To Japan with Love: Tyndale Students Continue to Help Japan
Today is the four month anniversary of the 9.0 earthquake that struck off the east coast of Honshu, Japan on March 11, 2011. The earthquake sparked a massive tsunami that killed over 18,000 people and caused an estimated 200 billion dollars’ worth of damage. Japan has suffered over 500 aftershocks since the initial quake. This weekend another tsunami warning was issued when a 7.0 earthquake was detected off the east coast. Despite the cleanup and rebuilding that has begun, the full consequences of the disaster have not yet been felt. It will take decades to gage the repercussions of the nuclear contaminants that have leaked from the damaged Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
A team of Tyndale students was to go on a mission trip to Japan this May, but their journey was cancelled due to the uncertainty surrounding the nuclear disaster. However, the Japan team, led by Rebecca Eastall, Nicholas Dookheran and Tyndale’s Worship Coordinator, Colin Owen, felt that it was crucial that they continue their mission. They searched for ways they could help the people of Japan from Ontario. Each Sunday in May, the members of the team went to a different church to lead worship, share testimonies from past trips and raise funds for Japan. “The decision to stay in Canada was really hard for me,” says Rebecca Eastall, “it wasn’t what I wanted, but God wanted us to stay here. It was really cool to see the doors that God was opening. Churches wanted us to come and speak about Japan.”
Partnering with OMF, Tyndale has sent missions teams to Japan the last three years in a row. The Japan teams have gone with a focus on ministering through music, especially worship music. In the past, the teams have taught music to children, participated in building projects, helped with ESL teaching and performed for schools, churches and Universities. Many of the students on the Japan team have travelled to Japan before and have passed through some of the areas that were affected by the tsunami. The media attention surrounding the earthquake and tsunami allowed the team to share their love for the people of Japan in a way they had not been able to before.
“Not many people in Canada know about the state of the Church in Japan,” says Colin Owen, “Japan is only one percent Christian. It was cool to bring awareness to people in Canada of what’s going on there. In the areas of Japan that we go to, there are still pretty big towns of twenty or thirty thousand people that don’t have any churches yet.” However, Colin says that he does see God at work there: “We saw great things happening through worship music. We saw people step into the church just to listen to us lead worship. They probably would not have stepped in otherwise.”
There is still a lot of need in Japan with thousands of homeless families and the ongoing nuclear disaster. “There are still lots of ways to help the people of Japan,” says Rebecca Eastall. Rebecca, with support from Tyndale, is organizing an all-day carnival on July 30 at First Alliance Church in Scarborough to raise funds for earthquake and tsunami relief. “We are trying to get a lot of the churches and community members in the area involved and we are still looking for volunteers,” says Rebecca. “There is going to be live music throughout the day, a barbeque, a raffle and many other activities.” Come out and support the earthquake and tsunami relief effort.
“To Japan with Love”
Saturday July 30, 2011
First Alliance Church
3250 Finch Avenue East, Toronto
416 494 3269, Ext. 21