Tohoku Baptist Retreat

September 29, 2019

Tohoku Baptist Retreat

Last week we attended the Tohoku (northern Japan) Baptist Retreat this week.  About 90 members from 12 Baptist churches in northern Japan gathered in Matsushima (well known sightseeing place) to have a retreat.  This year, our church hosted this event and all the church members worked as a team to prepare.

Worship Service and Children’s Program

During the opening worship service, children from our church sang two praise songs and they did an amazing job!  After the service, we led the children’s program.  We took children to the facility that used to be an elementary school.  This school was severely damaged by the tsunami in 2011.  The city built a new school on a higher ground, but they decided to keep this old building to use it as a memorial place to remember the March 11 disaster.  They also wanted to use this facility to teach people what to do during a major earthquake.

Children had so much fun playing at the play area.  It was a very unique experience.  Each station was used to teach a lesson.  For example, the play house represented a damaged town, the rock climbing wall represented a sea wall, the cargo net represented a big tsunami, and the slide represented a mountain.  They all teach children the importance of running to higher ground as soon as possible.

Museum and First Aid Training

After playing, we all went to the memorial room to see photos and videos of the March 11 disaster.  It was not easy to see them but they stimulated important conversations with the children.  We talked about what we should do and several children said “pray to God first”.  While that was a good reminder for everyone, it is also a good idea to run to safety as you are praying!

There was another room where children could learn emergency life skills.  Many children did not know how to use a public phone. They were amazed!  They also learned how to use a vending machine when the power is out!

At the end, we went to the theater room to watch a short movie about the history of this area and how people are working hard to rebuild the city.  Some children had tears in their eyes. Before we left, we gathered in front of the entrance to pray for those who are still going through struggles as well as for those who are working hard to rebuild the city.

Encouragement for Adults

While we were away for the children’s program, the adults had several sessions and small group discussions.  They all seemed to have a good time learning together. Tohoku area is so big and it is not easy to get together.  Many church members look forward to this annual retreat.  The speaker’s messages were encouraging and the fellowship was uplifting. During the small group discussions, some people shared the challenges that they are facing in their lives as well as major needs at their church.  Please pray for Japanese believers and churches to stay strong and bold to share the good news of Christ!

Categories: Aid for Japan, Hope for Japan News.

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