JAPAN — TWR will begin broadcasting a gospel program in the Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan to minister to those affected by the recent earthquake.

In April, the area was struck by a series of earthquakes, including a magnitude-7.0 quake, injuring thousands of people and causing extensive damage to the community. There were more than 160 aftershocks.

“As a media ministry, we normally only go to a place like this after two years,” said Samuel Tan, international director of the Northeast Asia region. “The reason is the emotional and psychological needs usually kick in after two years. The first one, two years usually, their needs are physical – housing, food.”

Kumamoto earthquake 2016 tents

People displaced by the earthquake live in tents as temporary housing.

 When he was first asked what TWR would be doing in Kumamoto, he had no plans.

The Japan team currently is busy sharing the gospel in the Tohoku region, which was hit by the country’s largest recorded earthquake in 2011. The magnitude-9.0 quake triggered a tsunami that wiped out entire communities in the region. In 2014, TWR began airing Season of Hope, a counseling program, in this area to minister to the survivors.

There is still a lot of work to be done in the Tohoku region, Tan said.

But during a recent trip to Japan, a Singapore church member suggested a trip to Kumamoto. Tan said he could feel God leading.

The earthquake caused about 5-kilometers of damage and many people lost their homes, Tan said.

A glimpse of the situation on the ground following the earthquake.

“Really, we need to pray for Japan,” he said. “More and more these events are happening.”

During the visit in May, Tan visited an FM station in Kumamoto.

“Before the earthquake, not many people had written in,” he said.

Now there are piles of feedback stacking up from listeners, who wrote in following the earthquake, Tan said. Many people in the area are now turning to the radio to alert them in case of another disaster.

 

Samuel Tan (right), international director of Northeast Asia, stands with David Kazama (middle), producer for TWR Japan, and the radio station manager in Kumamoto. Since the earthquake, the radio station has been receiving stacks of responses from listeners.

The team decided TWR should start airing a program to this community. The day after sharing the Power of Gospel program with the station manager, he wrote back to say he’d like to add it. Power of Gospel is a program that invites Japanese pastors to boldly share the gospel. The idea behind the program is that the local pastors would know best the needs and ways to share the hope of Christ with the people in their communities.

“We have no reason not to air the gospel message,” Tan said of this open door from the local FM station. It is not common to air gospel programs in Japan, but TWR found an open door following the 2011 tsunami, and God continues to open doors in Japan.

Power of Gospel will air one hour a day, Monday through Friday in Kumamoto beginning July 1. In this area, there is a potential listenership of one million people. TWR also is planning a trip to the area in August to distribute tracts as well as raise awareness about the program.

Following the disaster, “there is a fear created among the community,” Tan said.

TWR plans to speak hope into their lives. If you currently live in Singapore, join us in praying for the Japanese people in their time of need.

 


 

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