Words of Hope for Japan
When the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, Mr. Minoru Y. witnessed the destruction of everything in his coastal city of Kamaishi in northern Japan. He spent two days at an evacuee shelter, and was unable to contact his parents and other relatives for a week.
Soon after the disaster, Rev. Masao Yamashita, Japanese leader for Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI) sent letters to all listeners on the ministry’s mailing list, expressing concern for all they had lost, inquiring about their welfare, and assuring them of the prayers of God’s people. Letters of response made it clear that listeners were trusting God to provide, even as they looked for more words of hope as they face long term recovery.
“Thank you for your letter,” Mr. Minoru told Rev. Yamashita. “Now I know [my family] are all safe. I have never experienced such a big earthquake before. We are getting help not just from Japan, but from all over the world. I am very grateful.”
“The disaster area is vast,” said Rev. Takashi Yoshida, moderator of the Reformed Church of Japan. He contacted Rev. Bob Heerspink, BTGMI director, encouraging BTGMI to expand communication with people in this area. “Many people here cannot watch TV but still listen to the radio. It is no doubt that radio ministry is definitely one of the most effective ways to reach their hearts and heal them in the coming months and years.”
Rev. Larry Spalink, Japan team leader for CRC World Missions, affirmed this need. “Radio outreach has new life in this heavily damaged region as other lifelines are down.”
At its April 28 meeting, the BTGMI board agreed to channel additional resources into broadcasting in northern Japan. BTGMI will also look for additional ministry partners in Japan to help fund increased broadcasting.
Appropriately, the new 10-minute program will be called “Words of Hope” and is designed to address the spiritual needs of the hurting people in Japan. For people like Ms. Rie S., this hope is a lifeline. “My house collapsed, all my furniture and household goods are washed away. I have nothing left. I ask why I am still alive. I cry alone being scared of the aftershocks. Your letter [letting her know about the future broadcasts] brightened up my heart and body.”
A listener from Miyagi wrote, “We lost all lifelines including electricity, gas, water and phone. The life we enjoyed was lost in a moment. My friend died in the tsunami. I know God brought him to heaven, but I cannot stop crying.” He echoed the words of Mr. Minoru. “Thank you for your concern and your media ministry. We need to believe in God and have a strong heart. I will be looking forward to your program.”
If you would like to help provide funds for special programming for northern Japan, please visit our website and make a generous donation. Keep all those who are suffering from the earthquake and tsunami in your prayers.