CMA Japan 2011
CMA Japan Mission Log
July 3 - August 9, 2011

Tiffany Case
Naomi Porter
Erica Bergfalk
Hannah Krohn
Katrina White
Christine Rempel
Please join us in our ministry to Japan. Check here daily to follow our steps.
We will be posting news, testimonies and photos on this page.

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Day 25 - 30:
July 28th - August 2nd, 2011

"When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with You above the storm.
Father, You are King over the flood. I will be still and know You are God." - Still
(One of the songs we have been dancing to this summer)

To our dear friends and family,

We had an amazing time serving in Iwaki last week. It is hard to put our thoughts and feelings into mere words, but we will try and give you a glimpse into our experience. Here is a brief overview of our days and reflections from several team members.

Thursday night - We arrived at Global Missions Center in time for worship

Friday -
  • 6am devotions - This was a wonderful way to start every day - worshipping the One who sustains us.
  • Work projects - 5 team members helped to clean a hotel that was damaged by the tsunami, while Hannah served by cleaning the church and preparing meals for the volunteers
  • 8pm meeting- share stories and prayer requests from the day, time of worship

Saturday -
  • 6am devotions
  • Work projects - We all went to the hotel to scrape rust and clean kitchen appliances.
  • 8pm meeting

Sunday -

  • Dance during worship service - This was an awesome privilege and several people told us how touched they were by our worship. One woman said it was as if the Holy Spirit was pouring out healing on the people as we danced and many could not stop crying. Another volunteer shared through tears, how blessed she was that we had taken the time to choreograph to a Japanese song. She thanked us for making the effort to match our movements to the Japanese words. She said it was really impactful. Praise God!

Monday -
  • 6am devotions
  • Work projects - The whole team went to the hotel to work for several hours. Several newspaper reporters came and interviewed Tiffany and other volunteers. After lunch we changed into our costumes and danced for the hotel owners, news paper lady and several of their workers and friends. We danced in one of the undamaged rooms in the hotel and had a perfect view of the ocean through the windows. Dancing to the song Still, thinking of the disaster and looking over the ocean was an amazing worship experience. What an awesome opportunity to proclaim God's love and truth!
  • Serve dinner and dance at an evacuation center
  • 8pm meeting

Tuesday -

  • 6am devotions
  • Work projects - Erica and Naomi return to the hotel to work (and, in a wonderful surprise, get to try on gorgeous kimono owned by the hotel manager's wife!). Hannah serves with the team cleaning the church and preparing meals. Tiffany, Katrina and Christine work on cleaning debris at a house near the ocean.
  • Serve dinner and dance at another evacuation center
  • 9:30pm leave for Tokyo (3 hour drive)

Never Too Late
"From the very first night that we arrived at the Global Mission Center here in Fukushima, I sensed Joy, unity, hope, and encouragement.  We walked in Thursday night to the concluding worship of the nightly meeting here at the center.  We joined about twenty other volunteers in filling the building with joyful praises to the one true God who is bigger than everything on this earth.  Instead of sensing a spirit of despair in this city that has endured so much, I felt the joy of coming together as the body of Christ to serve, encourage, and minister.  The pastors here have been through so much and have been giving of themselves every day, but I still sensed a fresh joy and continued trust in serving our Lord in each one of them.  At the end of this week here, it feels to me like we are one big family, sharing our stories, and working together to bring the joy and life found in Jesus Christ to the hurting people of this world.  
We set out each day to serve the people of this area and one of my favorite moments was dancing at an evacuation center in a nearby city.  After being asked that morning if we would be willing to dance for the people staying at the evacuation center, we agreed to serve food and talk with the people living with the pain of losing their houses to the tsunami.  As we danced, I prayed that God would show these people His love and that He would touch their hearts and bring healing.  Afterward, a lady shared with us how she felt God working in her heart as we danced.  She shared with us how she had attended Sunday School when she was a child but how she has been a Buddhist for most of her adult life.  She shared with us that maybe she felt God calling her to him, but that she thinks it is too late for her to turn to Him.  We repeatedly encouraged her that it is never too late to turn to Jesus and we left her with a promise that we would continue to pray for her.  Please pray that she will be able to accept the amazing gift of God's grace and salvation even when she feels like it is too late for her.  Pray that she will make a decision to turn back to the One True God of the universe and make a decision to give her life to Him." ~Christine
"One Little Girl"
"As I prayed in preparation for our time in Iwaki, I felt like the Lord told me that there was "one little girl" He was sending me to love. The impression was quite strong, and I consistently prayed that He would give me His love for each person I met. This has been a theme for me throughout the trip.doing small things with great love and focusing on the individual. Our time here was coming to an end and there had been no little girl. I thought perhaps I had heard wrong. Then tonight we had the amazing opportunity to serve a meal and dance at an evacuation center. Tiffany told us that there was this one little girl who had just had eye surgery today. As soon as she spoke those words I knew this was the one the Lord had been preparing my heart to meet. I was serving trays of sushi when I saw her across the room. She was crying and collapsed on the floor. I hurried over to her and as soon as I put my hand on her shoulder she drew near to hug me. I found out her name (Aya), her age (10 years old), and that her eye was hurting. Our translator came over and talked and prayed with her in Japanese as I prayed and sang in English. I stroked her back and hair as she rocked and cried, clearly in emotional as well as physical pain. After a while she calmed down and said she was feeling better. I joined her family for dinner in their corner of the large room.
Cardboard boxes served as short walls, and all their belongings in the world were contained in several plastic bags against the wall. After dinner we danced our two Japanese pieces, "Still" and "I Will Sing". I prayed that the Holy Spirit would do a healing work in little Aya's life. I was overwhelmed with a sense of my own helplessness and inability to help in any way without Jesus. Like the little boy with the loaves and fishes, I offered myself as a broken vessel, eager to be filled to overflowing. After we danced, I spent some time talking to Aya-showing her pictures, practicing simple words in Japanese, taking pictures together. Before we left I asked our translator to come over and tell her that I felt that God had sent me there to tell her that He loved her and made her beautiful. I told her I was sad to leave, but would be praying for her. I left her with one of my rings, praying it would be a special reminder of the love of God. Her face softened as we interacted, and her smile blessed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. It was hard to drive away, but I know that my Papa is faithful to complete the work He began in little Aya. I am so humbled to be used by our awesome, compassionate God and eager to go on listening for His voice and loving the one He places in my path."  ~ Naomi

