Report on visit to South Africa (October 2017) 日本語版あり


Report on visit to South Africa

June 29 to October 10, 2017


During the past three and a half months we had the privilege to visit our home country South Africa, from the end of June until middle October. The purpose of the visit was to thank our supporters and to give feedback about our life and work in Japan. This is a necessary event every three years, in order to sustain long-term support for our sending organization, Mission Japan.

The whole visit took almost nine months of in-between planning and organizing, before our departure. In general everything went very well. To speak freely (and preach) in our mother tongue, Afrikaans, felt like a fresh breath of air. To experience South Africa’s rich bio-diversity, vast landscapes and its diverse peoples, was once again invigorating. In the process we were also able to see our family and friends and deepen our relational ties. The fellowship and sense of belonging in our homeland was a true blessing to experience. There was also time and opportunities for some necessary rest.

We realized afresh that we, as missionary family, are but a “small cog in a large wheel”. Our life and work forms part of a huge network of supporters and leaders that each have their own roles and responsibilities within Mission Japan. We are very grateful to be part of such a team, which wholeheartedly supports the long-standing partnership with the Reformed Church in Japan (RCJ).

I would like to shortly report on the following four aspects of the visit:

  • Visits to congregations
  • Deputation from Japan
  • Academic interactions
  • Mission Japan meeting

Visits to congregations

We had more than 50 opportunities to visit supporters, mainly coming from churches of the Dutch Reformed family of South Africa. Sunday morning and evening worship services made up 20 of these opportunities. It included more than 3500 people who heard the message concerning our life and work in Japan. The video and powerpoint presentations I shared, focused on the Japanese context in general, as well as on Kobe Reformed Theological Seminary and our other church related ministries.

The other 30 meetings with supporters consisted of groups between 5-50 people at a time, during weekdays. It ranged from small rural towns to big inner cities, and stretched over six very diverse, main regions of the country. I travelled more than 8500km to these destinations by car, and many more by airplane, to make these visits. In the process I slept in 25 different beds, and received the warm hospitality of countless friends. Carina and our children were also part of some of these visits, in the regions closer to our basis, which was located in Still Bay.

Our experience of the past three months brought Paul’s words in Philippians 1:3-6 to mind:

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

The keyword here is “partnership” (koinonia). Partnership for the sake of the gospel. The Philippians partnered with Paul on his missionary journey. No other church partnered with him when he left Macedonia. But the Philippians supported him consistently when he was in need, especially in tough and challenging times. Their concern for Paul was because they valued the truth of the gospel. And Paul himself ignited that attitude in them, fueled by the work of the Holy Spirit. This gave Paul much joy: that this wonderful, vulnerable group of people did so much good work. Their perseverance in partnership was a sure sign of God’s work in them.

We praise the Lord with deep joy and gratitude, for the big network of supporters that have been with us these past years. Some people whom I met while doing visits this time, have even been involved as supporters since more than 40 years ago. They possess a wealth of wisdom and depth of commitment that once again inspired us. On the other hand, many children and youth also became aware of Japan and its needs and realities. Their involvement adds a necessary dose of vitality to the partnership.

We are especially grateful for new individuals and congregations that have made fresh commitments to be with us on the long road ahead. Their prayers, involvement, encouragement and financial support, are indeed like a strong safety net for us. It gives us hope and new vision to continue with passion in the Japanese mission field, which is sometimes described as a marsh or a graveyard for missionaries.

One other meaningful dimension which was unique to this deputation visit, was the focus on diaconal partnerships. After the triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami and radio-active damage) that struck North-East Japan on 11 March, 2011, the RCJ got involved in various diaconal actions within various communities in Japan. Many valuable lessons were learned. The Dutch Reformed family of churches supported the RCJ in these efforts in various ways.

When South Africa experienced a similar crisis in terms of the recent fire disaster in Knysna (June 2017), our RCJ brothers and sisters assisted with financial aid. In these ways we are mutually supporting and learning from each other, in terms of relief care and diaconal work in terms of natural disasters and more. I was privileged to share discussion about such issues with the Diaconia team leaders (of the DRC and URCSA) in the Western Cape Synod. We look forward to deepen these discussions and involvements in the future.

Deputation from Japan

From August 29 to September 5, a delegation from the RCJ visited South Africa. Two pastors (Revv. Hirotsugu Mochida and Makio Nishi) as well as an elder (Dr. Shin Toyokawa) represented the RCJ Synod Diaconal Action Commission (RCJ DAC). The main purpose of their short visit was to deepen their involvement with a specific diaconal project in Botshabelo township, outside Bloemfontein. Furthermore, they were involved in visits to various congregations and church related events. This was done under the auspices of the DRC Free State Synod, and specifically its organization called “Partners in Mission”, led by Dr. Gideon Van der Watt.

The Botshabelo community is experiencing many difficulties due to extreme poverty, unemployment, disintegrating family life, the challenge of HIV and Aids, etc. There is a relatively high percentage of vulnerable and orphaned children – children at risk – in the Boshabelo area.

The RCJ DAC entered into a formal partnership with the Setshabelo Family & Child Services (SFCS). It is a registered welfare organisation (NPO) and designated Child Protection Organisation. SFCS has been working since 2014 in partnership with the Department of Social Development, local churches and communities, as well as international partners. It is currently receiving no grants from government and is dependent on donations, fund raising, sponsorships, etc. SFCS renders the following services: Adoption; Foster Care Services; Family Interventions / Family preservation services; Church Engagement, Parental Training and Screening; The Child and Youth Care Centre (CYCC); Administrative Support etc.

A Memorandum of Agreement was proposed, in which he RCJ intends to assist SFCS in the following ways:

  • Financial assistance (as and when possible), for specific projects as mutually agreed upon.
  • The focus of the assistance will be on: enhancing CYCC and assisting/corresponding with selected adoptive families.
  • When possible, the RCJ DAC will send volunteers for periods to assist with certain mutually agreed upon projects.

The visit of our three brothers from Japan was truly meaningful and inspiring in many ways. I was privileged to share many deep and hopeful experiences with them, as we travelled to many different places. We were constantly in conversation, trying to translate and make sense of a diversity of meetings with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Between Japanese, SeSotho, Afrikaans and English expressions, we enjoyed an overabundance of possible interpretations. It led to a rich experience of newfound relationships, and a shared vision for future partnerships, for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

The delegation’s visit also included the following visits / interactions:

  • a macro congregation (DRC Pellissier)
  • a church (DRC Towers of Hope) working with the homeless and poorest of the poor.
  • a Reformation 500 gathering where dr. Shin Toyokawa presented an excellent lecture on being Reformed in Japan
  • meetings and events in Botshabelo community, including homestay opportunities in the township
  • attendance of a meeting called the Reformed Initiative for Community Development
  • a safari trip in Brandfort area
  • social gatherings at Dr. Gideon Van der Watt’s home as well as with Rev. Yoshitsugu Onishi (theological exchange student at Free State Faculty of Theology) and his family
  • various church worship services and gatherings, including a ministry to the Chinese people at DRC Hugenoot
  • academic lectures which I presented at Free State Faculty of Theology

All in all, this RCJ delegation’s visit was really significant. To view South Africa and its people, the relations between church and community etc. through our Japanese brothers’ eyes, was truly meaningful and enriching. Once again our partnership – as brothers and sisters in Christ from radically different contexts – was deepened and strengthened. Indeed we need each other as members of one Body of Christ, albeit from different corners of the globe.

Academic interactions

During our visit I had the privilege of presenting academic lectures at two Faculties of Theology, at Stellenbosch University, as well as at Free State University (in Bloemfontein).

In light of this year’s Reformation 500 celebrations, I focused these lectures on the historical development of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Care, from a Reformed perspective. The aim was to explore its significance and meaning today. I informed this topic from my experiences in pastoral ministries, both in South Africa and Japan.

It was an enriching experience to share ideas with under-graduate and post-graduate students, as well as with lecturers and pastors at these two faculties of theology. As a research fellow of the department of Practical Theology and Missiology, at Stellenbosch University, this kind of interaction is necessary and significant. The meaningful conversations that ensued, and the contacts made, will surely inform and enhance the content of my teaching at Kobe Reformed Theological Seminary.

Mission Japan meeting

From September 25-27, we have had a blessed meeting of Mission Japan’s general committee, gathering at Still Bay. We recommitted ourselves to our calling to be disciples of Jesus Christ in Japan. We built new relationships and reaffirmed our vision and mission. Mission Japan was also restructured to function more effectively and to strengthen our current support network.

The group of six pastors from the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, that visited Japan in April 2017, participated in a special conference hosted by DRC Still Bay congregation. Rev. Tobie de Wet and his wife Annalie, together with the local church leaders, led and hosted us all with warm hospitality. Many church leaders from surrounding towns also participated, and the group of six pastors shared various, very inspiring experiences from their visit to Japan.

After the conference, Mission Japan’s general committee continued discussions on numerous important issues concerning the future of our work. A decision was made to start a process to enlarge our involvement with the Reformed Church in Japan, by recruiting new missionaries. This process may still take some time, but we trust that God will provide in the need for new and able candidate missionaries. Mission Japan is also excited about the possibility that the Reformed Church in South Africa (our sister church) might join us, as an official partner in this venture. Discussions about these developments will in due course continue with the relevant RCJ representatives.

Furthermore, the management committee had a special pastoral conversation with myself and Carina. Their loving care and earnest concern for us was, as always, evident. We could share our honest feelings and experiences in the safe space of their empathetic listening. In hindsight these past three months were truly blessed, but also quite disruptive for our family at times. Carina had to continue with homeschooling in various new settings, and amidst the fact that I was away with church visitations for long periods of time. The consistent involvement and care of Tobie and Annalie made this bearable and meaningful.

During our meeting we could celebrate and bring thanks to God for the blessings bestowed upon Mission Japan – in multiple ways. Relationships between us as members of the Mission Japan team, were deepened. We were inspired to utilize our God-given gifts to the best of our abilities, for the purposes which God calls each of us to do.

Carina and I and our children were once again filled with gratitude and appreciation for such a compassionate and concerned team that support us. We praise God for a very blessed time of deputation. Soli Deo Gloria!





6月末から10月中旬まで3ヶ月半、母国南アフリカを訪問することができました。 訪問の目的は、私たちの働きを支援してくれるサポーターに感謝を伝え、日本での生活や仕事についての報告をすることです。これは、私たちを送り出しているミッション・ジャパンが長期的な支援を続けるため、三年に一度行うように義務づけられているものです。

今回の訪問には、出発前の計画と日程調整を含め、ほぼ9ヶ月間を費やしました。 全体的に、すべて順調でした。 母国語のアフリカーンス語で自由に話せる(そして説教できる)ことは、新鮮な息吹のように感じました。 南アフリカの、いろいろな生物がたくさんいる環境、広大な景色、多様な人種の人々との交わりを体験することで、再び元気づけられました。滞在中、家族や友人に会い、きずなを深めることもできました。故郷での交わり・帰属感を体験したことは、本当の祝福でした。 また、休息のために必要な時間と機会も与えられました。

私たちは、宣教師家族として、「大きな歯車の小さな歯」であることに改めて気づかされました。 私たちの生活や働きは、ミッション・ジャパンのなかでそれぞれ役割と責任を負っているサポーターとリーダーたちからなる巨大ネットワークの一部を成しています。 日本キリスト改革派教会(RCJ)との長年のパートナーシップを全面的に支えているこのようなチームの一員であることに非常に感謝しています。


  • 教会訪問
  • 日本からの代表団
  • 学術交流
  • ミッション・ジャパンのミーティング







この数年間、私たちを支援してくれた人々の大きなネットワークを覚えて、喜びと感謝の気持ちをもって主をたたえます。今回の訪問で出会った何人かの人々は、40年以上前からサポーターとして関わってこられました。 彼らは豊かな知恵と深い献身の心を持っていて、私たちは新たな気づきを与えられました。 他方、多くの子どもや青年も、日本と、日本のニーズと現実に関心を持つようになりました。 彼らが加わってくれることで、パートナーシップに必要な活力が増すことと思います。

私たちは、これからの長い道のりを私たちと一緒に歩もう、と新しい気持ちで約束してくれた新しい個人や教会に特に感謝をしています。 彼らの祈り、関わり、励まし、経済的支援は、確かに私たちのための強力な安全網のようなものです。しばしば宣教師にとっての沼地だの墓場だのと言われてしまう日本という土地に情熱を持ち続けるための希望と新たなビジョンを、(この安全網は)私たちに与えてくれます。


