International Ministries

Thanksgiving and the Gift

December 30, 2016 Journal
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Every year in November, we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with our Bible study. We combine Thanksgiving with Christmas since the students are too busy to visit us during finals. This year, about 18 people attended including our family. We sang Christmas carols and did a “white elephant” gift exchange and told the Thanksgiving story, “Sqaunto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving.” Please pray for the three non-believers who came and heard the message of Christ. 

In December, we had many opportunities to share Christ in word and deed. I was privileged to visit Tohoku (NE Japan) again with a team of four people from Soshin Baptist church. We delivered hand-picked, organic hakusai (napa cabbage) and daikon (mild flavored, large white radish) to three youchien (pre-schools). I learned that, after over five years, many families near the ruined nuclear reactors still suffer from fear and anxiety. They do not trust the local water or locally grown food. They do not believe the government who says it is safe from radiation. At one youchien we visited, a majority of families buy imported water and rice for their children. These families have separate rice cookers for their kids.

The principal and pastor at Harumachi youchien spent over an hour sharing with us. Their youchien is unique in that they have decontaminated the soil many times and have tried very hard to keep the levels of radiation low on their playground. Because of their efforts, the children are allowed to play outside for short periods.  They warmly received our vegetable gifts and thanked us. 

Just two weeks before our trip, they suffered another large, 6.9M “after-shock” in nearby Fukushima. No severe damage was done, but it brought back the strong, traumatic memories again. They still need our prayers and support, as the recovery will continue for a long time.

The sharing of our small gift of vegetables allowed us to pray for and encourage these courageous leaders with Christ’s love. We left with tears and with hope to return again for another visit. What a gift we received! 

May the Lord continue to richly bless you in 2017!

With Thanks,

Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang

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