Helping the Helpers

By Ken and Kathy Young, serving in Japan

The following is an adapted excerpt from Ken and Kathy Young’s recent prayer letter.

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:16, NLT).

The tragedies that have struck Japan during the last few weeks have dominated the news—mammoth earthquakes throughout northeastern Japan with continuing aftershocks (at least 800 as of this writing); a series of devastating tsunami waves all along the Pacific coast of that region; and the ongoing effects of the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima.

More than 20,000 people have died, with hundreds of thousands displaced. And, who knows how many millions have been severely affected—emotionally, economically, and in many other ways? 

“Grace to help us when we need it most”

We need His grace now. We in Japan, particularly those in northeastern Japan, need rescue, repair, restoration, food, housing, clothing, health. But, most of all, the unreached 99 percent of the people of Japan, who are despairing under all this pressure, need to find the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Recently, the Lord has shown us one more of the hidden needs: helping the helpers. Although fairly isolated from the devastated region, we see the effects of these past weeks on the helpers. Through our various contacts, we hear of the trauma felt by rescue professionals and volunteers after returning to the safety of their homes. We see the stress in the faces and actions of people who have friends and relatives in the region. The first topic on the lips of people in churches is always the same: the continuing disaster. We also sense stress and weariness building in ourselves, but more especially in our fellow workers serving in the regions nearer to the devastation.

A God-Ordained Opportunity

Although not directly related to the present crisis, God has given us a way to help some of the “helpers” in Japan. Last week we began a group at the Higashi Hiroshima Medical Center called EMAC, or “English Medical Assistants Club.” Every day many foreigners, who do not speak Japanese but do understand some English, receive treatment as outpatients in hospitals throughout Japan; and Japanese medical personnel are usually incapable of communicating with these patients. 

Through the introduction of a Christian nurse in one of our local churches, Ken has been able to begin a “club” within the national hospital in our town with the primary purpose of helping health care experts with medical English conversation. Six doctors (mainly surgeons) and one surgical nurse attended the first meeting (three who intended to come were too busy with patients). 

Of course, since this is a national hospital, laws restricting religious teaching must be obeyed. But, any questions raised by the students can always be answered! 

The other day the leader of the group asked Ken, “Since another 10-20 doctors and nurses would like to attend, would you be willing to lead at least one more club?” We have no idea where this rare opportunity will lead. But, at this point, at least, we can help some of the helpers in a small way.

Friends, be assured of this—all Alliance field workers, Japanese pastors, and Christians are committed to helping others as much as possible. But, even these servants need help.

What You Can Do

Pray for Alliance international workers and their national partners as they share His grace with those around them and in the Tohoku region.

Give to the Great Commission Fund, which supports the work in Japan, and to CAMA, the relief arm of The Alliance.

And when conditions in the region stabilize, please come and help with the restoration and aid to the millions affected by these events.

Thank you for your faithful support of God’s work in Japan!

Ken and Kathy Young


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