8月29日から9月5日までの間、RCJの代表団が南アフリカを訪問しました。 二人の牧師(持田浩次牧師と西牧夫牧師)と長老(豊川慎博士)が大会執事活動委員会を代表して訪問してくださいました。 彼らの短期訪問の主な目的は、ブルームフォンテーンの外にあるBotshabeloタウンシップの特定の執事活動との関わりを深めることです。その他様々な集会や教会関連のイベントへの訪問にも同行しました。 これはDRC Free State Synodの後援、特に、ギデオン・ファン・デア・ヴァット博士が率いる 「パートナーズ・イン・ミッション」と呼ばれる団体による後援で行われました。

Botshabeloコミュニティは、極度の貧困、失業、家庭の崩壊、HIV/エイズの挑戦などにより多くの困難を経験しています。Boshabelo地区は、脆弱な子どもや孤児 – 危険にさらされている子ども – の割合が比較的高いです。

大会執事活動委員会は、Setshabelo Family&Child Services(SFCS)と正式に提携を結びました。SFCSは、登録された福祉組織(NPO)であり、児童保護組織として指定されています。2014年以来SFCSは、社会開発省、地元の教会や地域社会、国際的なパートナーと協力して活動しています。現在、政府からの助成金は得られず、寄付、資金調達、スポンサーシップなどに依存しています。SFCSは、養子縁組、里親ケア、家族介入/家族保護、教会への仲介、保護者の訓練と審査、子どもと青少年ケアセンター(CYCC)、行政支援などを行っています。


  • 相互に合意された特定のプロジェクトのための資金援助(可能な場合)
  • 援助の焦点は、CYCCの強化と、選ばれた養子縁組を支援/対応すること
  • 可能なときは、大会執事活動委員会が相互に合意した特定のプロジェクトを支援するためのボランティアを派遣する



  • 大規模な教会 (DRC Pellissier教会)
  • ホームレスや貧困層の中でも最も貧しい人たちのために働いている教会(DRCタワーズオブホープ教会)
  • 宗教改革500年集会 (ここで豊川慎博士が日本において改革派でいることに関する優れた講演を行った)
  • Botshabeloコミュニティでのミーティングやイベント(地区でのホームステイを含む)
  • 地域開発のための改革派イニシアティブ(Reformed Initiative)と呼ばれる会議への出席
  • Brandfort地区のサファリ旅行
  • ギデオン・ファン・デル・ワット博士宅での、大西良嗣牧師(フリーステート大学の神学部の交換神学生)とその家族との交わり
  • DRC Hugenootでの中国人への奉仕を含む様々な教会礼拝や集会
  • 私がフリーステート大学の神学部で発表した学術講演





この2つの神学部の教員や牧師と同様に、大学生や大学院生ともアイデアを共有することは豊かな経験でした。 ステレンボッシュ大学の実践神学・伝道学部門の研究員として、この種の交流は必要かつ重要です。その後の有意義な会話や出会った人々は、神戸改革派神学校での私の授業内容をさらに深め向上させるでしょう。










Visit of young DRC pastors to Japan – April 2017


Vir die (Mei 2016) Afrikaanse Nuusflits,

wat vertel van die besoek van jong NG Kerk leraars aan Japan,  kliek hier

For the (June 2016) English Newsflash,

reporting on the visit of young DRC pastors to Japan click here

Besoek van leraars uit NG Kerk SA – April 2017


Dr. Pieter Van Jaarsveld (NG Kerk Bothaville)


  1. Versoek van die Reformed Church of Japan

Die Reformed Church of Japan het Missie Japan versoek om ‘n groepie jonger predikante van die NG Kerk na Japan te stuur om eerstens hulleself ten opsigte van die situasie in Japan op hoogte te bring en tweedens om die kerk in Japan met die besoek te verryk en derdens oor die situasie van die kerk in Japan te kom verslag doen.

  1. Groep wat die besoek meegemaak het

Die groep wat die besoek meegemaak het, was Di. Cornis Botha van Klawer;    Elsché Eygelaar van Constantia, Rudolph Grobler van George-Bergsig, Mias van Jaarsveld van Bethlehem-Wes, Johann Winterbach van George-Suid en dr Pieter van Jaarsveld van Bothaville.

  1. Doelwitte wat gestel is 

Om bande met die RCJ te versterk.

Om te luister wat die RCJ vir ons wil sê.

Om ‘n jonger generasie predikante van die NG Kerk blootstelling aan die kerk in Japan te gee.

Om die RCJ blootstelling aan ‘n jonger generasie predikante van die NG Kerk te gee.

Om ons sendelinge te bemoedig: Stephan en Carina van der Watt en hulle kinders en Gys en Linda Olivier en hulle kinders.

  1. Persone, gemeentes, instansies en groepe wat besoek is

Teologiese Kweekskool van die RCJ in Kobe

Derdejaar klas van die Teologiese Kweekskool

RCJ gemeente Kita Kobe

RCJ gemeente Koshien

RCJ gemeente Tokushima

RCJ gemeente Shin-Urayasu in Tokyo

RCJ gemeente Inage Kaigan in Tokyo

Christen Meisieskool Seiwa Gakuen in Kochi

Sendingkommissie van die Ring van Shikoku

‘n Groep jonger leraars van die Ring van Shikoku

Ds. Taka Ashida

Gys en Linda Olivier en hulle kinders Linie en Johan

Stéphan en Carina van der Watt en hulle kinders Annlie, Cornelis, Lodewyk en Stephan

Mnr Yoshio en mev Yukiko Natori van die gemeente RCJ Shin-Urayasu

Mev Hadda van die gemeente RCJ Inage Kaigan

  1. Behoefte wat uitgespreek is 

Die behoefte aan nog sendelinge uit Suid Afrika is herhaaldelik by die kontakgeleenthede uitgespreek.

  1. Vergadering met die Sendingkommissie van die Ring van Shikoku

Die vergadering met lede van die Sendingkommissie van die Ring van Shikoku in Kochi het op 12 April plaasgevind. Prof Makita, Ds Kobu en ‘n ouderling het die groep by die RCJ gemeente in Kochi ontmoet. Die volgende is gehoor:

  • Die Kommissie voorsien groot probleme vir Japan in die algemeen en vir die kerk in die besonder in die volgende 20 tot 40 jaar as gevolg van die veroudering van mense en die lae aanwassyfer. Gemeentes beleef ‘n 15% afname in die eredienste as gevolg van die veroudering van lidmate wat nie meer by die eredienste kan kom nie. Dit plaas druk op gemeentes se finansies. Daarom die behoefte aan sendelinge.
  • Daar is ‘n geweldige behoefte aan geestelike bemoediging en sendelinge kan daardie bemoediging gee. Shikoku word as die “stronghold” vir Boeddisme gesien. Die 200km plegrimstog vir Boeddiste is in die provinsie. Dit maak dit ‘n moeilike sendingveld. Bekeerlinge word geïsoleer deur hulle huismense en hulle omgewing. Dit is ‘n groot opoffering om geloof te behou. Die Kommissie meen dat Suid Afrika kan hier help omdat dit ‘n land is wat uitdagings verstaan. Ervaring het hulle geleer dat sendelinge die leraars van die RCJ help om in hulle roeping te volhard.
  • Daar is ‘n behoefte dat jongmense gemotiveer moet word. Dit is nie vir jongmense maklik om by die kerk betrokke te raak nie as gevolg van druk van die samelewing en sport en ekstra klasse op Sondae.
  • Jogmense se “koppe gaan oop” deur die oë van sendelinge. Japan is vasgevang in ‘n verwronge kompetisiegees. Die kompetisiegees maak Japanners moeg.
  • Daar is groot kommer oor die groeiende nasionalisme onder veral die jonger Japanners. Dit maak dat Japanners al hoe meer na binne gerig lewe. Sendelinge uit Suid Afrika kan help om horisonne te verbreed. Die jongmense wat Suid Afrika besoek het, het verruim teruggekom. Hulle getuienis het groot waarde in die kerk.
  1. Byeenkoms met die jonger predikante van die Ring van Shikoku

Die byeenkoms met vyf jonger predikante van die Ring van Shikoku het op 12 en 13 April 2017 by ‘n vergaderplek buite Kochi plaasgevind. Die jonger predikante was: Di Tkashi Yoshida, Takashi Kashiwagi, Toshisuke Ozawa, Kei Kataoka en Rentaro Sakao. Sake wat bespreek is:

  • Die dalende geboortesyfer in Japan
  • Die jeug is ‘n probleem. As daar nie lewe in die jeug gaan kom nie, gaan die kerk uitsterf.
  • Die kerk sal ook moet verander om die nuwer generasie jongmense te kan akkomodeer.
  • Hulle visie is dat die kerk moet fokus op onderwys en die jeug.
  • Sendelinge help met geloof in praktyk.
  • Rudolp Grobler het ‘n skitterende bespreking gelei oor “Trends and challenges of the church in South Africa.” Dit het ‘n gesonde gesprekvoering tot gevolg gehad.
  1. Klasbesoek aan die derdejaarstudente van die Teologiese Kweekskool

Die ontmoeting met die dosente en studente van die Teologiese Kweekskool in Kobe het op 11 April plaasgevind. Die vroegoggend biduur en kapeldiens is bygewoon. Daar was ‘n gesamentlike ete en program wat rondom die ete aangebied is en twee periodes saam met die derdejaar studente. Tydens die eerste periode het elkeen van ons groep ‘n tema (oor pastorale sorg in gemeentes), wat Stéphan voor die tyd  gegee het, kortliks vanuit die praktyk bespreek en tydens die tweede periode het die studente geleentheid gehad om vrae te vra.

  • Dit het duidelik geword dat die studente met presies dieselfde vrae worstel as dié waarmee ons in Suid Afrika worstel.
  1. Besoek aan Gys en Linda Olivier 

Die groep het vir Gys en Linda Olivier en hulle kinders Linie en Johan op 13 April by die Christen Meisieskool Seiwa Gakuen in Kochi besoek. Hulle het die skool vir die groep gewys, hulle aan van die kollegas by die skool voorgestel en toe in hulle huis saamgekuier.

  • Ons het onder die besef van ons verantwoordelikheid teenoor die egpaar wat hulle lewe gee vir hulle roeping om op hulle terrein ‘n verskil te maak, gekom.
  • Die hartseerste was om te hoor dat hulle jaar vir jaar vandat hulle daar is, familie en vriende afsterf. Ons het gedink dat as daar onderwysers in ons gemeentes is wat met hierdie gesin kan kontak maak en met hulle kommunikeer om die bande met Suid Afrika te behou en hulle te bemoedig, sal dit goudwerd wees.
  1. Besoeke aan Stephan en Carina van der Watt 

Die groep het kontak met Stephan, Carina en hulle kinders Annlie, Cornelis, Lodewyk en Stephan gehad van  8 tot 11 April, maar het veral op die Sondagmiddag en –aand (9 April) en Maandag (10 April) saam met die gesin gekuier.

  • Ons kan die waarde van besoeke van hierdie aard nie genoeg beklemtoon nie. Ons besef dat kuiergaste ‘n ekstra las op veral Carina lê, maar die waarde daarvan mag nooit onderskat word nie.
  • Ons druk dit vir Missie Japan op die hart om nie die Van der Watts te vergeet nie.
  • Ons het ook gepraat in terme van maats vir die kinders. Die waarde hiervan kan nie onderskat word nie.
  1. Besoeke aan gemeentes

Ons het die volgende gemeentes besoek:

  • RCJ Kita Kobe op 9 April: Elsché Eygelaar het die erediens in Engels gelei; Stephan het getolk en die groep wat saam met Elsché daar was, (Rudolph Grobler, Cornis Botha en Johann Winterbach het middagete saam met die gemeente geëet.
  • RCJ Koshien op 9 April: Pieter en Mias van Jaarsveld het die kategese en erediens bygewoon; ‘n vergadering met die gemeente gehad, saam met die kinders in ‘n park gespeel en middagete saam met die gemeente geëet.
  • RCJ Tokushima op 11 April: die hele groep het saam met Stephan die gemeente besoek; heerlik gekuier, saamgeëet en na ‘n power point aanbieding van die gemeente gekyk. ‘n Ouderling het die koste betaal om elkeen van die groep in ‘n hotel vir die nag te akkomodeer.
  • RCJ Shin-Urayasu op 16 April: Pieter en Mias van Jaarsveld, Johann Winterbach en Elsché Eygelaar het die gemeente besoek, die erediens sowel as die program wat die jongmense daarna aangebied het, bygewoon, gespreksgeleentheid gehad en saam met die gemeente geëet. Johann en Pieter het die oggend vroeg ‘n spesiale Paasfeesgeleentheid vir die kinders en hulle ouers in ‘n park bygewoon. Die hele groep het die middag en aand saam met Ds Taka Ashida, sy gesin en lidmate van sy gemeente gekuier. Dit was ‘n verrykende ervaring.
  • RCJ Inage Kaigan op 16 April: Rudolph Grobler en Cornis Botha het die gemeente besoek; mooi bande met die leraar, Ds Eiji Mikawa gebind; gesprekgeleentheid in die gemeente gehad en saam met hulle geëet.

