Our God, Eager to Save

Posted January 10, 2010

Tomohisa had reached a coveted status in Japan’s vertically-ordered society: medical doctor. Along with the status came wealth, which he used to buy the affection of women…and lots of booze. His selfishness blinded... [Read More]

The Humbled Tsunami

Posted December 2, 2011

When the warning sirens went off, residents in a south Sendai neighborhood fled to the local school. Together with panicked children still in class they climbed to the rooftop. Some 600 altogether... [Read More]

Japanese Get "Bach" Hope

Posted September 21, 2011

Who would have thought Bach would be involved in 21st century mission work in Japan? I have frequently read with interest of the strong connection between classical music (particularly J.S. Bach) and Japanese interest... [Read More]

Tsunami Ground Zero

Posted April 7, 2011

I still haven't returned from tsunami ground zero. That is to say, although I've been back several days already, the reality of the scene is still with me. The incredible amounts of mud in once beautiful homes... [Read More]

"Nice Try, Kevin" File

Posted February 9, 2011

This one goes into the "Nice try, Kevin" file. I just thought it was a nice-looking bunch of flowers in the storefront and, on the spur of the moment, decided Kaori deserved to enjoy them. Chrysanthemums, however, are... [Read More]

The Gulliver Complex

Posted November 9, 2007

I'm a giant again. Well, not really. But it sure feels like it again since returning from the States. The first sign was bumping my head in the shuttle bus from the airport. By habit, I normally duck my head through any... [Read More]

Foreigners Don't Get the Point

Posted January 31, 2010

I'm standing in line at a drugstore with other shoppers. The woman in front of me has just pulled out a business card file. Hurriedly she flips through at least a hundred or more cards searching for the right one. It's a... [Read More]

More Powerful than Bombs

Posted July 5, 2008

Fuchida grew up loving his native Japan and hating the United States, which treated Asian immigrants harshly in the first half of the twentieth century. Fuchida attended a military academy, joined Japan's... [Read More]

Ready?

Posted September 14, 2010

I'd been putting it off. Although I knew it was important, taking inventory of our earthquake and disaster gear just wasn't getting done. Japan rests along the "ring of fire" in the Pacific ocean, a stretch of area that is... [Read More]

150 Years Later

Posted March 17, 2009

This spring marks the 150th anniversary of Protestant Christianity in Japan. The first protestant missionaries set foot in the port of Yokohama back in 1859. Now they were real church planters -- overcoming all... [Read More]

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I for Japan. Japan for the World. The World for Christ. And All for the Glory of God.

— Kanzo Uchimura, Japanese Evangelist

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Rambling Notes from Japan

Here are some blog posts that we hope will make you feel a part of things, and help you understand how to pray better for us and Japan. Please see our external blog in Blogger, if this page does not display correctly.

Signs of the Times?

A drive through Japan's rural towns throughout the north might lead the casual observer to assume these places are staunchly Christian. Why else would signs everywhere proclaim such things as "The blood of Christ purifies sin," "God is watching your heart," and "The wages of sin is death"? But the truth is quite the opposite. In many of these rural areas one would be hard-pressed to find more than a solitary Christian, much less any church presence.

The signs are lettered in white and yellow calligraphy against a black background. Once they are up, they can remain for decades on end until the structure they are attached to literally begins to crumble. These signs, called "Kirisuto Kanban" (Christ signs), are the work of Christian group called the Bible Distribution Society, founded by a missionary in the 50's and now active only as a loose network of a few people.

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All the Way

Here's a poem by Agnes Ruth Nydam (1921-2012), my grandmother, who passed into the presence of her beloved Savior on May 31st. She nurtured me in my walk with the Lord and encouraged me in my passion for missions work. I was comforted to attend the funeral and conduct the committal on June 6, 2012 in Schererville, Indiana.

I last saw grandma in February 2012 when we returned to the States briefly for the extension of Kaori's permanent residence. We were invited to share concerning our work in Japan in the chapel service of her retirement home.

