International Ministries

Ring of Grief

July 19, 2011 Journal
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            We are now 131 days after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters in Japan. Life in Yokohama is nearly normal. However, there are regular scheduled 3-hour power blackouts in many areas of the prefecture, voluntary 20% reduction of power is requested, and more reports of nuclear tainted beef are on the news. (Our area has been spared the blackouts, PTL!) The most inspiring event recently was the never-give-up Japan Women’s soccer team victory over the US team.  Before the final match, their coach showed the team some images from the Tohoku disaster area to inspire them to play for their country.

             Many of the people of Japan celebrated this incredible victory. But just 30 days ago, many people of Tohoku and others ended their official mourning. After 100 days, in some Buddhist traditions, mourning ends. On NHK, the national public broadcast station, a story showed a husband and father removing his wedding band on that day. He had lost his wife and daughter to the tsunami. He said, “I must go on with my life,” he has his remaining son age 5, to take care of. Although his ring is gone, his grief remains, but it is “unofficial.” As a husband and father, this story touched me. Perhaps I could do the same as this man, but without Jesus, I have no idea where I would get my daily strength.

            Are you getting stronger or weaker? Do you have the courage to never give up? With Jesus, I can do all things, through Him who strengthens me. For me, strength only comes from prayer and God’s word. He is the One that gives me courage, but I fail often. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. This truth can transform our “ring of grief” into a ring of hope.

            We need your prayers for our trip to Seattle. We leave tomorrow for our home assignment time of two months. Lee Ann and the kids must return in August because of their school commitments. We will all go to the Philadelphia area for a week at the beginning of August to attend the Conference for Missionaries (CFM) given by International Ministries. Next, we will share with our home church and co-sponsor, Japanese Baptist Church. I will be visiting 4 churches and one women’s conference near Medford, Oregon during September. I will return to Japan at the end of September.

           Thank you for your prayers and support. We met our 2010-2011 financial goal of 80%. We are working toward the next goal of 90% by September 30, 2012. We would love to hear from you and perhaps how you may partner with us in the future. Please help us to bless the Japanese with God’s ring of hope.

 May the Lord continue to richly bless you!

 Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang