Matthias and I recently read a blog post that was deeply encouraging to us even though it was rather short. Missionary Jim Peterson writes about a meeting with Pastor Kondo, a leader in the Iwate 3.11 Church Network. He writes, “Pastor Kondo repeatedly stressed the important of relationship building with the tsunami victims. He talked about old metaphors for church work and evangelism that center on events and explained how that doesn’t really work in these rural areas, especially in the present situation. Instead the work is primarily relational and intentionally slow paced. In some ways the rejection of the “event based evangelism” metaphor should apply to urban settings as well but it isn’t easy to let go of things that seem so close to the core, especially when you can’t think of any alternatives.”
Why were we so deeply impacted reading these words? Because we are seeing God at work as many pastors and leaders in Japan, like Pastor Kondo, are experiencing a major paradigm shift. The old paradigms simply don’t function in this new, post 3/11 Japan. In Japan, where change is ever so slow, moving from having a heavily event-based philosophy of evangelism to a relational philosophy is something only God can do.
You might also want to check out Jim’s post about a visit to a temporary housing unit.