The Radiant Church…
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed… – Psalm 34:5
There has been a lot of talk about radiation here in Japan and many people warned us not to come. It is true, we have encountered more radiation than I have ever encountered in my life… but not the kind you are thinking of. The nuclear radiation levels here (18 miles from nuclear reactor) are reading .38 us/hr (45 us/hr is considered dangerous) on our hand held detectors, so we have a long way to go till that becomes a threat to anyone… The radiation I am talking about is of far greater power and far greater significance. The only real radiation here is the love of Christ burning into this community with a ferocity that can only be explained by the power of the Holy Spirit moving through the people of God.
As we labor beside our Japanese bothers and sisters here in Iwaki, the joy of Jesus abounds and radiates at levels only heaven can fully comprehend. The laughter and positive attitude is contagious and even though I am tired and still jet-lagged I find myself full of a deep joy and worshipful spirit. The Church is always moving, always either in worship, fellowship, mercy and distribution to the needy or prayer. People from all over are streaming into the city to help, coming from different denominations, cities and even other countries. The Church is so united and full of love for each other… minor doctrinal differences fall away and are replaced by humility, love and respect for each other… each person desiring to learn and receive and bless each other.
Most of the officials and leaders in this city of 350,000 have fled with whatever they had. Many of the business owners and wealthy have left leaving many of the stores, gas stations, restaurants and businesses abandoned.
Unfortunately, about half the pastors fled as well, but those who stayed are burning with passion for this city to know Jesus and are uniting together to serve and fill in where the elite and those in power had abandoned. The church we are staying at is called the “Global Mission Center.”
God provided them with an old gambling hall which they renovated into a community church. The first floor was still incomplete and now we know why God had not provided the funds for them to finish it. It has become the distribution center of supplies for the city. All day long trucks are coming in and out, either dropping off donations from around the country or delivering supplies to the many refugee camps. Rev. Mori shared with us his vision of the Gospel going forth into every part of the city and I see it happening. Most of the schools have been turned into refugee camps and that is where Rev. Mori and his team have formed relationships by delivering food and supplies to the people in need. Watching people weep with joy and thankfulness as their felt needs were met and hearing the surprise in their voices when they found out it was the church that was taking care of them was powerful to witness.
Rev. Mori and his team are always in payer and always looking to share the hope they have in Jesus with their fellow country men… Their faith puts on skin as they love their community and I see Jesus working in ways I have never witnessed before in Japan.
Praise God with me as the Radiant bride of Christ shines bright into Iwaki and brings hope, joy and healing to those in need.
Psalm 34:4–7 (ESV)
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.