News & Stories


What they most need now: hope

On Sunday 13 March 2011 only two days after the Tohoku Earthquake, a church in Osaka, central Japan, met for its regular worship. Still in a state of shock from the images and words from north Japan being delivered by every television channel, they worshipped and began preparations to send a team of volunteers to help in one of the most affected areas.The urgency of wishing to help was equal to the hurt that they felt for thousands in the north. Their preparations began with prayer, prayer for those who were suffering. But these prayers were not just local. They challenged their friends and family living across the globe to pray—pray for the Japanese who were suffering and to pray that God would guide them as they sought to serve those who suffered. They sought to be the hands and feet of Christ to bring relief and hope to a people who were suffering.

Sent to Sendai

The first team sent from the church left with a van loaded down with relief supplies on the night of March 15. They headed to Sendai, where members had either personal contacts or family in a number of churches. Their intentions were to drop off this load, attempt to make contact with the people that they know in the area and assess some of the needs. They believed God was calling them to more than just a short-term or spontaneous response. They understood that there were many risks involved in this kind of an operation, but they also strongly believed that God had called them to go. So they sent a small team in faith that God would protect them and their cargo of supplies so that God’s Name might receive all the glory.

God led them to Ishinomaki City where they located two churches and talked with leaders. They also distributed the rest of the supplies to people wandering the streets looking for food and water. They found great need, but were encouraged at their opportunity to help even in such a small way.

Abundant Provision

The church was then able to send a second team with supplies to Ishinomaki City on March 19. Actually the church was able to send far more than just a second team, because our God is a God of incredible provision. As preparations were being made to leave, the organizers began to unexpectedly receive donations from other churches and friends. They were receiving more than they could handle. Not only that, and much to their surprise, they received word that the truck that was to be used for the delivery of the supplies to the north, had already been generously filled with supplies.

Amazingly God also provided not only another van at short notice, but also someone who could drive it. God had supplied all their needs and more. For the many who were involved in this relief project, March 19, was a day of great encouragement. Encouragement in knowing that there was something that could be done, rather than to just sit and watch the news and feel helpless. Through their willingness to go, they found a way they could help and bring a small measure of hope to the many who were suffering.

Our love and our actions do have an impact on the people around us. This is true not just in times of suffering, but in all places at all times. Pray for communities in Japan, that the love and actions of the believers who live there will be clear testimony of the love and hope that can only be found in Jesus.

As the clean-up progresses and the country continues to feel aftershocks, so does the work of many believers, both national and international who have chosen this time to be the hands and feet of Christ. And as they serve in His Name, they offer something of the greatest value… hope. Yes, there is hope. Hope for the weary and grieving. Hope for those who feel the task is too great. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who, at this very moment, are being the hands and feet of Christ, offering hope, real hope, in Tohoku and beyond.

Steve Manders

Excerpted from an article in Japan Harvest, Spring 2011 and reproduced here with the author’s permission.

Will you pray for Japan?  

Give thanks for the quick response of the church in Osaka and how it was able to bring hope and help in the strength of God, who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine.

Pray for those who lost everything in the tsunami. Society and the news cycle may have moved on, but recovering hope can be hard. Pray they may find hope in Christ.

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