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Reflections on 10th Anniversary of Japan’s Triple Disaster

By Dan & Casi Brown

We all have triggers in our lives. These triggers could be an event, a word, a certain place, or circumstance. For many in Tohoku, earthquakes are a trigger. On February 13th, almost 10 years to the date from the March 11th, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Northeast Japan, we experienced a 7.3 magnitude earthquake, labeled an aftershock of that disastrous event. This aftershock was a trigger for many in our community in which we live.

Brown1 webThe following day, almost every conversation we had was around the earthquake the night before. These conversations then led to many people sharing stories of their experience that day 10-years ago. They recalled where they were and what they did. They remembered not having water or power for many weeks. The memories were still fresh in their minds. The pain and fear that they experienced on that day is still very real in their life. As one person said to us, they are always, “waiting for the next big one”. Each time we hear these stories our hearts break all over again.

GOSPEL STILL AT WORK

Though many in the world have forgotten about Northeast Japan and what was experienced here 10-years ago, God has not forgotten. In experiencing the “aftershock” and stories from those in our community, it is a great reminder of the gospel work that is still here in Tohoku.

A Message of Hope

The gospel is a message of hope—good news of God restoring and reconciling people to himself. In order for this to happen there needs to be those willing to go live in these communities, to listen to the stories and respond as ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-20).

This is incarnational mission.

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Lived Out Through Proximity & Presence

It has been said that incarnational mission requires both proximity and presence. It is hard to love, serve, and carry the message of hope from a distance. We need to move into the neighborhood. This is proximity. Presence is more than proximity. Presence is being available to others, listening to them, engaging with them, sacrificing for them. Jesus was the ultimate model of incarnational mission.

No matter where you may find yourself, those in your community have triggers that bring about pain and fear. The words from the Apostle John in his First Letter challenge us and we pray that they challenge you as well.

“This is how we know we are in him: The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked.”
— 1 John 2:5b-6 (CSB)

Dan and Casi Brown

 


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Dan & Casi Brown Dan and Casi Brown moved to Japan a year after the disaster to partner with Rifu Oasis Chapel, a church impacted by the disaster and deeply involved in the response and recovery. Along with their three children, Dan and Casi desire to see people come to know Jesus. They serve as a bridge between the church and community through PTA, Dad’s PTA, neighborhood committees and after school kid’s clubs.

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