ELCA missionaries in Japan, the Rev. Jim and Carol Sack, reflect on their ministry after the tsunami and in the midst of the radiation crisis. Jim is a professor at Japan Lutheran College and Carol is a director of Lyra Precaria, a bedside ministry of prayerful presence through harp and voice.
Carol and I continue to be amazed and dismayed at the images we see of the damage following the earthquake. Please pray for those who are now living in refugee shelters that may be many miles away from their homes that no longer exist. If you can imagine that in just a 10-second span everything you owned was ripped out of your hands and disappeared, that is what the majority of these people experienced on March 11. They have nothing. All of their possessions have been removed from their grip.
At the same time we have seen a great deal of compassion and genuine love expressed by many Japanese as they take in refugees and send supplies up to those who have been so greatly influenced by this disaster. Everyone in this country has been touched by this triple disaster: earthquake, tsunami and radiation. It is gratifying to see such tenderness by people who are reaching out to their fellow Japanese who have suffered so by this event.
One thing that we were very surprised by was the number of comments from Japanese when they see us remaining in Tokyo. Recently, we attended the annual meeting of the East District of the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church. We were told by a number of people how much they appreciated seeing us there. Comments like, “Seeing you remain with us gives us strength” and “You didn’t leave us, thank you!” Totally unexpected, these words gave us a sense of how important just “being there” can be at a time of stress and panic.
I was reminded of the “body of Christ” through these encounters with grateful people. To have so many people thank us for our presence (actually the presence of Christ through us) we have been encouraged to be better witnesses of Christ in Japan.
Peace to my brothers and sisters in Christ,
Jim (and Carol) Sack
To support the work of ELCA missionaries, go to www.elca.org/4missionaries. To begin or renew a covenant sponsorship of a missionary, visit www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-638-3522, ext. 2657.
on April 10th, 2011 at 5:02 pm
Please know my family and I are praying for you and all of those struck by these disasters, we spent six years in Japan from 78-84. The last three in Misawa.
Bless you folks and keep up the good work, may His Peace confort you and all those you minister to.
on April 21st, 2011 at 3:47 am
Jim and Carol,
Grateful for your ministry of presence and strength during this difficult time. You embody the global church and witness of the caring community. We pray for you, for the church and for the people of Japan.
on April 21st, 2011 at 8:39 am
Hi Jim and Carol,
The beautiful people we know in Japan have been in our prayers. We pray that you and the JELC will continue to find god’s love and peace as Japan recovers. Personal greetomgs
on April 25th, 2011 at 9:21 am
Jim & Carol,
I have been thinking of you often and have passed along this blog posting to my home congregation. Please continue to keep us updated and know that we are praying for Japan.
Sarah Anne Loan
on May 16th, 2011 at 10:29 am
Hi Jim and Carol,
I was told by your brother Peter that you received my Thanksgiving/Christmas card created during our Joy Circle meeting at Abiding Presence. It was thrilling to hear this story from Peter. God’s world is truly connected. May you continue to be blessed as you work in Japan.
Sister in Christ,
on May 16th, 2011 at 8:23 pm
Dear Jim and carol,
The second time when I met you Jim at the Japan Lutheran College was on my birthday. I reiterate my favourate lines “God’s love is so wonderful…” Your accompaniment enhanced my confidence in the expression of love. I thank God for His providence, to get connected people like you in Japan. I am so privileged to be part of Japan Lutheran Community with smiling and loving people around representing the LWF in the service of humanity after this multiple hazards turned disaster.
Let us help in prayers,