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Bethel Japan Missions Trip 2011 Newsletter 1
Welcome to the newsletter for the Bethel 2011 Missions Trip to Japan! This list will be used to share updates and prayer requests regarding the trip.

In this issue:
  • Meet the "Hot Dog and Poi Team"
  • Trip Updates
  • Prayer Requests
  • How to Contact Us

Meet the "Hot Dog and Poi Team"

Our journey to Japan is coming up fast! Different team members across the world will be leaving for Japan on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday so we are scrambling to tie up loose ends and complete last minute preparations.

The Bethel Team is composed of four people from Chicago and St. Louis, however, we are part of a larger team that will be working together in Japan.

The Bethel "Chicago Hot Dog" Team
- Matt Baumgartner, 30, attends the Japanese International Harvest Church in St. Louis where he is part of the music ministry. He lived in rural Japan for four years and will be the first team member to leave on Wednesday.

- Phil Tsai, 34, attends Bethel Christian Church in Chicago. He has been to Japan 7 times doing missions work including teaching English, running a multimedia team and doing disaster relief after the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. He will be leaving on Saturday.

- Yoji Takahashi, 31, attends the Japanese International Harvest Church in St. Louis. He grew up attending a Japanese school in Costa Rica and is fluent in Japanese, Spanish and English. He is currently in serminary and will be our back-up translator. He will also be leaving on Saturday.

- Agnes Calabrese, 24, attends Bethel Christian Church in Chicago. She has been on short term missions trips in high school and felt called to serve in Japan after the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. She will be leaving on Sunday.

The Larger Team
John Mehn, Director of Japan Disaster Response for Converge Worldwide, is originally from Rockford, IL. He has been a missionary in Japan for 25 years with his wife Elaine. He will serve as our overall team leader and coordinator in Japan. He was on vacation in July and returned to Japan on Tuesday.

John Alejado, Dexter Yamamoto and Richard Simafranca attend the Calvary Church of the Pacific in Hawaii. Nicknamed "The Poi Boys" by John, they will be leaving on Friday.

Mas Kobayashi is a native Japanese speaker and now serves as a pastor in Canada. He has been in Japan a month serving and preaching in the Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe) and will meet us in Tokyo on Sunday. He will be our team's primary translator.

Ken and Gerry Milhouse are a missionary couple serving in Japan. They have been on multiple disaster response trips and will be joining us for the first week.

All together, that brings our team to 11 volunteers! Praise God!

Trip Updates

A big thanks to all of you who are supporting us with prayer and finances! We couldn't have done this without you! On the finance side, we are currently 87% funded which allows our team to get to Japan but means we are floating $1,043 on various people's credit cards. If anyone has been planning to give but hasn't yet, it's not too late!

In terms of our itinerary and work, John has been busy coordinating all of our travel schedules to make the most of our time. We have been confirmed to be working with Samaritan's Purse at their Tome base, just north of Sendai in the Tohoku region's Miyagi prefecture. The base provides cots, electricity, running water and hot meals for 30-50 volunteers each week. We will be leaving for the base early Monday morning which will be tiring for half the team that is arriving Sunday night (those flying on Saturday lose a day due to the international date line).

We will be working in a town that previous teams have been working in. Our primary work will be "mudding out" homes. When the tsunami receded back into the ocean, it left debris and mud in the foundations of all the buildings. The work sites are littered with glass and nails and the mud can contain debris, crude oil, bacteria, mold and fungi. We will be wearing water proof boots with puncture resistant soles as well as water proof gear, gloves and breathing masks to protect ourselves. In order to do this, homes will need all of their floor boards pulled up and in some cases, walls opened as well. The mud will have to be shoveled out and the floor boards salvaged, cleaned and disinfected. The average house requires 12 people to complete in 10 days. We may also be asked to clean yards, parks, farms, sidewalks, gutters and more.

In addition to this work, we will have some outreach events including a community barbecue and possibly a concert to build relationships and open doors, not only for more work but also for God's word. We may also visit local community shelters and churches to serve and pray as well.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for final preparations (paperwork, packing, spiritual and mental preparation) as we prepare to leave for Japan
  • Pray for safe travels and the smooth coordination and meeting of everyone in Tokyo since we have team members traveling from many places on different days.
  • Pray for good rest for the team as this will be a busy and physically demanding trip. Some team members will be traveling for 2 or 3 days in a row and some will be struggling with jet lag.
  • Pray for health as some work conditions may be hazardous, especially in Japan's hot, humid summer weather.
  • Pray for team relationships as we have a lot of people from different places with different backgrounds and expectations
  • Pray for the Japanese that we will be in contact with. Pray that we would be a blessing to them and that their hearts would be open to us and to the seeds of God's love that we will be planting
  • Pray for the churches in Japan, that they would not be overwhelmed by the needs of today and can continue to minister and serve after the volunteers are gone
  • Pray for God to provide whatever last minute support we need as we are still a little short on fund raising.

How to Contact Us

John maintains two different sites for Japan team updates if you would like to read those:
Pray4Japan Group

If you would like to e-mail us, please send messages to: japan@bethelcc.net
Note that we are not certain if internet/coverage will be readily available or not.

Posted 08/02/2011 11:05 PM in Christianity, Japan | Total Comments: (1)
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