Ds. Rudolph Grobler (NG Kerk George-Bergsig) se indrukke:

Die tyd in Japan het my uitgedaag, bemoedig en bekoor. Maar dit het my ook hartseer gemaak. Hartseer, maar vol hoop.

Ek is uitgedaag in my verstaan van die Kerk. Die Japanese Christene wat ons gesien het en die kerke wat ons besoek het, is ongelooflik toegewyd. Elke lidmaat is elke Sondag by die eredienste. Sommige reis selfs meer as 2 ure om daar te kom. Na die tyd eet hulle ook saam. Hulle leef hulle geloof uit in ’n land waar slegs 1% van die bevolking Christene is. Ons kon weer die realiteit raaksien dat dissipelskap jou hele lewe vra. Dis ’n toewyding wat dikwels ontbreek in ons konteks. Dit laat ’n mens weer jou eie blindheid raaksien.

Ek is bemoedig deur ’n ervaring van die eenheid van die Kerk. Op Paassondag is ’n vrou gedoop by die erediens wat ons bygewoon het. Ek dink by myself: ek het pas die nuutste gedoopte lidmaat van die wêreldwye Kerk gesien. En ek is in Japan. Sy is my suster en ek is haar broer. Ons is op soveel maniere ingesluit en gasvry hanteer. Ons het liefde ervaar wat alle tale transendeer. Ons kon deel wees van iets baie groter as onsself. Ek het dieselfde beleef in die interaksie met Stephan en sy gesin. Daar is iets buitengewoon in hulle huis. ’n Atmosfeer van liefde en diens. Ek kan sien hoe die koninkryk onder hulle heers.

Ek is bekoor deur die skoonheid, die harmonie en die stilte. Ons besoek was in die tyd van die kersiebloeisels (die Japanese noem dit die Sakura). Die bloeisels, die berge, die skoonheid van die riviere; dit was alles oorweldigend mooi. Daar is ’n harmonie wat heers in Japan. ’n Harmonie tussen mense. ’n Harmonie met die natuur. Mense tree op met die oog op die “common good”. Ons kan so baie daaruit leer. En dan is daar die stilte. Nie die ongemaklike stiltes wat ons so dikwels beleef nie. ’n Diep stilte. ’n Vrede en stilte wat gevul is met respek. Ek kan nie meer daaroor sê nie, want my beskrywings sal nie eintlik ’n bydrae kan lewer nie. Mens moet self die stilte beleef.

Maar daar was ook hartseer. Die hartseer van ’n nasie wat God nie ken nie. Tog was die hartseer gevul met hoop. In die vroeë oggendure van Goeie Vrydag het ek gelê in my bed en worstel:

“Goeie Vrydag het aangebreek. Ek is wakker en ek dink aan Japan. En ek dink aan die kruis. Ons het in die aand wat verby is deur die strate gestap, duisende gesigte wat by ons verbykom. Ek stap en dink: uit tienduisende mense is dalk n handvol Christene. Uit tienduisende mense weet net enkeles waaroor Paasnaweek gaan. Jesus het gesterf vir hulle. Daar is in my ‘n hartseer en ‘n ontnugtering: hierdie kultuur leef sonder God. Vir n oomblik wil ek mismoedig raak en oorweldig deur die grootheid van die taak. Maar dan kom ander gesigte by my op: RCJ (Reformed Church of Japan) se leiers en predikante wat ons hier ontvang het. Die gemeentes wat God se liefde uitstraal. God gee n baken van hoop vir Japan. Die 1% Christene is die sout en lig wat alles kan verander. Hulle is die kleipotte met die groot skat. Jesus self is die lig wat uitskyn.

Jesus het vir my gesterf, dit maak my nederig en dankbaar. Jesus het vir Japan gesterf, dit moedig my aan om die Goeie nuus te deel en hande met die Kerk te vat.

Dankie Here, dat ons in Japan Goeie Vrydag kan gedenk. Dankie dat U vir ons gely het en gesterf het. En dankie dat dit waar is of ons in SA of in Kyoto is. Ons is nooit alleen nie. Op hierdie Goeie Vrydag bid ons vir die RCJ, gee deur U Gees vir hulle ywer om die Goeie nuus met groot krag te verkondig. Gee hulle die moed om sterk te staan in hierdie kultuur. Seën die vennootskap wat ons met hulle het en lei ons in die toekoms in. Mag hierdie dag aan U gewy wees Here. Amen”

Mag die Here die werk van Missie Japan ryklik seën.

Ds. Elsché Eygelaar (NG Kerk Constantia) se indrukke: 

Die eerste dag terug in die Kaap, ry ek na my eerste afspraak toe en die liedjie LOVE CAN van Shaun Jacobs speel op die radio. Hierdie lied vat vir my my Japan ervaring saam. Die lied se lirieke is as volg:

Shaun Jacobs – Love Can

Love can cross borders and love can break walls
Love can unbind us, love can define us
Love can see through what our eyes can’t undo
Love got me thinking love can do anything

Take my hand
It’s not that we’re lost
We’re just plotting a different course than we initially thought
We are free
When we’re on our knees
Put your hand in mine
We’ll make it in time you’ll see

Come with me
We’ll find what’s in store
For the heart that is bursting, the soul that is thirsting for more
We are free
Come and see
We’ll make it in time, we’ll find everything we need

Ek stap by kerke, eredienste, vergaderings, bybelstudies, pastorale lesings en huise in. Ons praat verskillende tale, maar daar is een taal wat ons dadelik saambind. Liefde. Ek is onmiddellik tuis.

In Japan het ek geleer hoe lyk opregte liefde vir my as mens, vir my as Elsché, vir my as vrou, vir my as dominee, vir my menswees.

2 Korintiers 5:14 – “Die liefde van Christus dring ons omdat ons tot die insig gekom het dat een vir almal gesterwe het”. Hierdie vers het vir my nuwe betekenis gekry.



In Japan sal jy nie sommer ‘n Christen met ‘n lang gesig kry nie. Dit is vreugde wat oorloop. Die laaste aand in Tokyo het ek by ‘n man en vrou aan huis gebly. Ek is groot bederf, tot met ‘n glasie Japanese rooiwyn ook. Vandat ons daar aangekom het tot met ons vertrek het die oom en tannie nie ophou glimlag nie. Ons kon baie gebroke Engels met mekaar praat, maar hulle vreugde was aansteeklik. Hulle het met vreugde hulle bekeringsverhaal vertel en vertel van hulle doop (ongeveer ‘n jaar terug). Dit het my laat wonder, kan ons met soveel vreugde deel die dag toe ons God se liefde en genade vir ons besef het en ons lewe vir hom afgelê het?


Ek het geleer van Jesus se gasvryheid in Japan. Jesus stuur nie mense weg nie, al is daar te min kos. Sy dissipels raak op ‘n stadium bekommerd omdat daar nie genoeg kos is nie en wil mense begin wegstuur en Jesus sê toe, nee… laat hulle kom.

In Japan is ons oorlaai met kos, geskenkies en glimlagte. Ek het op ‘n stadium baie opgewonde gelyk toe daar Tempura (“deep fried shrimp”) die tafel nader en hulle het opgetel ek hou daarvan, daarna is ek oorlaai met Tempura.

Wat saam met dit my diep geraak het is die manier waarop kinders verwelkom word. Jesus het gesê: “Laat die kindertjies na my toe kom”. Dit is wat jy ook sal beleef in die kerke in Japan. Alhoewel die kerk styl baie formeel en tradisioneel is (swart pakke, dasse, orrel, ens.), mag die kinders vrylik speel en teenwoordig wees in die eredienste en ook by gemeente etes. Die kinders speel vrylik en hulle word nie eenkeer stilgemaak nie. Niemand gee ‘n kind ‘n vuil kyk of vra hulle om stil te sit nie. Inteendeel, daar word baie moeite gedoen met die kinders. Hulle kry spesiale “fancy” stoeltjies en kospakkies.


Wanneer die Here die opdragte aan die ouderlinge en diakens gee om die kerk te versorg, kry dit heeltemal nuwe betekenis en gestalte in Japan. Die ondersteuning aan hulle predikant en die toewyding waarmee hulle in die kerk dien is ‘n groot inspirasie. Daar is bv. ‘n onkoloog wat die kindermoment op Paassondag gedoen het. Die eredienste is eers 10:30, van die ouderlinge en diakens is al vanaf 8:00 by die kerk om al die voorbereidings vir die diens te doen. Die predikant kan net op sy preek fokus en hoef hom nie oor enige van die ander goed te bekommer nie.

Keer op keer is ek verras deur hoe fyn mense luister na ander se behoeftes en intensioneel self inisiatief neem om iets daaraan te doen. Ek staan en gesels met Kana (een van die Japanese predikante se dogter) terwyl ons besig is om te groet. Sy vra toe of ek nou lekker gaan slaap op die vliegtuig, ek sê toe dat ek maar baie sukkel om te slaap. Ons begin toe tasse laai en die gesprek loop tot ‘n einde. Nadat al die tasse gelaai is en ons begin groet maak Kana haar verskyning met ‘n warm gesigmaskertjie wat my kan help om te slaap op die vliegtuig. Keer op keer het soortgelyke dinge gebeur.


Ek dink ons bid te min. In Japan het ek baie die geleentheid gehad om vir mense te bid en hulle vir my. Hulle bid in Japannees en ek in Afrikaans, God verstaan. Gebed opsigself is een van die beste vorme van motivering en seën. Om te kan intree vir iemand en saam in gesprek te wees met God is ‘n voorreg. Ons het ‘n persoonlike verhouding met God, wat ‘n wonderlike voorreg is dit nie om mekaar so te seën nie. Ons moet meer bid. Ons moet meer saam bid.


In ‘n land waar daar minder as 1% christene is en van buite soos ‘n hopelose situasie lyk, het ek geleer wat hoop is. Wanneer ons op treine en busse ry, praat nie een Japannees met mekaar nie, niemand maak oogkontak nie. Dit voel afsydig, koud en kil.

Dan stap ons by ‘n klein geboutjie in met ‘n klein kruisie op die kant of by ‘n sendingpaar se huis en dan leer jy van hoop. Dan beleef ek wat dit beteken om radikaal anders te leef. Dan beleef ek wat hoop is. Hoop is iets wat God aan ons skenk. Dit is ‘n gawe van God. Ek het die voorreg gehad om Paasnaweek in Japan, Tokyo, te vier saam met die gelowiges daar wat my net weer geleer het dat dié lewende hoop is gegrond op Jesus Christus se dood en opstanding. Daar is geen ander gronde vir ons hoop nie.

Soren Kierkegaard vra die vraag: Hoe word ‘n Christen ‘n Christen? Dan antwoord ‘n teoloog: “Christene word Christene wanneer hulle kies om intensioneel naïef te leef.”

Christene is aspris naïef. Dit beteken om opreg te wees, weer met ‘n stuk verwondering deel te word van stories. Christene kies om doelbewus, opsetlik, intensioneel naïef te glo dat God se genade ons wêreld kan heel maak en dat sy genade vir alle mense is.

Japan se Christene het my geleer om intensioneel naïef te gee, intensioneel naïef te glo en intensioneel naïef lief te hê. Naïef is eintlik verkeerde woord… SOOS CHRISTUS is ‘n beter beskrywing. In Japan het ek beleef wat dit beteken om soos Christus te gee, om soos Christus te glo en om soos Christus lief te hê.


Van my kosbaarste herinneringe van my Japan besoek is die kerkwees wat gebeur het buite die kerkgeboue en amptelike formaliteite. Die saam lag oomblikke, die saam eet in restaurante en parke, die gesprekke in die onsens (warmbaddens), die koffie stoppe langs die pad, die tee drink sessies, die inkopie ekspedisies, die kuier aan huis by mense en die rondry om die Sakura (kersie bloeisels) te kyk.


Ek was aanvanklik baie skepties om op ‘n vliegtuig te klim saam met 5 onbekende mans predikante (ons is nou goeie vriende, my broers). Ek het ook gewonder wat my ontvangs gaan wees in Japan waar daar nog nie vroue in die amp bevestig is nie. Ek was aangenaam verras. Ek het net weereens besef watter waarde my vrouwees tot die koninkryk toevoeg. Ek kon gesprekke met vroue in Japan voer wat nie moontlik sou wees indien ek ‘n man was nie. Dit het keer op keer gebeur dat ek in gesprek is met iemand en dan sal hulle in die gesprek noem dat ek die eerste vroue leraar is wat hulle ontmoet. In dit lê ‘n ontsaglike groot voorreg en ook verantwoordelikheid. Ek het die voorreg gehad om die eerste Sondag wat ons daar was te preek in Kobe, dit is ‘n ongelooflike voorreg om so as instrument gebruik te word. Woorde kan dit nie beskryf nie. Ek kyk met verwondering en ‘n groot stuk dankbaarheid terug.

