oshika Peninsula. We visit once a month and hand out fresh vegetables and have tea with the people living in the area. Nankodai church has been taking part in these visitations. In Ayukawa district, one of the areas that we visit, there is a former student of mine that sells salmon and seaweed at a store in the temporary housing estate. I try to visit whenever I can. For some areas, it is said that it will take another 5 years for public housing to be available. This forces us to rethink about what aid is, and how to build relationships over a long span of time. I hope to continue building a relationship with the fisher community and my former student and his family. I hope to see them living in a normal home once more.
Though we cannot “see” radiation, it is important to be aware of radiation. Although this year we have yet to hold any events, Nankodai church has been inviting specialists, professors, and those involved in nuclear disaster relief. With these guests as speakers, we have opened the doors of the church to the community to help inform the local public about radiation. Through these events, we have learnt about internal radiation exposure. We learnt about how radiation may end up affecting us, and how we may, in the future, start seeing symptoms of radiation. This showed us to the reality that many face. What we were especially made aware of was the fact that many of our children may have to carry the burden of being a Hibakusha. The fear of radiation hit home when we were told of the reality that one day, we would start to see scientific proof of the effects that radiation has on our children’s bodies. We hope to continue raising awareness about the effects of radiation to live along side those that must live in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Furthermore, we have been sending out our pastor to take part in the “Sendai Chritsitan Convention Aid Nerwork. Tohoku Help”. We also send out our pastry to work with the “consultation window” that support funeral proceedings. We, along with the Baptist Convention, have also sent our pastor out to Baptist Conferences in places such as Myanmar and Malaysia to inform people about the tsunami and the devastation caused by radiation.
We hope to continue working in this field as a church that is placed in the devastated areas, with the strength given to us through the prayers of churches all around Japan. We thank you for your continual prayer.
(Nankodai Church Suzuya Teruaki)
September 2012, APBF Conference on “Devastation and the Church” in Malaysia
3rd airing of “Loving Through Internal Radiation Exposure”
Local Aid Committee News Letter
Published in February 25, 2014
Japanese Baptist Convention Great East Japan Earthquake Local Aid Committee
President Masato Osuga