At 2.46pm on Friday 11th March, 2011 a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off the north-eastern coast of Japan. It was the largest in Japan’s recorded history, resulting in a massive tsunami, raging fires and a major nuclear accident. Around 500kms of stunningly beautiful coastline was devastated and many thousands of lives lost.
Following the disaster OMF established a relief project in the coastal area of Iwate prefecture. From mid 2012 on relief and outreach mainly centred around a temporary building いっぽいっぽ・山田 ‘Ippo Ippo (Step by Step)’ in the town of Yamada and a more permanent base in Kamaishi city, ‘Ippo Ippo Kamaishi’. The OMF project comes to an end in May 2014. However, in this very traditional, largely unchurched area of coastal Iwate where a hundred or more years of evangelism has born little fruit, the door to the hearts of local people remains open in a way never seen before. Between 30-70 people pass through the doors of Ippo Ippo Yamada each day and though physical aid is no longer needed, listening ears and emotional support remain as vital as ever in helping deeply traumatized people rebuild their lives.
Sendai Student Focus (SSF) was formed as a new OMF ministry initiative to reach out to university and college students in March 2014. The team also seeks to reach out to university staff, and young people who have returned from studying overseas.
Many of the young people the team meet who are in the 18-30 age-bracket experienced the 2011 triple disaster. The team wants provide a safe place for young people to share their lives and for them to hear the gospel of Jesus in loving relational Christian contexts.
Project funds will be used to contribute to rental space for events, provide relevant resources for Bible study, assist with retreats and hospitality costs.
Since the March 2011 tsunami God has opened a door for the gospel in Sendai, north east Japan. Many thousands are housed in temporary housing sites and the church has exercised a wide and powerful ministry to tsunami evacuees.
Typically the church will put on a Community Café, Mini-concert, Barbecue, Picnic, Craft Workshop or Christmas Party. There will be hymn-singing and a bible message, food and distribution of supplies. There are two potential church plants in Gamo and Yamamoto with regular worship services.
This work is too large and expensive for Sendai Evangelical Church to bear the cost alone.
Pray for this ministry project, pray for:
For more information about Sendai Evangelical Christian Church
http://www.sendaichurch.com (Japanese and English)
The Japanese Church Apprentice Fund has been established to receive and pass on funds to Japanese churches to pay Japanese Christians who have chosen to work part-time in a secular position and devote the remainder of their time to working with the church or to ministry training. Lack of finances can often be a barrier to Japanese Christians getting more involved in ministry and this project seeks to help address this.
The Fund would be used to sponsor Japanese Christians to have an opportunity to do paid work for a local church in order to:
The Hokkaido Bible Institute (HBI) was founded in 1963 as a “biblical, evangelical, and interdenominational” seminary for the training and equipping of pastors and church leaders. By God’s grace, more than 170 of its graduates work for the Kingdom of God throughout Japan and beyond. As the Japanese church faces the urgent reality of a rapidly growing number of pastor-less churches, HBI continues to respond to the Lord’s calling in equipping faithful and dedicated workers, who are committed to “make Jesus known, serve the Japanese church, the world, and this generation.”
To fulfil their mission, a well-equipped and user-friendly learning environment is essential. Currently, HBI’s library is overloaded and donated books are placed temporarily in different locations in the seminary. The library as it stands does not provide any study places for the students either.
This project seeks to help HBI to provide the students with a well-functioning library with study and discussion space. As part of the project, there will be an extension to the chapel that also serves as a multi-functional room.
HBI’s (Japanese) website is here: http://www.hbi-wmc.org/
fmZERO (‘OMF’ spelt backwards) is OMF Japan’s outreach programme to university students in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Its focus is in friendship evangelism and seeking to connect students with churches. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for service to short‐term workers visiting Sapporo.
fmZERO is reaching out to university students in Sapporo, Japan. Sapporo is the location of the OMF Japan Hokkaido Centre and is a hub for OMF missionary activity in Japan, so the programme can leverage off the OMF workers and facilities in the area. The primary area of activity is at Hokkaido University (Hokudai), the largest university in Hokkaido. Currently, one OMF missionary works at Hokudai, which creates the opportunity for work on campus. fmZERO gives an opportunity for short‐term workers with little or no Japanese to meet and share their faith with Japanese students who are interested in learning English.