Nie net het ek baie geleer van God se liefde in die manier van kerkwees nie, maar ook van Sy liefde vir my. My Japanese geloofsfamilie het my deur die manier waarop hulle my liefhet opnuut laat besef hoe lief God my het.

Die waardering wat daar nie net vir mekaar is nie, maar ook vir my as mens. Opregte liefde, sonder voorwaardes, sonder perke. Dit was vir my ‘n diepe besef en bevestiging van my roeping en Christus se liefde.

Dankie aan elke persoon wat die vertroue in my gestel het om my te stuur na Japan, my daar ontvang het en my die geleentheid gegee het om te preek. Dit is met ‘n hart wat oorloop van dankbaarheid en liefde wat ek terugdink aan my besoek aan Japan.


Ds. Johann Winterbach (NG Kerk George-Suid):

Japan is ʼn ongelooflike land met wonderlike mense, maar ek is eerder diep geraak deur my blootstelling aan lidmate van die Reformed Church of Japan (RCJ).  Die natuurskoon en “sakura”-bloeisels is oorweldigend mooi en alles in die land werk soos ʼn goed ge-oliede masjien.  Maar wat ek sal onthou is my broers en susters van die RCJ se diep toewyding aan die Here, die hartlike gasvryheid teenoor ons as groep en die onderlinge verbondenheid aan mekaar.  Ek het iets beleef van ware kerkwees en voel bevoorreg en diep dankbaar dat die Here ook my hart in Japan kom aanraak het…

Ds. Mias Van Jaarsveld (NG Bethlehem-Wes) se getuienis en ervaring:

Elke jaar, vir omtrent twee weke, ondervind die Japanese landskap ‘n radikale verandering.  Aprilmaande, lentetyd, is kersiebloeiselstyd.  Oral waar jy jouself bevind, of dit nou in die Japanese hoogland, op die platteland of op die sypaadjie van een van Japan se digbevolkte, beknopte stede is, sal jy ligpienk kersiebloeisels, ‘cherry blossoms’ of ‘Sakuras,’ soos dit in Japanees bekend staan, sien.  Dit lyk soos ligte spookasem op bruin stamme, soos wolkies wat bo-op die takke gebalanseer word – hemel op aarde!  Dis geen wonder waarom die kersiebloeisel Japan se nasionale blom nie!

As mens navorsing doen oor Japan, hetsy dit op ‘n webwerf, in ‘n pamflet, in ‘n reisjoernaal of in ‘n koffietafelboek, sal Japan bemark word met hierdie kersiebloeisels.  Die bloeiselbome verfraai die landskap, versier die strate en dit skep ‘n verwondering in die mense se gemoed – toeriste en inwoners s’n.   Dis asof die jaarlikse verskyning van die bloeisels skoonheid en reinheid, harmonie en vrede bring – temas wat baie belangrik is in die alledaagse lewe van die Japanners.  As mens Japan besoek op ‘n ander tyd as die kersiebloeiseltyd, mis jy verseker uit op die prag en die skoonheid daarvan, en ook die geleentheid om deel te wees van iets wat vir Japan baie belangrik is.

Tydens ons besoek aan Japan, het ek en twee ander jong-predikante een oggend ontbyt gaan eet by ‘n dosent by Kochi Theological Seminary, se vrou.  Haar naam is Kiyoko.  Sy het vir ons ‘n westerse ontbyt voorberei, messe en vurke uitgesit en kos opgedis in egte Norotaki porselein.  Nog voordat ons geëet het, het ons iets beleef van die Japanese mense: hulle is konsidererend, hoflik en gasvry.

Voor ons geëet het, het Kiyoko vir dominee Rudolph Grobler gevra om ‘n teks uit die Bybel voor te lees wat sy gekies het.  Dit het gegaan oor die kruisiging van Jesus Christus om te pas by die groot lydingsweek waarin ons is.  Met die lees van die teks, kon mens sien dat sy diep geraak word en dat sy ywerig en versigtig luister na elke woord wat voorgelees word.  Toe leer ek nog iets van die Japanese Christene: hulle is diep gelowige mense met ontsaglike respek vir die Bybel.

Tydens ete het Kiyoko uitgevra oor ons tuisgemeentes en ons bediening.  Haar belangstelling was opreg, maar nie te persoonlik nie, want Japanners is van nature mense wat nie aanstoot wil gee nie.  Na ete het ons vir Kiyoko die vraag gevra:  ‘Hoe het jy tot bekering gekom?’  Sy begin haar getuienis met ons deel, en met haar woorde neem sy ons op ‘n geestelike reis van ‘n dogtertjie wat in haar wese altyd ‘n honger gehad het na iets meer.  Toe Kiyoko Jesus ontdek en die evangelie gesnap het, was dit asof die honger gestil en haar dors geles is.  Jesus het bevrediging gebring, en daar was rus in haar siel wat lewenslank soekend was.

Na ‘n lang, heilige stilte, eindig sy met die woorde dat daar nie eintlik veel mense is met wie sy hierdie verhaal gedeel nie, en dat sy bevoorreg voel dat drie dominees in haar storie belangstel.  Ons kon sien dat die trane vlak sit, maar dit was nie trane van hartseer nie!  Dit was van daardie soort trane wat iemand kry as hul wonderlike nuus ontvang het en graag wil deel.  Dit was trane van verligting.  Ons besef dat sy ‘n stukkie van haar siel met ons gedeel het. Ek het vir Kiyoko ‘n gebed gedoen – iets wat sy baie waardeer het, en rondom ‘n eetkamertafel in ‘n vreemde land, was die liefde van God, wat mense uit verskillende lande, talle, rasse en kulture tot ‘n nuwe eenheid kan saambind, tasbaar.  Ons kon sien dat Jesus in Kiyoko se lewe gedoen het wat die kersiebloeisels jaarliks doen aan Japan se landskap.  Haar hele lewe is vir altyd verander, en die mooi daarvan het ons eerstehands gesien en beleef deur haar getuienis.

Dis asof die kerk in Japan vol sulke verhale is.  Mense woon in ‘n land waar minder 1% van die bevolking Christene is, maar dié wat die Here ontmoet het, het ‘n skat ontdek wat hul lewens inkleur en hul gemoedere lig.  Hulle lewe kry nuwe sin en hul daaglikse bestaan is nie tevergeefs nie.  Die liefde van die Here ‘blom’ in hulle lewe, en mens kom gou agter dat hulle anders is.  Toe ons in Tokyo oorgebly het, het ek en dominee Elsché Eygelaar van Kaapstad oorgebly by ‘n paartjie, Yukiko en Yoshio Natori.  Hulle is die ‘jongste Christene’ in die Reformed Church Shin-Urayasu, maar hulle is albei afgetree.  Yoshio het tot bekering gekom nadat hy genees is van ‘n ernstige siekte, en daardeur die liefde van God ervaar het.  Hy is die vorige Kersfees gedoop en so het hulle deel geword van die gemeente.  Intussen is hy verkies op die kerkraad.  Onmiddelik, net soos in die geval van Kiyoko, was daar ‘n band tussen ons en vreemdelinge.  Dit is iets wat ek nie aan gewone mense kan verduidelik.  In my binneste kan ek dit nie verklaar nie, maar ek weet dit is dieselfde Gees wat ons bly wat ons so saambind.

In my tyd in Japan het iets in my binneste ook begin blom – dis asof daar in my ook ‘n nuwe seisoen aangebreek het en dat die landskap van my lewe ook verfraai is.  In die kerk in Japan is ek opnuut herinner en gewys wat dit beteken om ‘kerk’ te wees.  Toegewyd aan aan die Here en aan mekaar.  Gasvry teenoor vreemdelinge.  Onbaatsugtige liefde teenoor jou naastes.  Kindervriendelik.  Eenvoudig.  Nederig.  Opreg.

Ek is eintlik jaloers op dit wat die kerk in Japan het, want dis asof hulle verstaan van kerkwees nog so nou gekoppel is aan die kerk waarvan ons lees in Handelinge; ‘n vorm van kerkwees waarvan ons in Suid-Afrika wegbeweeg het.  Die kerk in Japan is vir my ‘n inspirasie van dit wat God in gelowiges se lewens kan doen, van dit wat Christus van sy kerk verwag en ook wat dit beteken om deel te wees van die liggaam van Christus.  Die kosbare herinneringe van ons 10 dae in Japan, ons kontak met die gelowiges, gemeentes, teologiese studente en Stephan, Carina, Annlie, Cornelis, Lodewyk en klein Stephan, en die asemrowende land met sy kultuur sal my ewig bybly.  Dit het my siening van kerkwees verryk en ek weet dit sal my bediening in die toekoms ook positief beïnvloed.

Tydens ons besoek aan Japan, veral toe ons in Tokyo was,  het die woorde van Louis Brittz se liedjie ‘Unashamed’ aanhoudend in my kop gemaal.  Die woorde gaan:

Wish that I could sing you

a more happy little song

But there are millions without a Saviour

I guess something’s really wrong…

…How I wish the world was different

Wish no one was lonely or lost

Dying without love


Should tell them about a story that is true

Tell them about a God who really cares for you

Tell them about a Saviour you can’t see

Tell them about His love that truly sets you free,

Free as you can be – tell unashamed!

My hoop, my droom en my wens vir Japan is dat genoeg mense gehoorsaam sal wees aan God se roepstem om die groot oes in te bring.  My gebed is dat mense sal ervaar hoe Jesus Christus hulle kan bevry van ‘n doellose bestaan, en dat hulle sy liefde ook so tasbaar sal ervaar soos ons tydens die ontbyt met Kiyoko.  Dat ons nog sal sien hoe Jesus Christus die land en sy mense sal vernuwe en verander soos die kersiebloeisels Japan se landskap verander in die lente.

Ds. Cornis Botha (NG Kerk Klawer) se opsomming:

Waar ek gegaan het om die kerk in Japan te gaan ondersteun, het die kerk in Japan my weer nuwe insig en motivering gegee om die plaaslike gemeente in Suid-Afrika te bedien. Dankie vir julle gasvryheid, julle geloof en julle openheid om ons te ontvang as broers en susters in Christus. Die RCJ is dalk klein, maar julle ken Jesus en volg Hom onbeskaamd.

Newsflash – October 2016



Beste ondersteuner,

In die golwende massas van Japan kan die sonderlingheid van individuele ontmoetings soms uit fokus raak.

ICHI-GO-ICHI-E (一期一会) beskryf die noodsaaklikheid daarvan om ontmoetings met mense te koester: een-vir-een. Dié Japannese uitdrukking is blykbaar eeue gelede geskep deur ‘n bekende meester van groentee seremonies. Dit kan vertaal word met “slegs hierdie keer” of “eenmaal in ‘n leeftyd”. ‘n Tydige herinnering om enige en elke ontmoeting as waardevol en betekenisvol te ag, omdat dit nie herhaal word nie.  

Dít het ek opnuut die afgelope weke besef en beleef, terwyl ek die unieke geleentheid gehad het om deel te wees van twee groot byeenkomste van Christene in Japan.

Kyk na en deel gerus die 4-minute Youtube video, deur hierbo te kliek.

Onthou om die klank van jou rekenaar/slimfoon aan te skakel 🙂

Ons waardeer jou gebede, meelswing en ondersteuning!

Vrede en vreugde, 

Stéphan, Carina, Annlie, Cornelius, Lodewyk en Stephan (jnr.)



Dear friend in Christ,

In the waving masses of Japan one can sometimes lose focus on the significance of individual meetings.

ICHI-GO-ICHI-E (一期一会) describes the need to cherish each meeting with people: one by one. This Japanese expression was apparently created centuries ago by a well-known master of green tea ceremonies. It may be translated with “only this time” or “once in a lifetime”. A timely reminder to regard any or every meeting as valuable and meaningful, seeing that it will not be repeated.

This reality dawned on me anew during the past weeks, when I had the unique opportunity to take part in two large gatherings of Christians in Japan.

Watch and share the 4-minute YouTube video, by clicking on it here above.

Remember to turn on the sound 🙂

We appreciate your prayers and support!

God’s Peace and Joy, in Christ.

Stéphan, Carina, Annlie, Cornelius, Lodewyk and Stephan (Jnr)

RCJ Kumamoto thanks supporters – Sept 2016

After our involvement in Kumamoto support work, together with many others,

RCJ Kumamoto Church’s pastor wrote a letter of feedback and thanksgiving.

Please read it here below.

