Since the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami, there are 20,000 people dead or missing in Japan.
Already recognized as one of the countries with the highest suicide rate, Japan is also the largest unreached nation completely open to missionaries.
During this time of extreme need, Japan Cru staff members and volunteers have been on steady response. Forming “Love In Action” teams, dozens of JCCC staff members have returned to devastated areas. Chiaki Kawai, a student serving in the hardest-hit Tohoku region, helped bring supplies to a woman named Kumagai.
As the woman thanked her, Chiaki said, “God loves you, has kept you alive and provided help for you. When I face difficult times, God helps, encourages and comforts me.” She explained that Kumagai could invite God into her heart, and they prayed together as she accepted Christ.
She is now meeting with a local pastor. Besides relief work, staff members have used My Last Day, a new animated short film. The clip is the first professionally produced Christian movie in animé, a Japanese style of animation.
Its completion, produced in part by the Global Short Film Network, took place a timely one month after the earthquake, and staff members have already seen success in using it to explain Christianity. “Many people are wondering, Why has this happened?
How can anyone even say that there can be a God amidst all this suffering?” says Michael Chan, a short-term missionary with Cru, whose team has traveled to different relief efforts, often sleeping in refugee camps.
“I can’t really give an answer to that, as there is probably a different answer to everyone,” says Michael. “But to just trust and know that God knows what He’s doing. God knew that this earthquake would happen. And so here I am.”