Testimonial: Ishinomaki Team#19
Ishinomaki Team#19 Sept. 17th- 19th, 2011
When the Great Earthquake and Tsunami hit Northeast Japan on March 11th, we(TBC) were called to bring Good News to the survivors of the region. Many survivors have lost their loved ones and everything, every belonging and even to a hope and a purpose to live. Indeed, God has opened the door for us to reach out to these survivors who lost their hope. 6months have passed since March11th, but we believe that the door is still WIDELY open for us to GO and to evangelize.
First day… God has gathered 12 members to GO as Team#19 to Ishinomaki from Sept.17th to 19th. As I was personally praying for this opportunity to Go, I thank the Lord for answering the prayer. The team, led by Pastor Joel, decided to be as flexible as possible regarding schedule and what to do during the stay… because we wanted our Father to show us and direct us to whatever we must do while we are there. The long weekend started with some traffic jam, but the team arrived safely to Ishinomaki.
Second day… God blessed TBC@Ishinomaki with Sunday worship service with 7 non-believers and a baptism of recently convicted lady (Ms.R)! We praise God for the privilege to witness her baptism. Ms.R is very friendly, energetic and kind, but experienced discrimination while she was living in a refugee center because of her nationality. This loneliness was killing her very sensitive heart… TBC Go-Relief members have kept supporting her mentally and to meet her/her family’s physical needs; she accepted Christ as her personal Lord and Saviour the week before and made a decision to be baptized.
After the worship service on Sunday, the team including Ms.R left to a temporary housing nearby. We planned a small concert by our brother in Chrsit, Mr.D. and Hand massage (with prayers and Gospel sharing) using a space provided. I don’t know how many people came… so many! God has softly touched the hearts of the visitors with our massage and conversations over nice coffee and chocolates. One lady confessed and accepted Christ this time. Her soul was ready for HARVEST.
God Use Me!! (G.U.M.)
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
Hand massage and any kind of body touch helped the members to practically show the love of Christ to the people. Both ladies and guys loved it! We found out that their shoulders and hands were so sore and stiff, because they have been staying in a small space with no chance to go out so much and also because of their nervousness and mental tiredness from fear for never ending aftershocks…
One old lady that I gave a hand massage to… She was smiling but didn’t speak to me for the first 5minutes or so… I did not know what I had to say or what I should ask… but by God’s grace and power, I asked her “How are you?” The lady replied that she lost her husband and a child and that no one is left in her family. She didn’t cry at all while she was sharing. Another silence… Did not know what to say. After the massage, she kindly accepted my offer of prayers. I prayed with her by holding her hands together; as I prayed for healing and salvation and the hope to live for ETERNITY, she started crying. After the prayer, she talked to me more about her experience and that she feels safe and secure with us… I praise the Lord for only the love of God can change the hearts of the people!
It was also encouraging to see a new believer Ms.R was naturally serving with us! We pray for her growth in faith and discipleship.
Third day… The team went to God Open-Handed (group devotion based on Micah 6:6-8 and Psalm 51:17) in the morning. Believing and trusting that God will show His glory and wonderful work this day if we go to Him empty hands.
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalm 51:17”
God brought the team to one of the most devastated areas of Ishinomaki closer to the shore. Houses were swept away… I stood there for a while, imaging how I would feel if one of the houses were mine… Sadness and brokenness surrounded the area. We could only hope that God allowed this to happen to save MANY lives for eternity. The team gathered in circle to pray for the hearts of the survivors from the region and for rebuilding of the neighbourhood.
After the prayer, the team headed to Ms.S’s house to see how she is doing. She lost her husband from the tsunami and lives by herself in a house. As the team gathered in circle again to pray for Ms.S and for her neighbourhood, another old lady, Ms.A with tears in her eyes, asked if she could join in our prayer circle… I held her hand and asked God to SAVE her and the victims in the area. After several members prayed, Pastor Joel shared Gospel to Ms.A. She accepted Christ as her personal Lord and Saviour! Praise God!
After she prayed to receive forgiveness and faith in Christ, Pastor Joel asked her “Where is Jesus?” She said at loud “In MY HEART!”
God is so Good! The team of 12 members were all humbled by God’s great love and His Mighty works. All Glory belong to God! Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus…Please praise His Name with us! He SAVES!
For anyone interested to join Go-Relief team, please start praying about it. He will answer your prayers!