RCJ Kumamoto Thank you

To all our brothers and sisters in the Lord,

both in the whole country of Japan and overseas.

From the Christian Reformed Church of Japan, RCJ Kumamoto

From the bottom of our hearts we lift up and praise the name of the living God, the almighty Creator of the whole world, He who with his loving hand rules everything!

On the 14th of April 2016 and 16 days later, two large earthquakes rocked the area of Kumamoto. Many people were killed, houses collapsed and people lost their livelihood.

Even today many people are still experiencing the daily strain of a prolonged life in evacuation conditions, the fear of aftershocks, great financial difficulties. They muster stressful efforts towards the recovery of their living conditions.

The main shock occurred in the early hours of a Saturday morning. The safety of all the members of the RCJ congregation of Kumamoto could be quickly confirmed and on the next day, the Day of the Lord, we could observe our worship service.

Except for the eight attendees, there was one young man was from the Eastern Presbytery, who brought supplies and water which he collected on his way in the City of Fukuoka. The next day, the 18th (Monday), the minister from RCJ Nagaoka congregation in Fukuoka, together with his wife and a deacon visited Kumamoto congregation, bringing a lot of supplies which they collected from homes of their congregation members. They also cleaned the chapel and manse of all the scattered items.

All the supplies were arranged in the chapel and a sign was put outside the church building reading: “Relief supplies have arrived!” People from the neighbourhood immediately responded and one by one arrived at the church entrance. From about 4 pm the RJC Kumamoto church began with a humble ministry of being a relief center for our community and the victims around us.

Since then many have visited the RCJ Kumamoto relief center. People from the neighbourhood who happened to pass by, people who were invited by friends and acquaintances and also people from far away who have heard about the center came for help.

Some came on behalf of others who could not come themselves, some even came once to fetch a big quantity of supplies to distribute at other evacuation centers. There were those who came to fetch some needed items and returned immediately to their homes and there were those who stayed at the chapel, drinking tea and chatting.

The chapel also became the playground/room of children who had extra time after school or over weekends. Young mothers brought their children and while drinking tea they often spent long hours at the church just relaxing. During their stay each one shared their experiences of the earthquake. They talked about their anxiety amidst all the aftershocks and their fears of a next big earthquake.

There were also those who shared the troubles and burdens of their whole life thus far.

We have the impression that God has been opening people’s hearts for that day when the final big earthquake will happen…

We have been receiving opportunities to meet with people from the neighbourhood and to share with them as never before! Children happily said: “This place is like heaven, where we receive tea for free!” Many people were happy for the signboard that was erected, the doors of the church that opened and that they could enter the church.

Three months after the earthquake, in other words since July, the distribution of supplies was stopped, and the door of the chapel no longer opened every day. Considering the spiritual needs of the people, the church is now primarily functioning as a “Relax Center”. This is as the RCJ Synodical Diaconal Commission reported in its publication “Living together.”

After that, as we entered the summer holiday season, we obtained the co-operation of the Kyushu Christian Disaster Relief Center and had some events for the children of Kumamoto. Since then, 4 months after the earthquake, we are presently running three activities or projects at the Kumamoto church:

  • A KNITTING project,
  • A CONVERSATION (talk / chat) room and
  • A PLAYROOM for children.

A number of children have been coming to the Sunday school (for the first time). Also after Sunday school, these children would stay on, during the worship service play quietly in the children’s room, have lunch together with the congregation and even stay until evening, when they will go home. There are also adults who have been coming for the first time to the Sunday worship services.

We herewith want to express our heartfelt gratitude

  • Thank you to all pastors who arranged people to visit us after the earthquake and the sending of supplies;
  • You who contacted us regularly, who with compassion gave us proper advice;
  • Thank you for the sending of Rev. Keiichi Yamanaka who helped with the launching and operation of the center, and guide us in how to support the community and individuals;
  • Thank you to those people who spent much time bringing huge amounts of supplies;
  • To the people from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church of America who came all the way from North-East Japan with supplies and also helped with the renovation of the chapel;
  • Thank you to the many volunteers who spent time with the victims of the earthquake and sacrificially worked at the center,
  • We thank the Kobe Reformed Theological Seminary and the brothers and sisters of the Church who sent them;
  • Thank you to Mission Japan of the Dutch Reformed Church-family of South Africa, for fully funding the volunteer activities of the six teams of Theological students etc. from Kobe Reformed Theological Seminary to Kumamoto;
  • Thank you to all members of the whole RCJ for sending a wide variety of very useful goods to serve the affected people, foods and household goods, comics, candy, handmade articles, etc.;
  • Thank you for your letters, cards and messages of warm encouragement, everything supported with your loving compassion and your prayers;
  • Thank you for your precious donations which you offered so generously.

We express our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation in the Lord to all of you, our dear brothers and sisters who have taken it on you to carry the Kumamoto earthquake and our Relief Center in your prayers.

People in the midst of evacuation life came to the center tired, received supplies and always left with much more calm facial expressions. When they saw all the supplies coming from churches all over the country they became happy and received new strength. Through their interaction with the volunteer staff-members they received healing and encouragement. All of them expressed sincere gratitude.

All the many “thank you”’s we have received we want to send to all of you.

Further, the fact that we could continue until now is also because of the co-operation of the Kyushu Christian Relief Center. We received a lot of support from people helping with the concert as well as the kids English class.

Kuriyama missionary couple from “Yarn Alive” in North-East Japan took full responsibility in the launching of our “Knitting Project.” From Sendai in the North to Kumamoto in the South they traveled twice by car to deliver a lot of wool and knitting equipment.

Also from the people form North-East Japan who are in a similar situation we received warm support. From other Church Denominations we received prayer-support, pastoral visits and material support.

 From the depth of our hearts: Thank you very much!

“When one member suffers, all suffer together, when one member rejoices. all rejoice together (1 Corinthians 12: 26).” Likewise our walk until now and from here further is together with all members of the Body of Christ.

Everything is under the rule of our Almighty Father, the Lord God.

Looking joyfully forward to the abundant fruition, on that Day of the Lord, of our prayers and works. Our desire is to steadfastly continue with this ministry.

May the unlimited love and grace of the Lord be with each one of you.

31 August 2016                           

The Christian Reformed Church of Japan, Kumamoto Congregation

Rev. Hajime Nishibori

(this letter was translated from Japanese by Tobie de Wet, edited by Stéphan van der Watt)



Nuusflits / Newsflash – 1 September 2016

Vir September 2016 se Afrikaanse Nuusflits, kliek hier

For September 2016’s English Newsflash, click here


Spring-Summer Snippets in 2016

View this 9 minute clip about our (Van der Watt family’s) life 

and church ministry activities in Kobe, during March through June 2016.

For best quality YOUTUBE viewing:

Please make sure to select 1080p on the range of HD options when you view this film on YouTube…and don’t forget to turn up the volume. If a Japanese advertisement appears, just close it.



Newsflash June / Nuusflits Junie (2016)


Liewe vriende,

Ons is nou in die pylvak van ons Japan besoek, die laaste twee weke van ‘n volle drie maande. Eerskomende naweek preek ek by RCJ Tokushima gemeente. Intussen woon Stephan volgende week ‘n drie-dag RCJ Retreat by vir ampsdraers (suid van Tokyo). Ons laaste naweek in Japan is Stephan weer in Kumamoto vir ondersteuningswerk, terwyl ons gelukkig hier is om saam met Carina die fort te hou. Dankie nogmaals vir jul belangstelling, meelewing en gebeds-ondersteuning.

Ek wil graag met hierdie nuusbrief iets deel van die RCJ Teologiese Kweekskool en ons indrukke. Lees asb. hieronder verder.

Vriendelike groete,

Tobie en Annalie de Wet


Dear friends,

As we are nearly at the end of our three months’ stay with Stephan and Carina on the Campus of the Kobe Reformed Theological Seminary – where Stephan has been inducted as lecturer in Pastoral Theology and Care – and as we had the wonderful opportunity and privilege to become part of the life of the lecturers and students, I want to share something of our impressions (read here below the photos and the Afrikaans version).

Thank you for you prayers and support, we really appreciate it!

In Christ,

Tobie and Annalie De Wet

Ons indrukke (deur Tobie en Annalie de Wet):
  • Dit was inderdaad ‘n geseënde ervaring om vir drie maande saam met Stephan en sy gesin op die kampus van die Kobe Gereformeerde Teologiese Kweekskool te bly en iets van die atmosfeer en gees (etos) van hierdie welbekende en hoog-aangeskrewe inrigting in Christen- en Gereformeerde kringe in Japan en naburige Korea te beleef.
  • Die nuwe en indrukwekkende geboue met verblyfgeriewe vir studente en hulle gesinne, so wel as as die huise van die dosente, is na die groot aardbewing in Kobe in 1995 opgerig. Die woonstelblok waar ons destyds gebly het toe ons besig was met ons Japannese taalstudie in Kobe, is totaal verwoes tydens daardie aardbewing, en so ook die RCJ Ashiya-kerk oorkant die straat!
  • Hier studeer tans 18 Japannese students en 6 Koreaanse studente (onder andere ‘n aantal vroue) onder drie voltydse dosente (Stephan ingesluit) en ongeveer 15 deeltydse dosente, almal predikante van the Christen Gereformeerde Kerk van Japan. Een dosent is ‘n vrou wat ‘n sendeling van die RCJ en dosent aan die Teologiese Instituut in Singapore was.
  • Vir toelating tot die Kweekskool as student is ‘n voorvereiste ‘n vierjaar-graad aan ‘n universiteit, asook ‘n heelhartige toewyding tot die etos, dissipline en lewe van die Kweekskool.
  • Sommige van die studente is reeds predikante in hulle denominasies maar kom om ‘n beter Gereformeerde grondslag te verkry. Heelwat studente kom selfs van Korea.
  • Elke oggend begin met ‘n biduur (voor ontbyt) om 6:40, waar een van die studente hier ‘n kort boodskap bring (terwyl ons hier was die afgelope paar maande het hulle hoofstuk-gewys deur die boek Job gewerk!). Tussen oggendlesings deur het hulle elke oggend nog ‘n diens in die kapel, waartydens dosente (en soms studente) beurtelings ‘n boodskap uit die Woord bring.
  • Studente (saam met dosente) is ook self verantwoordelik vir die skoonmaak van die geboue en kampusterrein. Vrydagmiddae is skoonmaaktyd.
  • Hierdie is inderdaad ‘n ware Gereformeerde Kweekskool waar Calvinistiese Gerformeerde Teologie onderrig word. Ons Gereformeerde Belydenisse en Gereformeerde geloofstradisies speel ‘n deurslaggewende rol. Dosente en predikers sal herhaaldelik veral verwys na Calvyn en sy Institusie en die stellings daarin vervat beklemtoon.
  • Dus staan die Bybel as Woord van God heeltemal sentraal in alle byeenkomste en lesings. Preke is nie net Bybels geskoei nie, maar ook verklarende prediking, wat gewoonlik bestaan uit vers-vir-vers uitleg van ‘n bepaalde Bybelse perikoop en/of verhaal  (meestal sonder enige stories en baie min, indien enige, illustrasies). Preke is van ‘n hoë gehalte gekenmerk deur goeie eksegese en altyd uitstekend voorberei.
  • Hierdie Kweekskool (en Gereformeerde Kerk van Japan) is evangelies van aard en fokus. Jesus Christus en redding deur en in die gekruisigde en opgestane Christus, staan sentraal. Dit is die fokus van die hele Bybel. en ons enigste hoop en troos vir nou en tot in ewigheid, die kerk se enigste boodskap vir die wêreld.
  • Daaglikse gebed speel ‘n groot rol in die opset van die Kweekskool, waartydens in groepe gebid word vir mekaar en vir die kerk, en altyd met die “Onse Vader” afgesluit word. Die Koreaanse studente, wat kom uit kerke waar talle gewone lidmate elke oggend bymekaarkom vir bidure, hou selfs oor naweke ekstra gebedsbyeenkomste.
  • Alhoewel die akademiese standaard baie hoog is en die studente akademies baie hard werk (basies is alle RCJ Japannese predikante akademici wat baie hard studeer, en elk dag baie ure bestee om teologie op te lees en vir preke en Bybelstudies en praatjies voor te berei), word groot klem gelê op Christen-opvoeding en die geestelike opbou van die  studente.
  • Alle studente word toegewys aan ‘n RCJ-gemeente by wie hulle elke Sondag betrokke en van hulp met die bediening van die gemeente moet wees, as deel van hulle praktiese ervaring.
  • Ten laaste, maar ook van groot belang: Die Kobe Gereformeerde Kweekskool is doelbewus nie ‘n universiteit nie maar ‘n Teologiese Kweekskool wat uitsluitlik deur die klein, landwye Christen Gereformeerde Kerk van Japan (RCJ) befonds word vir die opleiding van predikante en sendelinge/evangeliste.
  • Ons as Missie Japan en ons ondersteunende kerke en lidmate in SA kan opreg trots wees om deur Stephan betrokke te wees by hierdie wonderlike Kweekskool en die opleiding van Japannese en Koreaanse leraars en evangeliste, en die uitstuur van hierdie manne en vroue om plaaslike gemeentes te bedien en om uit te reik na die onbereikte miljoene mense van hierdie mooi land en groot nasie!
  • Stephan se spesialiteit van Pastorale Sorg is ‘n baie belangrike stuk toerusting, nie net vir predikante om hulle gemeentes pastoraal te versorg nie, maar ook om uit te reik na en berading te verskaf aan so baie mense buite die kerk met vele emosionele en sielkundige nood en behoeftes. Een van van Stephan se mede-dosente het onlangs tydens ‘n pastorale praatjie in ‘n predikantebyeenkoms wat ek ook bygewoon het , genoem dat volgens ‘n opname meer as 70%  Japannese wat vir die eerste keer kerk bygewoon het (en uiteindelik gelowig geword het) het gekom as gevolg van ‘n diep emosionele of sielkundige behoefte.
  • Die feit dat Stephan en Carina as gesin op die kampus woon en ‘n integrale deel van die Kweekskool is, word hier as baie belangrik beskou. Carina het saam met Stephan daaglikse interaksie met die studente en hul gesinne  en hulle is saam betrokke by hul pastorale versorging. Sy is ook aktief betrokke by die plaaslike gemeente met die Kweekskool se Kapel as basis. Dit natuurlik bo en behalwe haar voltydse werk as tuiste skepper en tuisskool onderwyser van haar vier kinders.


