A letter from Timothy & Mari McKenzie, ELCA missionaries serving in Tokyo.
We send you greetings from the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church to whom we have been sent as ELCA missionaries, and from Japan Lutheran College and Japan Lutheran Theological Seminary where we are assigned.
The ELCA works together with the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church (JELC), which was founded out of American Lutheran missionary efforts that began in 1892. The JELC has two churches in Sendai city, in the area affected by the recent earthquake. At present the pastor, members and families of both of these churches – Sendai Lutheran Church and Tsurugaya Lutheran Church – are safe. We ask that you remember them in your prayers, however, that they would receive strength and peace, as they struggle with the uncertainty that this earthquake has brought to their area and that as churches they might be a source of hope to those around them.
One unique aspect of our Lutheran College and Seminary in Tokyo is that it is the school of not only the JELC, but also of the Japan Lutheran Church (JLC). The JLC was begun out of the missionary efforts of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod immediately after World War II.
Therefore, because of the close cooperation in mission and theological education that these two Japanese Lutheran churches share, we are also deeply concerned about the churches of the JLC that are also affected by the earthquake. For example, two JLC churches – Koreyama Lutheran Church and Fukushima Lutheran Church – are located just south of Sendai, in the middle of an area deeply affected by the earthquake. At Fukushima Lutheran Church, a wall in the sanctuary has collapsed in two places, but we give thanks that the members are safe. The members of Koreyama Church are also safe, but Koreyama is an area that has been without telephone, water and gas (for heat and cooking). We also ask that you would remember our sisters and brothers at Fukushima and Koreyama Lutheran Churches in prayer. They are churches that support the theological education and seminary training of our college and seminary, and we are one with them through Christ’s body, the church.
We thank you for your sponsorship of our work in Japan, and for your sponsorship of the wider Global Mission of the ELCA. Your gifts help the ELCA and us to continue to participate in the life and ministries of the Lutheran church in Japan.
We know that we are all part of Christ’s body, the church, and that when one part of the body suffers we all suffer together. (1 Cor. 12:26). Please remember our sisters and brothers in Christ of both the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Japan Lutheran Church, that amidst their suffering, they might also offer healing and hope to this land so deeply affected by this tragic earthquake.
Sincerely in Christ,
Timothy & Mari McKenzie