The Hokkaido Gospel Broadcast Ministry (Hokkaido Fukuin Hōsō Kyōkai) facilitates the transmission of the gospel in Hokkaido through TV, radio, telephone and correspondence courses.
OMF was instrumental in helping establish the radio ministry (last year the TV ministry celebrated its 20th anniversary). The ministry operates independently of OMF Japan, though an OMF member sits on the board.
This OMF project is to facilitate the transfer of support gifts and mobilise other support for the Hokkaido Gospel Broadcast Ministry.
The Hokkaido Gospel Broadcast Ministry’s purpose is to reach out to people in Hokkaido who have no contact with the church or Christians. The TV programme’s audience ranges from 1-3% and the radio programme’s is on average 0.7%. Both figures exceed the proportion of evangelical Christians in Hokkaido. Many areas in Hokkaido are very sparsely populated and remote. Often there is no church at all and broadcast ministry is the most effective way to spread the gospel in these areas.
KGK (Kirisuto-sha Gakusei Kai) is a major, Japan-wide university student ministry. It is staffed and run by Japanese nationals.
The KGK ministry is independent of OMF, but OMF has been working with KGK since the 1960’s and in the past has had workers directly involved in KGK’s ministry activities (and hopes to again in the future).
This OMF project is to facilitate the transfer of support gifts and mobilise other support for KGK’s work in Japan.
KGK works in universities throughout Japan to reach Japanese students with the gospel. Many current leaders in the Japanese church were involved with KGK in the past.
Their (Japanese) website is here: http://www.kgkjapan.net/
KGK’s focus is to develop groups of students who meet to share their faith and study the Bible. KGK workers do not lead these groups, but act as facilitators and trainers. In addition to its ongoing work, KGK also organises major events such as their annual summer and ski camps.
Samariyakai (lit. “The group of Samaritans”) is an alcohol and drug rehabilitation organisation in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Started by OMF in 1972, it operates a live-in facility where Japanese with (primarily) an alcohol addiction can go for help.
OMF Japan no longer has direct involvement in the day-to-day operation of Samariyakai, though the OMF Japan Field Director sits on their board.
Samariyakai is affiliated with the International Federation of the Blue Cross (IFBC).
This OMF project is to facilitate the transfer of support gifts and mobilise other support for Samariyakai.
Unlike the approach taken in hospitals in Japan whereby substance addictions are treated largely with drugs, Samariyakai offers more holistic treatment to allow addiction sufferers to adopt a lifestyle where they are not dependent on alcohol or drugs and re-enter society and not fall back into addiction when the treatment is over. Samariyakai is based in Sapporo, so receives individuals primarily from within Hokkaido.
Samariyakai’s (Japanese) website is here: http://samariyakai.com
LINK is a team of missionaries in Tokyo who work together to reach young adults.
The vision of the LINK team is to reach the next generation for Jesus Christ and, by doing so, support and encourage the Japanese church. Their ministry is focused primarily on young adults, defined as people in their 20s and 30s. The team desires to function as ‘links’ that bring churches, Christian young adults and non-Christian young adults in the Tokyo area together.
LINK believes that young adults can use their hobbies to make friends and share the joy they have in Christ in a natural way. It’s not easy for a single Christian to do that, so the team encourages groups of young Christians to do activities together and invite their friends. They also want to train young Christians to be able to share their faith in an appealing way.
Project funds will be used to rent space in Tokyo. The team rents a dance studio monthly to build up a community of young adult dancers. They also want to rent a room to use as a ministry base, for fellowship, and to hold smaller events, such as bible studies and prayer groups.