Thursday, May 19, 2011

Japan: Tina Lin's Progress Reports: Plans for Kesennuma, Shizugawa, Ishinomaki and Higashimatsuyam,

News from , Tina Lin our SEND Taiwan missionary in Japan, who is also closely working with us in Taiwan in our Relief efforts with the Chinese Christian Relief Association, CCRA.

In her recent prayer letter she writes:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Greetings eof peace!
From ‘cyan’ to ‘san’
Japanese often don’t call others directly by name, rather they add a prefix at the end of your family or given name (such as Tina-san or Lin-san), which is the basic form of respect. The prefix ‘cyan’ is used as a diminutive, to indicate a pet name, or in the case of an elder addressing someone younger (such as Tina-cyan or Lin-cyan). This is similar to the Chinese affectionately referring to someone as ‘little Lin’. However, if you refer to someone with whom you aren’t acquainted as Lin-cyan, it’s very impolite. Tourists from Taiwan often commit this social blunder, calling a bus driver ‘transport-cyan’, which is akin to saying, “Hey, you, driver!”.
In Japanese, the name for Christians is: Ku-ri-su-cyan, which includes the disrespectful and belittling character ‘cyan’ at the end. In terms of language sense, it carries has a bit of that impolite meaning to many Christians as well.
After the 3-11 earthquake, many Christian organizations and individual Christians surmounted obstacles to take goods into the survivors, helped them clean up their homes, cared for them, kept them company, prayed for them, … Some of the survivors are filled with appreciation, and are not calling them Ku-ri-su-cyan anymore, rather Ki-ri-su-to san!
Spiritual Awakening
There are over 7000 churches in Japan, but they are divided into more than 200 denominations and associations, each with their own theological perspective, with little dialogue between them. This lack of interaction is an enormous barrier to promoting the Gospel. A well-known evangelist once said, “Japan has earned its place in the world by exerting influence made possible through their strong collective nature and team spirit, that has led to many economic miracles. However, the Japanese church has taken the bait of Satan by delineating bulwarks around each denomination and association, leaving the already very small Japanese church merely able to survive, but unable to exert influence (in society).”
In the 1995 Kobe earthquake, 6000 died, convulsing Japanese society. However, only a few Christian organizations responded to the relief needs. In the aftermath of that disaster, Japan drew on its national power for rapid recovery. Half a year later, almost everything was back in place. Unfortunately, the state of the church had not changed one bit.
This past March, Japanese Christians embarked on many types of relief work in the disaster areas within a very short time. This time, there has been no division according to denomination or association, rather a joint effort to provide relief, assist the survivors to clean up their homes and yards. This is an incredible miracle for the Japanese church; it’s as if the tsunami flushed away the barriers between church, denominations and associations. We are all Christians; together we are His vessel to accompany the sufferers on this difficult stretch of road.
One Japanese pastor said that this is a spiritual awakening for the Japanese church. Who hasn’t yearned for a great spiritual revival in Japan. But revival must start with unity in God’s family; that will definitely bring spiritual influence with it!
Thanksgiving and Supplication
1.    Thanks to God! Elderly Mr. Sugawara said to us, “Though the tsunami was a thing that brought sorrow to us, becoming acquainted with you is a very happy thing.” Pastor Tanaka from the Miyagi Bible Church said, “This elderly man lived apart from the church for 20 years, never stepping a foot inside the building. This tsunami changed his perspective of Christians. Please pray for Mr. Sugawara, asking God to help him experience God’s grace and mercy through the actions of Christians.
2.    During May 22~25, I will go into the northeast disaster area. This time, I’m going with 2 co-workers from the Taiwan Chinese Christian Relief Association to visit Kesennuma, Shizugawa, Ishinomaki and Higashimatsuyam, and discuss plans for recovery with several Japanese pastors. These congregations have an average Sunday attendance of under 20 each. These pastors are already giving their utmost for the regular work of their congregations, so they are actually very terrified of the immense recovery effort. Please pray for pastors of Japanese churches, that God will increase their strength so they can run and not be weary.
3.    Please continue to pray for unity in the Japanese church.

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 5:16)
Lord! Use us, so that people may see Your Glory!  
With you, working in Japan, Tina

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