Loving the Person in Front of You
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."   ~Isaiah 55:8-9

"Serving the Lord here in Iwaki has been vastly different than what I expected. I've never done relief work before, or even been to a devastated area. Prior to coming, I had prayed that I would not be overwhelmed by the staggering need and I asked God to help me see and love the individual. As we rode to our worksite the first day, I was still expecting to be weighed down by the things I would see or the stories I would hear.   

We spent the first part of that day serving a couple that ran a hotel, by scrubbing off mold and rust from large kitchen utilities. Although their hotel was not completely destroyed by the tsunami, water damage has rendered their hotel inoperable. I was excited to jump right in and serve, knowing I could bless two specific people. As we visited with them over lunch and then toured their hotel, we learned their hotel normally staffed around 70 people. If they can eventually re-open as planned, the small amount of work we did will serve their staff as well. More importantly, the wife is a believer and uniquely positioned to impact her staff for Christ. That was such an encouraging thought, even if their hotel cannot recover financially. I will be praying for her, that the Lord would strengthen her faith and fill her with joy each and every day. I am praying that her response to these overwhelming circumstances would be a light to the staff. I am asking God to give her a boldness to share with them.

I spent the next few days thinking about the impact that each of us can have - if we trust God, follow His lead, and show a Christ-like love to the individuals that He has placed right in front of us. One of the young men here said something profound. He said (through a translator) "Some people believe in wide evangelism and shallow love, but for me I want love the person in front of me in such a way that THEY will want to go and tell others about Christ."
I want to live like that too.

Broken & Beautiful
On Tuesday, Tiffany, Christine, and I went with a group of people to clean out debris from a house. The house was in more of a residential area, and stood right by the shoreline. As we drove down the road, I noticed that the houses on the opposite side of the road were largely untouched by the tsunami. The "before and after" view created by that divide was potent. After meeting the elderly woman who owned the home, we begin to sort through the remnants of her life. We would show her things we thought might be important, and ask her what she wanted done with it, but the majority of her worldly positions were bound for the trash. She showed us a few water damaged photographs of her family, and left us wondering where they are now. had she already been a widow living alone? Or. ?  The brevity of life and the meaninglessness of worldly possessions came sharply into focus. I cannot imagine what she and so many like her have been through. I wondered how I would respond in the face of such overwhelming loss. Then I heard God gently whisper to my soul "I would be enough. My grace in sufficient, and I AM enough." Suddenly I was overwhelmed with gratefulness to my God and an intense longing for others to come to know the hope I have in Christ. I was flooded with grief for those lost without a Savior with a greater intensity and passion than ever before. My heart is breaking for the Japanese people, as well as specific people that I love back home. Blinking back my tears, I continued to dig broken shards of glass and pieces of pottery out of the sand. The pottery pieces, even though broken, were still so beautiful. I tucked one of those pieces of pottery away to take home with me. It is a powerful symbol of the painful, yet beautiful work God is doing in my heart and will serve as a reminder to pray for the people of Japan."   - Katrina

Please keep praying for the people of Japan. And please pray for our team as we continue to process all that we have seen and felt. Pray that the Lord would continue to do a mighty work in our hearts.

Erica and Hannah are now safely back in America and the rest of have dived into a crazy schedule here in Yokohama. (Which explains the lateness of this update!) Please pray that the Lord will give us energy and strength, physically and emotionally, as we complete the things God has orchestrated for us here in Japan.

Serving a Mighty and Holy King!

Tiffany and CMA Japan 2011 Team

More photos from Fukushima >here<

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