Our impressions of KRTS (written by Tobie de Wet)

  • It was indeed a blessed experience to stay for three months, together with Stephan and family, on the campus of the Kobe Theological Seminary and taste a little of the atmosphere and spirit (ethos) of this well-known and respected institution in Christian and Reformed circles in Japan and in neighboring Korea.
  • The new and impressive buildings with dormitories for students and their families and homes for lecturers were erected after the big eartquake in Kobe of 1995. The apartment building in which we lived when we were in Kobe doing our Japanese language studies, was completely destroyed in that earthquake, and so also the RCJ Ashiya church across the road.
  • At the moment 18 Japanese students and 6 Korean students (including some women) are studying under three full-time lecturers (including Stephan) and 15 part-time lecturers, all ministers in the Christian Reformed Church of Japan. One lecturer is a lady who has been a missionary from the RCJ and lecturer in a Theological Institution in Singapore.
  • For acceptance at the Seminary as a student, you have to be a four-year graduate from a university and be committed to the ethos, disciplne and life of the Seminary.Some of the students are already ministers in their denominations but are coming here to have a better Reformed foundation, even from Korea.
  • Every morning begins with a pre-breakfast prayer meeting at 6:40, where one of the students brings a short message (the past months while we were here they were working chapter-by-chapter through the Book of Job). Between morning lectures they also have (every morning) a chapel service where students and lecturers take turns to preach the Word.
  • Students (together with the lecturers) are also themselves responsible for cleaning the buildings and campus grounds. Friday afternoons is cleaning time.
  • This is indeed a truly Reformed Seminary where Calvinistic Reformed theology is taught. Our Reformed Creeds and Confessions (especially the Westminister Confession) and Reformed Traditions are playing a determining role. Lecturers and preachers will always again and again refer especially to Calvin and his Institutes in emphasizing their statements.
  • Therefore, the Bible as Word of God is completely at the centre of all meetings and lectures. Sermons are not only Bible-based but also expositary preaching, expounding and applying the Biblical text (with very few, if any, illustrations or stories). Sermons are of high quality marked by very good exegesis and always well-prepared.
  • This Seminary (and RCJ Church) is very evangelical in its essence and focus, always preaching Christ and the salvation through and in Christ, leading us back to the crucified and risen Jesus Christ, Saviour-Lord, the focus of the whole Bible and our only hope and comfort for now and eternity and the church’s one and only message for the world.
  • Daily prayer is playing a big role in the operation of the seminary, praying for one another and for the church, praying in groups, always closing with the “Lord’s Prayer.” The Korean students, coming from churches where thousands of ordinary members gather every morning for prayer meetings, are even conducting weekly “extra” prayer meetings over the weekends.
  • Though the academic standard is very high and the students are working very hard academically (basically all RCJ Japanese pastors are academics studying very hard, spending many hours everyday in their studies to read theology and prepare sermons and Bible Studies and talks), big emphasis is layed on the Christian education and the spiritual formation of the students.
  • All the students are sent to a congregation in the RCJ where they attend every Sunday. They are involved and assist in the ministry of that congregation, as part of their practical experience.
  • The Kobe Reformed Theological Seminary is deliberately not a university but a Theological Seminary, funded exclusively by the small Christian Reformed Church of Japan for the training of ministers and missionaries/evangelists.
  • We as Mission Japan and our supporting churches and members in SA can truly feel proud to be involved through Stephan in this great Seminary and in the training of Japanese and Korean pastors and evangelists and sending them out to minister in local congregations and to reach the unreached millions of this beautiful country and great nation!
  • Stephan’s speciality of Pastoral Care is very important, equipping not only pastors to take care of their congregations in a pastoral way, but also in the reaching out to and counselling of so many people outside the church with many emotional and psychological needs. One of Stephan’s co-lecturers mentioned in a talk on pastoral care at a ministers’ meeting I attended the other day, that according to a survey, more than 70% of Japanese who have been coming to church for the first time (and eventually becoming believers), have come because of an emotional and psychological need.
  • The fact that Stephan and Carina are living as a family on the campus and are an integral part of the Seminary, its personnel and students, is seen as very important. Together Stephan and Carina have almost daily interaction with the students and their families, and are involved in their pastoral care. Carina is also actively involved in the local RCJ congregation with the Seminary Chapel as their base. Over and above this, Carina has the big responsibility of taking care of their household and guiding and conducting the homeschooling of their four children.

Kumamoto feedback / terugvoer (28 April 2016)



Dear friends in Christ,

This time the English report, about our first outreach after the Kumamoto disaster (which took place from 25 -29 April), took longer than I planned. But, better late than never (with apology)!

The earth quake disaster has created countless new opportunities for the church, of ministering to people with very real needs. In a country with less than 1% Christians, the church is mostly “invisible” in the community. Most Japanese people feel uneasy, uncertain and sometimes even somehow hostile toward the church / Christians.

But the number of people crossing the entrance of RCJ Kumamoto during our outreach, exceeded that of the normal attendance over many months’ worship services. Relationships that were initiated are waiting to be developed and deepened. Local church members need consistent prayers, encouragement and concrete leadership from various sources. Hundreds of people have had contact with the body of Christ for the first time ever.

Therefore, after we finished our outreach, another team followed-up with a second outreach (between 9-13 May). One of those team members even stayed behind until today. From tomorrow Tobie and Annalie De Wet will also visit and serve the congregation and community, until May 25th. And after that, for the next four weekends, four pairs of our seminary students (studying at KRTS – Kobe Reformed Theological Seminary) will reach out and assist the local pastor and his wife with many new ministry responsibilities. I will also join this again from 17-20 June.

Now – as with the tsunami in the Sendai in 2011 – the local church has her first opportunity of becoming more visible and more actively ministering to others in the community. With the assistance of Mission Japan’s supporters, in conjunction with the wider RCJ (including Shikoku Presbytery), as well as KRTS, we are staying involved in this crucial time for this small RCJ church.

Read more here below … for a comprehensive feedback on our first outreach, as well as for more photos.

And please keep us all – who are involved in the outreaches, as well as the local church and community of Kumamoto – in your prayers.

We appreciate your continuing support!

God’s peace, in Christ.






Situation at time of our outreach project (27 April)

  • 8 400 homes were damaged (more than in the big 1995 Kobe earth quake);
  • 36 000 people still find themselves in shelters (e.g. schools);
  • There are plans for 4 200 homes to be erected;
  • More than 1 000 aftershocks have been experienced, and are still occurring;
  • Many people are living in parking areas, in their cars (as their homes are unsafe);
  • Products in shops are rapidly sold out, fresh products being especially scarce;

Our involvement, in conjunction with RCJ Kumamoto congregation

  • In the area surrounding the congregation physical damage is little, compared to certain other parts. But the emotional wounds are clearly visible. The vulnerability of children and the aged is especially clear.
  • For the past three days a steady stream of people came to the church for essential supplies such as water, food, gas cans (to prepare food with) etc. Some fetched diapers for babies, others canned foods. These are being made available for free through the support of other RCJ congregations. Other goods were collected for free from an interdenominational Christian support centre which had been founded for emergency relief.
  • Mission Japan’s funds were e.g. used to pay for our team’s travelling expenses and meals, as well as toys for children who came to the church (they needed entertainment as schools were closed until 9 May); and essentials for the church itself e.g. small fold-up tables, book shelves for the children’s room etc. It was done to create a welcoming space for people, in order to feel comfortable and at home, amidst enormous stress. Reserve funds will be transferred to the RCJ to be utilized in the long term for further outreaches, relevant support projects etc. The church across the whole world is making a meaningful, concrete difference in this crisis, which is tremendously encouraging for the local Christians.
  • Three theology students and I helped to prepare and equip the church as a place of support. Offloading and organizing, as well as distribution of essential emergency goods, all formed part of our responsibilities. Two students focused especially on playing creative games with the children that arrived at the church voluntarily.  Another student (that had been a nurse before) did some basic medical check-ups for people on request, at the same time discussing at a deeper level their emotional wellbeing. I shared actively in all the above-mentioned activities, and focused especially on listening to people’s deeper emotional needs. There were many opportunities to do this.
  • Most people to whom I talked had a great need to debrief. Many also repeatedly wanted to share their experiences, to find some sense of de-briefing and meaning-making in all the shock and stress. Themes that surfaced constantly revolved around the enormous disruption that left people anxious and uncertain. Many families are temporarily separated, because e.g. many men / fathers spend the nights at their places of work. (for safety’s sake and to help clear the chaos).
  • Mashiki town was struck the worst, and many people there are living in tents. The army provides only in the most basic of needs, for the people there. One aged gentleman was overwhelmed with joy over the canned foods and sweets for children he had been given, while visiting the church.
  • Although the most urgent needs of most people have been met e.g. sustenance, water and safe refuge, there are many other (less noticeable) needs mentioned in discussions. By endeavouring to listen more intensively to people I could sometimes discern the actual cause of the need and anxiety, and I tried to give them support and to establish ties with local church members (for longer term follow-up care).
  • Rev. Nishibori took essential items to church members that had been isolated by the disaster. He was also involved with other church members whose relatives’ homes had been totally destroyed. His main focus was especially on the church members, whereas our focus was on people who came to the church for the first time for assistance / support / goods. He and his wife were flooded with correspondence with the wider church etc. They still feel somewhat overwhelmed by all the events, and will take a break to rest (away from Kumamoto) early in May.
  • I also had the opportunity to pay a visit to one family from the congregation, and was able to have a long and meaningful pastoral discussion with them.