I will not forget the expression of pride and joy on her face as I entered the chapel. She had seated herself in the front row, center, surrounded by her friends to whom she announced proudly, "That's Kevin. That's my grandson!" Though confined to a wheelchair, she seemed to sit on the edge of her seat and crane her neck forward as I shared. Every so often she'd announce again (though there was no reason for anyone to forget), "That's my grandson!"

I felt the love of Father God expressed to me in her loving pride. The same Father God who declared to the world concerning Jesus, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased" (Mt. 3:17) was now also speaking through my grandmother similar words of affirmation and joy. I will miss you, grandma! (Her poem is below. Keep reading!)

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No Higher Calling?

Back in my Moody Bible Institute days, the text for the freshman Introduction to Missions class was entitled "No Higher Calling." Some students thought this smacked of missionary "snobbery" and that any life calling should be considered a high calling. I, too, was one of those disgruntled students that resented the mission textbook title's premise. So God called me into missions. That settled that.

In one sense, though, there is NO "HIGHER" CALLING than one in Tokyo this May 2012. The man placing the last girder at the top of the open-air Sky Tree...now THAT is a HIGH CALLING! I really have to look up to (everyone HAS to look up to) the workers finishing the tower. At 2080ft. tall, it is the tallest tower in the world. Between the Sky Tree and the new Shinjuku tunnel, I have a great respect for the HEIGHTS and DEPTHS of Japanese engineering. It's not just about tiny electronics anymore. Japanese are really good with massive structures.

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Life Worth Little in Wealthy Japan

Sobering news out of Tokyo today. The Cabinet Office reported results of a survey that 1 out of 4 Japanese has considered suicide. Yes, 25% of Japanese think of killing themselves. For the last dozen years, Japan has trended toward a higher and higher rate of suicide, surpassing 30,000 cases every year. That's one person every 15 minutes! Many are group suicides. Japan's suicide rate is nearly triple that of the USA! Countless cases go unreported because of the family shame factor involved.

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Jesus Buried in Japan?

Absolutely not! But the rumor, as outrageous as it seems, has become the center of a local attraction in the village of Shingo, Aomori Prefecture. The legend here is that Jesus traveled to Japan when he was a youth and learned Japanese ways and customs. He later returned to Israel in his 30's where his teaching was rejected. Before the Romans could crucify him, his identical twin brother Isukiri snuk in and "casually took his place on the cross" [so says the sign at the location]. Afterwards, Jesus returned to Japan and spent his life in Shingo as a rice farmer. He lived until 106, raising a family and doing good deeds locally. He was buried in the Shingo village where a mound with a cross marks his grave.

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Another Visit in Taro

I've just returned from a relief trip with a couple others members from our church plant in Kawasaki. I've written elsewhere on this blog about the coastal village of Taro and its great seawall broken and humbled on 311. It generates much emotion to visit an area so obviously devastated by the loss of so much. It will be many years before this place comes back. It's a 12 hour
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Wheel Work

Last Sunday afternoon a group of 30 of us at Denen Grace worked together to clean and refurbish four used wheelchairs. Wheelchairs of Hope will  deliver these to physically handicapped people in third world countries that could not otherwise afford the luxury of a wheelchair.We have these wheelchair cleaning days once or twice a year at our church location. It always impresses me to see how ambitious
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Trains, Planes and (Smaller) Automobiles

Some of you are aware of our short trip to the States over the last few weeks. We are back in Japan now, and readjusting once again to the smaller dimensions of things here. Let me explain.Once again our journey from door-to-door involved trains, planes and automobiles. One Tokyo train, one AA 777 jet, one minivan and one Tokyo cab to be exact. This involves four rounds of shuffling around six large
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We serve with WorldVenture, an evangelical faith mission. Our sending/home church is Cornerstone Church of Lansing, Illinois.
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