Regarding the Coronavirus and Japan
I had intended to release a newsletter to send out a newsletter about all the many things that have been happening this Winter, but with the Coronavirus being such a big concern, I thought it would be best to address this situation first as I’ve had several messages and emails asking how we’re faring over here. First, I’d like y’all to know that we aren’t letting fear rule our decisions, but are praying for wisdom for each step. In other words, we’re living our lives as we always do, trusting the Lord in faith and prepared to praise Him and be thankful in whatever happens. As the coronavirus is at the top of each one of our news feeds every day, and we are keeping an eye on it along with everyone else, it’s our prayer that the primary focus wouldn’t be on the day’s news, but on the knowledge of Christ and the truth of the Word of God, because this is where the Life is, even in the face of adversity and death.
To those of you who have written regarding the shortages of certain items, and have offered to send things, please know that we aren’t lacking in what we need and the body of Christ has been taking care of each other as there is need (plus my family has also sent a care package ;) ). I appreciate your care and concern for us, and if you would still like to help, please pray about donating to our ministry (here) as the cost of shipping to Japan can be quite expensive. The recent paper product sell-out was caused by a false rumor going around online, and we should have more toilet paper soon. However, if any kind of quarantine should actually go into effect, there will likely be food shortages and/or price hikes. Please pray against the false information and unwarranted panic.
Regarding the situation itself, many of you have probably seen Japan mentioned often in the news regarding coronavirus. For those who haven’t, there are currently around 275 cases across Japan (that excludes the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship which has around 500.) with around 90 of those cases are in the Tokyo metropolitan area (Tokyo, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures). It’s probable that these numbers are under-reported as people are not going to get themselves tested.
The presence of the virus certainly has upset daily life for many people as the government and other institutions try to prevent the virus from spreading. The government here has ordered all schools to be closed for a month to prevent children from catching and spreading the virus. However, this has caused other problems to arise, as you can imagine, ranging from how parents deal with having kids home for such a long time (particularly if both parents or single parents work), to teachers and school staff being out of work for that month, probably with no pay. In fact, the music school that I’ve been teaching at has cancelled lessons, and one-on-one English lessons have been canceled. This will make things difficult for the many missionaries who teach English for extra support. Public theme parks, museums and many other popular attractions such as DisneyLand and Sea, Universal Studios, Ghibli Museum, Tokyo Skytree and many others are closed, sporting events have been postponed or canceled and the government is requesting that people cancel or avoid larger groups and gatherings.
So, how has this impacted those of us who are here serving in the church? First, many churches are struggling with the decision to cancel services, and some have. South Korea has closed all churches due to a cult group causing a spike in cases there. If the same thing happens here, we may also be facing a government mandate to cancel church gatherings. There have also been many ministry events, conferences and workshops canceled, including two ministries that we have been quite active in. These cancellations are unfortunate because there is already a lack of time for believers to fellowship in Japan. As fellowship and growth in the body of Christ is something I have a heart for and I believe is important for the church here, I pray that this situation passes quickly. That being said, this has been a good opportunity for believers to think of ways to get around the problem such as by organizing video chat groups for discussion, prayer and bible study. I believe such things could prove to be useful in the future, even after the virus has gone.
I’d like to ask each of you to pray for this situation. Along with the things above, some of the ways we can pray are:
For elderly people. The coronavirus is especially deadly to elderly people and Japan is a country which has a large elderly demographic, making up around 33% of the population. Please pray that those who are at the greatest risk would be protected.
Please pray for wisdom for those making decisions, including the local and national governments, those in charge of companies and businesses, and pastors, elders and those who are taking care of congregations.
Please pray for individual believers, that they would be protected from infection, and that any who are infected would be healed. Pray for each believer to be nourished spiritually during this time when gathering together is difficult or impossible, that they would be continually filled with the Word of God and that they would be led to pray for one another and share where there is need. Pray for this situation to create greater unity among believers and that the church would be strengthened and built up. Pray that fear wouldn’t rule people’s minds, but that the peace of God which surpasses understanding would guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
Pray for this to be a time for people all over the world to seek God and for those who are far away from Him to turn from their sins and to Christ.
Thank you again for your prayers and concern for us. Please look for the other newsletter soon. In spite of this coronavirus situation, the Lord is still working here and I’m excited to share this with all of you and am looking forward to what God has in store.
Please stay safe and let’s keep praying for each other!
Much love in Christ,
Kyle and Ai