Amid the rubbish stands one of the most beautiful sites anyone will ever see: Springtime Sakura, better known as “cherry blossom” trees. While preparing for my trip to Japan, I look at the hard work our friends in Otsuchi are doing by helping the people that have been devastated by the tsunami that swept through their town, taking lives and tearing down many of the structures that once stood strong. But with all of the pain and suffering, there is something more powerful than death and destruction: Life!
Jesus says in the ancient scriptures “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come, that you might have Life and Life more abundantly” John 10:10. You may say, “Where is this Life? How can Life be present when there is so much sorrow? ” When God raised Jesus from the dead he sent His Spirit to live inside every person who chooses to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. This Spirit demonstrates the love of the Father (God) when we love those around us. As the people of God his Love empowers us to help a neighbor living just down the street or thousands of miles away bringing comfort to the hurting. This kind of Love is expressed with more than words, it is accompanied with action, “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we must also give up our lives for our brothers and our sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but show no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth.” 1John 3:16-18
Just like the Sakura trees showing off their display of life and beauty…the people of God are active all over the world showing this “Life” through acts of love toward mankind. “Let your lite so shine that mankind will see your good deeds (acts of Love) and Glorify your Father which is in Heaven” Jesus words found in Mathew 5:16
Thank you for your prayers as I continue preparations for my upcoming trip to Japan. Below is Pastor Guna and Jey and members of their congregation returning from their first trip into Otsuchi. They have recently returned with another team and are working to help clear anything damaged by the tsunami and cleaning the homes so the families (who are in shelters) can return to their homes. God bless them as they show the people of Otsuchi God’s love through their acts of kindness.
For more information regarding our call to Japan, read my blog titled, “Japan: Mission of Love” or go to our website at PonceChurch.com
I’m sure many of us are familiar with the song sung in Sunday Schools all across American and abroad: “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and it goes something like this: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world”. It does not matter what age we are nor the color of our skin, the Living God sent His Son Jesus for us ALL because of His amazing Love (John 3:16).
As I look at the young child from Japan in my previous blog, “Japan: Mission of Love” I think of how the Lord loves all children from every nation. I also think of His commission for His people: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…” This kind of person see’s all mankind as equal. There are no walls, there is no prejudice. All we see is God’s creation and His desire to share with them the greatest gift of all: Jesus.
I remember growing up and how my father was kind to everyone. It did not matter what color they were, nor their ethnicity. I remember in the early 1970’s my father took me aside one day and said, “We are NOT prejudice” I’ll never forget that! Day’s later my brother of whom was returning from Vietnam brought a friend of his from the war that was African-American along with his family. You must understand, we lived in an all white neighborhood and the only time you would see a black person was when you crossed the “8 mile” line. So for our neighborhood this was a big deal! As I think back I am so thankful that my Dad taught me to love all people, not matter the color of their skin.
As a minister of Jesus Christ, I will go wherever He sends me, and I will preach the Good News of God’s Love to whomever He leads me.
“…red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight…Jesus Loves the little children of the world”
Japan: Mission of Love
During church service a couple of weeks ago a member asked if they could read a facebook post regarding the recent earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan from a family member who lives in Tokyo. At the time of her reading their story, I had no clue what the Lord was about to put on my heart. I remember talking with two other women at church later that morning, and I remember sharing (in passing) that if the Lord wanted me to go to Japan I would go. As I made the comment I had a little what I call “ping” go off inside of me, but I shrugged it off. It wasn’t until later that day as I rehearsed the morning and what I said to the ladies did I begin to sense a “Hey God, are you calling me to go to Japan?” I also began to think back how years ago while listening to a missionary talk about going to Mexico to help build a Christian school and how I had no desire or intention of going until he began to pray. Oh my goodness! During his prayer Jesus began to speak to me, I remember thinking “Wow Lord, you want me to go don’t you?” I went from dis-interested to overjoyed! As I shared what the Lord said to me with my husband he agreed and sensed the same thing and then brought up the idea to bring our son Rich, who at the time was around 14 years old (there were other families with youth planning to go on this trip as well). It turned out amazing! As we began to make plans for Reynosa, Mexico, the Lord began to show me my place and what He was calling me to do, and that was to minister to the women in this community. Pastor Juanita of whom held church services in her yard was in favor of my ministering to the women of her church. As a group we also raised funds to purchase groceries for these families (mainly women and children) and following each morning meeting we passed out bags of groceries to each family. The Lord moved mightily during these meetings touching the lives of nearly every woman there including healing an infant of an infection. Years later Ponce Church raised funds to help build a church sanctuary on Pastor Juanita’s property.
Japan Religion: During my research I have found that approximately 84% of the people of Japan practice Shintoism and Buddhism leaving less than 2% who are Christian. Another study reveals that most of the Christian churches are made up of women believers with very few men. It is also said that there are only 20-30 Christian conversions in a 20 year span. This my friend must change.
Go Into All the World and Preach the Gospel to Every Creature: Since I became a Christian I have always told the Lord that I would go wherever He wanted me to go to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. In my Christian lifetime he has had me share his love with strangers as a group of believers and myself hit the streets of Detroit, Michigan. He has led me to attend Bible School in Oklahoma. During my time at school he has inspired me to preach the gospel on the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma with my Christian friends while ministering to the poor as well. He also taught me the importance of ministering to children, youth and later showed me the importance of reaching the community of children with special needs. Later the Lord led my husband Pastor Rick and our family to Florida to start the first church ever in the history of Ponce Inlet, Florida: Ponce Church. As a church we have raised funds to help the poor and donated cars to single mothers. Our church has also helped single mothers and their children get back on their feet to start fresh after fleeing abusive relationships. Since 2003 we have been faithful in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a town of which many have not heard the Good News, and now the Lord has put it on our heart to reach the people of Japan.
The Plan: Thank you friends for your prayers as I take the necessary steps in seeing this vision come to pass. Currently there are 24 major cities in Japan that do not have a church presence of any kind. I have currently made contact with pastors outside of Tokyo. They have graciously offered a home-stay along with airport transportation. My plans are to go into Otsuchi (Ogaguchi) with their teams and personally bring aid to the affected families. I will also help them as they continue to work by restoring the homes that are left standing so that the families can return to them (they are currently living in shelters). Our long-term vision is to start a church(s) with those that will receive salvation through Jesus Christ and continue our work by training those converts to fulfill their calling to pastor their people. As founders and Pastors of Ponce Church we will oversee these new churches in Japan. Thank you all for your prayers of faith and support as we go and reach the people of Japan with the Love and Grace of God through Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your support~ Japan: Mission of Love