Victims’ stories

  • One man talked about his struggle to get his three children (and two cats) out of his house in time as they feared that it might collapse. His eldest daughter had psychological problems (panic disorder), and now finds it hard to sleep. As the big earthquake struck at night she is now terrified of the dark.  They keep on all lights and the TV at night, because silence and darkness intensify her anxiety. She doesn’t sleep at night, but she does so in the daytime. She stays indoors all day, has not been outside the house for 10 days, and schools open only in 2 weeks’ time. The stress is sometimes unbearable, her father said. His need to share and to be heard is clear. His own place of work (company building) was situated in one of the hardest hit areas, and collapsed (at night).
  • Another lady (whom I got know here in October last year), came to talk to me a number of times during the week. After the disaster she had learned what it meant to live and to die, she told me, because when she now opened her eyes in the mornings, she was profoundly relieved to find herself still alive. She told me with wide open eyes about the gigantic hole that had suddenly opened up in the parking area surface directly behind their car (because of the earthquake). She and her family were now prepared for any following disaster, emergency kit ready at the front door, blankets in the car in case they might have to spend a night there again.
  • A mother of three infants (used to be a nurse) shared how frustrated and tired she was having slept so little during the previous 10 days. They had actually moved to that area a year before, as they used to live close to the tsunami disaster area (Sendai), and had experienced intense trauma. She had intended to stay at the church only for a few minutes but eventually she – with her 3 daughters – stayed for lunch and talked to us  continuously for hours. A number of times she mentioned that it was wonderful that the church had now in this way become a restful place where one could feel at home in that chaotic time. Her children no longer needed to sit frustrated in front of the TV all day, but could play at the church, and relax in a healthy manner in a safe, friendly environment. Her words touched me deeply, as this had long been my dream for the church in Japan … that it would become more and more of a home for those people that feel increasingly uprooted and displaced in their daily lives. A refuge that is also an open, welcoming place, peaceful, and happy. She also freely asked me about the church and about faith issues,  including the “darkness” in her life.
  • Another group of women talked about teachers, that were also victims themselves, who had to work extremely hard at schools which were used as temporary shelters for thousands of people. A principal suffered from severe emotional ‘burnout’ in the process. Members of the armed forces also worked continuously to bring about emergency relief.  That these conversations occurred at the church is noteworthy. It places the church in the centre of the community, and the community in the centre of the church.
  • Rev. Nishibori shared with us about his own and his family’s trauma of the past few days. On the day of the earthquake a number of strange things had occurred, he recounted. He was extremely tense getting his sermon done (for that Sunday), as a number of unexpected events had occurred, e.g. a long drawn-out involvement with a homeless person, an hour’s crisis phone call etc. Shortly before the earthquake struck he had gone outside the church to put up his theme for that Sunday’s sermon: (“The Signs of the End of the Age” from Mark 13). The earthquake struck shortly afterwards. They had fled for shelter (school grounds) after the second severe quake in the middle of the night. In one corner of the school grounds, water (to everyone’s great shock) had started gushing from the earth. He and his wife, and their six-year-old son had stayed in the shelter for about a week. He witnessed how the Lord had provided people at the right times to support and encourage them. When they had been able to return to their home, and came to their senses, Psalm 46 (especially verses 1-3,10-11) spoke profoundly to him … “Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations.”  The same test I had read and discussed at KRTS on more than one occasion, before we came to Kumamoto.
  • At the prayer meeting which we could share with the students,  Ester, one of the students, shared an encouraging message from 1 Peter 1:3-9. Her and here family’s lives had been severely affected by the huge 1995 earth quake in Kobe, during which their home had been destroyed. Her testimony focused on verses 6-9, from which, she told us, she had learned that no suffering was ever meaningless. Through faith it is purified, and becomes meaningful. Crises such as these actually expose the foundations of our lives and faith!


  • I am most grateful for the opportunity of being part of the outreach, within the first two weeks after the earth quake. This is a time during which needs and circumstances change easily. In these circumstances I think the composition and gifts of our outreach team suited well to a great extent. All of us had been involved in the 2011 Tohoku disaster (Sendai region). It was possible for us to involve ourselves immediately in and be effective within the church’s initiatives.
  • The pastor (Rev. Nishibori) had been here for only two years, and was still developing relationships of trust with church members and residents of the area. A new era has opened for the small congregation. How will the Lord provide in this crisis, and transform this tiny religious community into a hopeful sign of his love and care? We do not know, but we have (again) experienced a small part of the new direction in which the church was hauled into by this disaster.
  • I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be allowed into the very private (holy) places of people’s lives and to hear their stories of fear, powerlessness and despair.
  • We pray that the following outreach projects will in the long term help to create an “openness” of the church for the community. So that people that have never been in a church nor have had any close contact with Christians before, will find it easier to be able to “come inside”. We believe that it presents new, unique opportunities to share the gospel of hope in Jesus Christ.
  • At one stage a group of young boys walked past the church. We invited them to enter, but they were on their way to a game of soccer, and proceeded on their way. The next day they (a group of 15) arrived unexpectedly at the church. Enjoying themselves, they played at the church for a considerable length of time. Not a single person that crosses the entrance of the church, is regarded casually, as a matter of course. It stays exceptional, within the context of the Japanese community, for non-Christians to take a courageous first step into a church. There were especially certain people that came repeatedly during our time there, people with whom the congregation might get involved more deeply. We pray for this.
  • As RCJ Kumamoto is a small congregation (about 20 church members), it is important not to over-stretch the local congregation’s capacity, and to consider responsibly the medium and long term involvement and possibilities.

While I was writing the last words of this report, the building shuddered as a result of another after-shock … the uncertainty is in no way over yet, but the steadfast, living hope of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3) brightens up Kumamoto.

Please pray with us for the next phases of support in the light of the information above.

God’s Peace, and thank you once again for everyone’s support!


from Kumamoto, 27 April 2016



Beste vriend/vriendin,

Die aardbewing rampgebeure skep talle nuwe geleenthede om konkrete nood en behoeftes van mense vanuit die kerk te bedien. In ‘n land met net 1% Christene is die kerk meestal moeilik “sigbaar” in die gemeenskap. Meeste Japannese mense voel ongemaklik, onseker of soms selfs op ‘n manier vyandig teenoor die kerk / Christene.

Maar die getal mense wat in die afgelope 3 dae oor die drempel van RCJ Kumamoto gestap het (terwyl ons hier was), is meer as wat in maande se eredienste hier bymekaar kom. Die verhoudings wat begin bou is, wag om verdiep te word. Die plaaslike gemeentelede het volgehoue gebede, bemoediging en konkrete leiding uit verskeie oorde nodig. Honderde mense het vir die eerste keer ooit met die liggaam van Christus te doen gekry.

Nou – soos in 2011 na die tsoenami in Sendai – het die plaaslike gemeente die kans om meer sigbaar en aktief diensbaar te raak in die gemeenskap. Met behulp van Missie Japan se ondersteuners, in samewerking met die breër RCJ, asook die Kobe Kweekskool, sit ons spesifieke uitreik projekte voort.

Lees hier onder meer … vir volledige terugvoer oor ons eerste uitreik. En sien foto’s.

Luister ook gerus na ‘n onderhoud (met my) hieroor op RSG se Sondagjoernaal, eerskomende Sondag 1 Mei tussen 07:00-08:00.


Huidige situasie (27 April)

  • 8 400 huise is beskadig (meer as in die groot 1995 Kobe-aardbewing)
  • 36 000 mense is tans nog in skuilings (bv. skole)
  • 4 200 tydelike huise se oprigting word tans beplan
  • Meer as 1 000 na-skokke is al beleef, en duur voort
  • Baie mense bly in parkeerplekke, in hulle motors (omdat hulle huis onveilig is).
  • Produkte in winkels word vinnig uitverkoop, veral vars produkte is skaars.

Ons betrokkenheid by ondersteuningswerk (saam met RCJ Kumamoto gemeente)

  • In die omgewing van die gemeente is die fisiese skade gering teenoor sekere ander dele. Maar die emosionele wonde is helder sigbaar, en daarby kon ons vir ‘n kort tydjie betrokke raak. Die weerloosheid van kinders en bejaardes was veral opvallend.
  • Daar was die afgelope drie dae ‘n aanhoudende stroom van mense wat kom na die kerk vir lewensmiddele soos water, kos, gaskannetjies (om kos te maak) ens. Party ma’s kom haal doeke vir kinders, ander blikkieskos. Die middele is verniet beskikbaar gestel deur die ondersteuning van ander RCJ gemeentes. Daar is ook goedere (gratis) afgehaal by ‘n Christelike ondersteuning sentrum wat gestig is vir noodverligting.
  • ‘n Deel van Missie Japan se fondse is bv. gebruik ons span se reiskostes en etes te betaal, asook om speelgoed vir kinders te koop wat by die kerk kom speel (hulle soek afleiding omdat skole gesluit is tot 9 Mei); asook noodsaaklikhede vir die kerk self bv. opslaan tafels, boekrakke vir kinderkamer ens. Dit is gedoen om ‘n vriendelike ruimte te skep vir mense om in tuis te kom t.m.v. groot stres. Die oorskot sal aan die RCJ oorbetaal word om op die langtermyn te gebruik vir verdere uitreik projekte, toepaslike ondersteuningswerk ens. Die kerk regoor die wêreld maak ‘n betekenisvolle, konkrete verskil in hierdie krisis, en dit bemoedig die plaaslike Christene geweldig.
  • Ek het saam met drie kweekskool studente gehelp om kerk in te rig as ‘n plek van ondersteuning. Die aflaai en regpak, en verspreiding van noodmiddele was o.a. deel van ons werk. Twee studente het veral gefokus op kreatiewe spel met kinders wat spontaan by die kerk opgedaag het. ‘n Ander student (wat voorheen ‘n verpleegster was) het ook basiese mediese ondersoek gedoen vir mense wat dit verlang het, en daarmee saam dieper gesprekke gevoer oor hulle emosionele welstand. Ek het aan al die bg. deelgeneem, en veral ook gefokus daarop om aktief te luister na mense se dieper emosionele nood. Daar was vele geleenthede om dit te kon doen. Dankbaar!
  • Die meeste mense met wie ek gesels het, het ‘n groot behoefte gehad om te “de-brief”. Baie van hulle wou herhaardelik vertel wat hulle beleef het, om self sin te maak van die skok en stres. Tema’s wat pal opgeduik het in gesprekke, het gesentreer rondom die geweldige onwrigting, wat mense beangs en onseker laat. Baie families leef nou tydelik apart, bv. omdat baie mans/pa’s by hulle werkplekke slaap (t.w.v. veiligheid en om die chaos te help opklaar).
  • Mashiki gebied is die ergste getref, baie mense woon nou daar in tente. Die weermag bied net baie basiese middele. In dié dae het ‘n ou man daarvandaan gekom, en hy was oorstelp van vreugde om blikkieskos en lekkergoed vir kinders te kon ontvang.
  • Alhoewel die dringendste nood van meeste mense verlig is i.t.v. kos, water en veilige skuiling, is daar vele (minder sigbare) behoeftes wat na vore gekom het in gesprekke. Terwyl ek dieper na mense probeer luister het, kon ek soms hoor waar die eintlike nood en angs lê, en probeer om daarin te ondersteun, asook om ‘n verdere band met die plaaslike lidmate te bewerkstellig (vir langer termyn opvolg sorg).
  • Nishibori het noodsaaklike items geneem na gemeentede wat geïsoleer is deur die ramp. Hy was ook betrokke by ander lidmate wie se familie-lede se huis totaal verwoes is. Sy fokus was veral op die gemeentelede, terwyl ons fokus op die mense was wat vir die eerste keer na die kerk gekom het vir hulp / ondersteuning / middele. Hy en sy vrou is oorval met korrespondensie met wyer kerk ens. Hulle voel nog oorwelidig deur die hele gebeure, en sal volgende week vir 3-4 dae (weg van Kumamoto) gaan rus.
  • Ek het ook die geleentheid gehad om ‘n besoek te doen aan een gesin uit die gemeente, en kon ‘n lang en sinvolle pastorale gesprek met hulle voer.

