|Serving Pastors in Japan's Disaster Zone|
Written by John Houlette, World Venture missionary
Several stayed after the service to pray and talk about pursuing ministry in Japan. Blessed but exhausted, I returned to my host family's home and sat down to watch the 10 PM news. What followed changed my life forever.
I watched as the first reports of the March 11th Great Tohoku Earthquake unfolded. I saw the tsunami roll into Sendai port; my in-laws lived less than three miles away. Then the devastation in Ishinomaki where we have two churches. The next scene of raging fires in Kessennuma where we have two more churches. By morning my job had quickly changed to providing pastor care for the four pastors, one from Sendai, and interpreting as we were interviewed by ABC News three times.
The pastors left on Monday, but I could not return to Japan yet as my nephew had asked me to perform his wedding in Las Vegas later the next week. As I sat in a hotel room above a casino and watched the news, the contrast of glitter and darkness, gain and loss, self indulgence and selfless relief work was surreal. How were Japanese pastors going to handle this? Then it came to me. I needed a project for my doctor of ministry class at Bethel Seminary. I would write a devotional for pastors and Christians in the earthquake impacted regions. That has now become a reality.
here. The book is titled, "Stillness Tools: A Survival Kit for Pastors", and was published by Word of Life Press in Tokyo. It is available at Christian bookstores and on Amazon.co.jp for 700 yen plus tax and postage. It can be purchased at the Japan Baptist Fellowship office at Matsukawa Place in Tokyo for 500 yen. Proceeds go to pastor care in Tohoku.
Houlette is one of several leaders who have organized retreats for pastors in Japan's disaster zone. The fifth retreat will take place February 23-24, 2012. Organized and funded in cooperation with Asian Access, Churches Helping Churches, and CRASH Japan, these retreats have been an encouragement to local pastors and have helped build relationships between pastors. Please pray for pastors living and working in the disaster zone. Make a donation here to support this retreat and other pastor care initiatives under CRASH Japan.