The Rev. Eric and Christie Hanson are ELCA missionaries in Tokyo. They are serving with the Tokyo Lutheran Church and the Hongo Student Center. To support the Hansons, or another of the ELCA’s 230 missionaries, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.
Since returning from home assignment in September, we have been working to solidify the new outreach ministries that we helped to start at Tokyo Lutheran about two years ago. As many of you know, Christie and I will be ending our service in Japan and returning to the U.S. at the end of September, and so our goal is to have the workings of our ministry hammered out in such a way that the new pastor can smoothly and easily step into the position that we will vacate when he comes this fall. For the first time in many years, Tokyo Lutheran now provides intentional ministries of social outreach (specifically, outreach to the homeless) and evangelism in both English and Japanese, and for that reason we have seen a “boom” of new baptisms and membership growth in these past two years. Our church has been blessed with the fresh energy and gifts that our newly baptized members have brought into our community, and we are riding the Spirit that they bring to continue making Tokyo Lutheran a place where people of many nations and languages can find a spiritual home for worship, prayer, spiritual growth and social outreach.
Recently, Pastor Sekino (Tokyo Lutheran’s head pastor) had a chance to speak with a couple of women who used to live near the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, but who were forced to leave their homes as a result of the high levels of radiation that continue to plague the area. They said that they have been coming to Tokyo Lutheran since relocating to Tokyo and have been so thankful that they could find a church in Tokyo that could help them get through the painful experience of their sudden evacuation. We thank God that we can provide this kind of ministry to people in need, especially after the disasters that Japan has suffered this past year, and we ask you to keep praying for us so that we can continue being living examples of the love that God has for his children, especially those who are in search for relief from sin and pain.
As always, I hope this letter finds all of you doing great work in your own respective mission fields! By all means, invite your congregations to contact Christie or me anytime with questions or curiosities that you have regarding our work here in Tokyo. God bless you all and once again, thank you so much for your support!
Eric and Christie Hanson