Slagoffers se verhale

  • Een man het vertel van sy geskarrel om sy drie kinders (en twee katte) betyds by die huis uit te kry omdat hulle beangs was dat dit inmekaar sou tuimel. Sy oudste dogter het sielkundige probleme (panieksteuring), en sukkel nou vreeslik om te slaap. Omdat die groot aardbewing in die nag gebeur het, is sy nou doodbang vir die donker. Hulle hou alle ligte en die TV aan in die dag, want stilte en donker verhoog haar angs. Sy kry nie geslaap in die nag nie, maar wel in die dag. Sy wil nie by die deur uit nie, is al 10 dae in die huis, en skole open eers weer oor 2 weke. Stres is soms onuithoudbaar, vertel die pa. Sy behoefte om te deel, en om gehoor te word, is duidelik. Sy eie werkplek (maatskappy gebou) is geleë in een van die dele wat die swaarste getref is, en het ineengestort (genadiglik in die nag).
  • ‘n Ander vrou (wat ek verlede jaar in Oktober hier leer ken het), het die week ‘n paar keer met my kom gesels. Ná die ramp het sy geleer wat dit beteken om te leef en sterf, vertel sy, want wanneer sy nou in die oggende haar oë oop maak, is sy diep verlig as sy besef sy is nie dood nie. Sy vertel met groot oë van die reuse gat wat ewe skielik in die aarde oop geskeur is net agter hulle motor in die parkeer area. Sy en haar huis is nou slaggereed vir ingeval van ‘n volgende ramp, noodsakkie gereed by voordeur, komberse in kar vir ingeval hulle weer daar moet slaap.
  • ‘n Ma van drie kleuters (voorheen ‘n verpleegster) deel hoe gefrustreerd en moeg sy is nadat sy die afgelope 10 dae baie min geslaap het. Hulle het as gesin juis ‘n jaar gelede hiernatoe getrek, nadat hulle voorheen naby aan die tsoenami rampgebied (Sendai) gewoon het, en deur groot trauma is. Sy het gedink om ‘n paar minute by die kerk te bly, maar uiteindelik het sy en haar 3 dogters saam met ons middagete geëet en vele ure onophoudelik gesels. Sy het ‘n paar genoem hoe wonderlik dit is dat die kerk nou op die manier ‘n plekkie kon word waar sy kon tuiskom te midde van ‘n chaotiese tyd. Haar kinders hoef nou nie meer heeldag gefrustreerd voor die TV te sit nie, maar kan by die kerk rustig speel, en op ‘n gesonde manier ontlaai in ‘n veilige, gasvye omgewing. Haar woorde raak my diep, want so droom ek lankal oor die kerk in Japan … dat dit meer en meer ‘n tuiste sal word vir dié wat ontwortel en ontheem voel in hulle daaglikse lewe. ‘n Oop, verwelkomende ruimte vol geborgenheid, vrede en vreugde. Sy het my ook vrymoediglik uitgevra oor kerk en geloof, en oor die “donker” in haar eie lewe.
  • ‘n Ander groep vroue gesels oor onderwysers wat self ook slagoffers is, en baie hard moet werk by skole wat tydelike skuilings vir duisende mense moes word. ‘n Skoolhoof het emosioneel feitlik uitgebrand in die proses. Weermaglede werk ook onverpoos om nood-verligting te bewerkstellig. Dat hierdie gesprekke gebeur by kerk is noemenswaardig. Dit plaas die kerk in die middel van die gemeenskap, en bring die gemeenskap se nood midde-in die kerk.
  • Nishibori het met groot erns vertel van sy eie en hulle as gesin se trauma van die afgelope dae. Op die dag van die aardbewing het ‘n paar vreemde goed gebeur, vertel hy. Hy was baie gespanne om sy preek (vir die Sondag) gedoen te kry, want ‘n klomp onvoorsiene goed het gebeur, o.a. ‘n lang, ingewikkelde betrokkenheid by ‘n boemelaar, ‘n uur-lange krisis telefoon-oproep ens. Kort voor die aardbewing gebeur het hy sy preek te tema (“Oor die tekens van die eindtye” uit Markus 13) buite te kerk gaan opsit. En juis tóé tref die aardbewing kort daarna. Hulle het in die middel van die nag gevlug na skuiling (skoolgronde), na die tweede groot skudding. In een hoek van die gronde het water (tot almal se groot skok) begin uitspuit uit die aarde. Hy en sy vrou, en hulle ses-jarige seun het vir ongeveer ‘n week in die skuiling gebly. Hy het getuig hoe die Here het regte mense voorsien het om hulle op die regte tyd te ondersteun en bemoedig.Toe hulle uiteindelik kon terugkeer na hulle huis, en tot verhaal kom, het Psalm 46 (veral verse 1-3,10-11) diep tot hom gespreek … “Bedaar en erken dat ek God is, hoog bo die aarde, hoog bo die nasies.” Dieselfde gedeelte het ek ook by meer as een geleentheid gelees en bespreek by die kweekskool, voor ons koms na Kumamoto.
  • By die biduur wat ons saam met die gemeente kon deel het Ester, een van die kweekskool studente, ‘n bemoedigende boodskap/getuienis gedeel, 1 petrus 1:3-9. Haar eie lewe is diep geraak deur die reuse 1995 aardbewing in Kobe, waarin hulle huis vernietig is. Haar getuienis het gefokus op verse 6-9, waaruit, vertel sy, ons leer dat geen lyding is nie betekenisloos nie. Deur geloof word dit gesuiwer, en kry dit betekenis. Krisisse soos hierdie lê inderdaad ons lewens- en geloofsfondamente bloot!


  • Ek is baie dankbaar vir die geleentheid om te kon uitreik binne die eerste twee weke na die aardbewing. Dit is ‘n baie vloeibare tyd, waarin die behoeftes en omstandighede vinnig verander. In hierdie omstandighede, dink ek, het ons uitreikspan se samestelling en gawes tot ‘n groot mate baie goed gepas. Almal van ons was betrokke by die 2011 Tohoku rampgebeure (Sendai omgewing). Dit was onmiddelik vir ons moontlik om in te skakel en toepaslik betrokke te raak by die kerk se inisiatiewe.
  • Die predikant, ds. Nishibori is nog net twee jaar hier, en bou dus nog aan vertrouens- verhoudinge met lidmate en mense in die omgewing. ‘n Nuwe era word oopgebreek vir die klein gemeentetjie. Hoe sal die Here in die krisis voorsien, en die klein geloofsgemeenskap in ‘n hoopvolle teken van sy liefde en sorg omskep? Ons weet nie presies nie. Maar ons het wel (weer) iets ervaar van die nuwe wending waarin die kerk geslinger is deur hierdie ramp.
  • Ek was opnuut bewus van die groot voorreg om ingelaat te word in baie private (heilige) spasies van mense se lewens en verhale van vrees, magteloosheid en wanhoop aan te hoor.
  • Oor opvolg-projekte: die tweede groep studente van die kweekskool sal 9-13 Mei uitreik. Ds. Nishibori (predikant by RCJ Kumamoto) het ook versoek dat Tobie (ds.) en Annalie de Wet die gemeente en gemeenskap kom bedien van 22-25 Mei (as deel van Missie Japan se werk hier).
  • Ons bid dat hierdie uitreik projekte op die langtermyn sal help om die gemeenskap “oop te maak” vir die kerk, én die kerk vir die gemeenskap. Sodat mense wat nog in ‘n kerk was en nog nooit met Christene van nader kon kontak maak nie, nou makliker kan “in kom”. Ons glo dit bring nuwe, unieke geleenthede na vore om die hoopvolle evangelie van Christus te kan deel.
  • Opvolgwerk in die kerk se nabye omgewing is volgende op die agenda. Veral om by mense aan huis te gaan aanklop om te hoor watter behoeftes daar is, en hoe daar ondersteun kan word.
  • Op ‘n stadium het ‘n groep jong seuns verby die kerk gestap. Ons het hulle ingenooi, maar hulle was oppad om te gaan sokker speel, en het verbygehou. Die volgende dag daag hulle (groep van 15) toe onverwags by die kerk op. Hulle het lank en lekker by die kerk gespeel. Nie een persoon wat oor die kerk se drempel stap is vanselfsprekend nie. Dis uitsonderlik binne die konteks van Japan. Daar is veral sekere mense wat herhaaldelik in die drie dae gekom het, en met wie die gemeente ‘n verdere pad kan stap. Ons bid daarvoor.
  • Omdat RCJ Kumamoto gemeente klein is (ongeveer 20 lidmate), is dit belangrik om nie die plaaslike gemeente se kapasiteit te oorskry nie, en verantwoordelik te dink oor medium en langtermyn betrokkenheid en moontlikhede. Die De Wets se besoek is in daardie opsig baie tydig (later in Mei) en nodig.

Terwyl ek die verslag se laaste woorde neerskryf, ruk die kerkgebou van nog ‘n na-skok … die onsekerheid is geensins verby nie, maar die onwrikbare, lewende hoop van Christus (1 Petrus 1:3) het verhelder in Kumamoto.

Bid asb. saam met ons vir die volgende fases van ondersteuning, in die lig van die bg. inligting.

Vrede, en weereens dankie vir elkeen se ondersteuning!


uit Kumamoto, 27 April 2016












Kumamoto uitreik / outreach – 25-29 April 2016

Kumamoto uitstuur


Beste vriend/vriendin,

Onwrigting. Onsekerheid. Angs. Verlies. Die lys is lank … Kumamoto aardbewing se invloed kring dieper en wyer uit. 

Die nuutste feite is:

  • 67 000 in mense kan nie terugkeer na hulle huise nie, is in tydelike skuilings.
  • Siektes soos diarreë en griep versprei vinnig.
  • Nabygeleë aktiewe vulkaan (Aso) kan dalk uitbars.
  • Radioaktiewe vlakke is 2-3 keer hoër as gewoonlik (oorsaak onseker).
  • Naby geleë kernkrag sentrales wek kommer.
  • 837 naskokke hoër as 1 op die rigterskaal is reeds beleef, duur voort.
  • Gevare van verdere modderstortings (reën woord vir die heel week voorspel).

Twee uitreik projekte geloods
Missie Japan, en ons as gestuurdes van RCJ Shikoku Ring, is saam met die Kobe Kweekskool ( ) direk betrokke by die ramp.

Die kweekskool se dekaan, Prof. Takashi Yoshida, is steeds aktief betrokke by die Sendai tsunami rampgebeure van 2011 (waar hy gewoon en gewerk het tot 2014). Hy het dadelik aangebied dat studente vrygestel word om hierdie keer ondersteuningswerk in die Kumamoto rampgebied te gaan doen. Want, soos hy Vrydag tydens ons uitstuur-geleentheid beklemtoon het uit Jakobus 2:17, “as geloof nie tot dade oorgaan nie, is dit dood”. (sien foto hierbo)

Die ondersteuning sal gebeur d.m.v. twee uitreikgroepe. Ek sal die eerste groep neem – saam met drie ander teologiese studente – vanaf Maandag tot Vrydag, 25-29 April. Die tweede groep sal 9-13 Mei uitreik.

Missie Japan het reeds ʼn ruim bedrag hiervoor bewillig. Dit is in die geloof gedoen dat die Here die nodige middele sal voorsien. Ons nooi graag gemeentes/individue uit om bydraes te maak. 

Die rekening besonderhede is soos volg: 
Bank: ABSA
Naam: Missie Japan
Nommer: 4049690248
Onthou asb. om jou naam en die verwysing ‘KyushuRamp’ by te voeg

Bid asb. saam vir:

  • Die Kumamoto rampgebied se slagoffers wat diep verlies en lyding moet verwerk. Vir God se genade en troos.
  • Interkerklike netwerk se veelvuldige uitreike in die rampgebied. Vir ‘n helder getuienis van Christus se liefde en hoop te midde van pyn en swaar.
  • Ons veiligheid op die pad (ongeveer 10 ure se ry vanaf Kobe) – ons vertrek 03:00 Maandag oggend.
  • Emosionele en fisiese energie om aktief te kan luister, en allerlei ondersteuningswerk te doen.
  • Wysheid om te onderskei waarop om te fokus in ons betrokkenheid, en vir ontvanklikheid van die ramp geteisterdes.
  • Om die dieper behoeftes van slagoffers te identifiseer, veral dié wat geïsoleer is, bv. bejaardes.
  • Finansiële bydraes om hierdie uitreike se befondsing te dek.

Baie dankie dat ons op jou ondersteuning kan staatmaak!




Dear friend in Christ,

Disruption. Uncertainty. Anxiety. Loss. The list goes on … Kumamoto earthquake’s influence is deepening and widening.

The latest facts are:

  • 67 000 people cannot return to their homes, wait in temporary shelters.
  • Diseases like diarrhoea and flu are spreading quickly.
  • A volcano (mount Aso) nearby might erupt.
  • Radio-active levels are 2-3 times higher than usual (cause unknown).
  • Closely located nuclear power plants are cause for concern.
  • 837 aftershocks (higher than 1 on the richter scale) have been felt, and continues.
  • Dangers of more mudslides (rain is predicted for the whole week).

Two outreach projects launched
Mission Japan, and we who are sent by RCJ Shikoku Presbytery, are directly involved with the disaster, in co-operation with the Kobe Reformed Theological Seminary –

The seminary dean, Prof. Takashi Yoshida, is still actively involved with 2011’s Sendai tsunami disaster events (where he lived and worked until 2014). He immediately suggested that some students should be available to do support work in the Kumamoto disaster area this time. Because, as he emphasised during our dispatching ceremony on Friday from James 2:17, “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead”.

The support will happen via two outreach groups. I will lead the first group (with three other theological students) from Monday to Friday, April 25-29. The second group will reach out between May 9-13.

Mission Japan has already committed to a substantial amount of financial support to help materialise this – trusting that the Lord will keep on providing the means. We cordially invite individuals / churches / cell groups to contribute in order to support this significant initiative.

The bank account details are as follows: 
Bank: ABSA
Name: Missie Japan
Number: 4049690248
Please remember to add your name, as well as the words ‘KyushuRamp’, as reference.
Credit card contributions can also be made directly via the internet from 

Please pray with us for:

  • Kumamoto disaster area’s victims who have to deal with deep losses and suffering. For God’s grace and comfort.
  • Ecumenical network of churches’ multiple outreaches in the area. For a clear witness to Christ’s love and hope amidst pain and despair.
  • Our safety on the road (about 10 hours’ drive from Kobe) – we depart 3h00 tomorrow morning.
  • Emotional and physical energy to be able to listen actively, and get involved with various forms of relevant support work.
  • Wisdom to discern on what to focus on in our involvement, and for receptive hearts of disaster victims.
  • To be able to identify deeper, underlying needs of victims, especially those who are isolated, e.g. the elderly.
  • Financial contributions to cover the commitments that have been made in advance.

Thank you very much that we can depend on your support and prayers!

God’s peace,