I have had a lot of topics and thoughts swirling around my head for our blog series on giving.  And we will get to those.  But it would be foolish and unkind for us to sit here and talk about giving when there are thousands of people in Japan that needs us to do more than talk and discuss giving right now.  They need our prayers and our money as they begin to rebuild broken down buildings and grieve the loss of friends and family.  Some of my best friends in the world (no pun intended) have either lived in Japan or are currently living there.  When I think of Japan I think of my beautiful sister Britni.  She has the Japanese culture in her blood and heart.  I asked her to share with us about her time there and how we can give to and help the people of Japan now. She has been doing a lot of work in the last few weeks to raise funds for the disaster victims.  You can watch a news story of the work she has been doing here.

Now I’ll hand it off to Britni:

I was 11 years old when I consciously heard the Japanese language for the first time. I promised myself right then that I would someday learn the language. Shortly after God gave me the vision of some day being a missionary overseas.  Which eventually evolved into a passion to serve in Japan. Through His grace and plan, now at the age of 23, I have spent the last 8 years learning the language and culture.  Including, from August of 2009 to June 2010, studying abroad in Nagoya, Japan. During this time I was led to an amazing church, His Call Nagoya, that would change my life through ministry and being ministered too. From the second I stepped into the congregation I was overwhelmed with the confirmation that I had been led to learn the language, to someday be apart of this church. I learned much there from the loving leadership of the church.  It was my first time to taste real Christian community, even though I had grown up in the church.

Considering that in a country where the Christianity rate is currently 1%, the average Japanese church itself runs an average of 20 members. When I first attended His Call, it was in that range. Yet, during the year that I was there doing outreach campus ministry the church stretched to over 80 members and is still heavily growing today. I saw so much healing in those around me through the Joy of the Spirit that radiated from this small but passionate church. After returning to America, my God-graced passion for Japan has continued to grow, even apart from that community. I miss them dearly and hope to one day be along side them during ministry once again.

As many of you know, the Earthquake/Tsunami disaster that hit Japan this month has devastated the constantly forward moving country. The worst post-WII disaster has been supported by many organizations such as the The American Red Cross and many others.  I myself have even been a part of my local University of Nebraska Global Friend’s of Japan’s fundraising. (A club composed of mainly Japanese students and a few American students to promote Japanese culture on campus) We raised over $10,000 by running a donation booth and putting on a Japanese rock benefit concert. We even ended up on such news stations as ABC, CNN, CBS and much more. We are sending the funds directly to the Japanese government to support immediate relief and problems that will arise in the future from the quake.

Although giving to relief organizations is highly needed I really was praying for a way to financially enable the Japanese church to reach out to those families in the most effected areas (Mainly the Miyagi Prefecutre in Northern East Japan). That next day I received a phone call from my father who is the Senior Pastor at Westside Church in Omaha, NE. As he, above anyone else, has seen the affect of the His Call Church on my spiritual life and personal ministry, he has been pressed with the same desire I had been praying the night before. That Sunday he shared with the congregation about giving to my Japanese church. They collected $14,000 on the first Sunday a lone. Continuing to accept donations they received over $17,000. When I contacted His Call about this miracle, it turned out they already had started a fund to send up supplies (diapers, food, blankets, water etc) to The North Eastern Church (Sendai, Japan) to delve out to the victims who left with nothing after the disaster.

If you were like me and are looking for a way to help the Japanese church reach out to the victims of this unforeseen natural disaster, please feel free to visit the His Call’s donation website at hiscallchurch.com. You can send money through paypal or directly to the His Call’s Relief Fund via the donations button on the top right of the website.

Also, if you would like to send out information to your local churches as well, feel free to use this handout in anyway. All the information about the current situation in Japan as of March 19, 2011 is accurate according to NHK (The most trusted station in Japan, The Japanese Broadcasting Network).

If you have any other questions about my experience about ministry in Japan or how you can help out the church, feel free to email me at britni.grace@gmail.com

Please continue to pray for Japan to be touched for the Kingdom and that the church will continue to grow in His Unfailing Grace!!!

Britni Grace Dodd