In April 2016, two teams were sent to Japan to refurbish the exterior of the Nozomi Center, a disaster-response community outreach center established by the OPC and affiliates following the Tsunami of 2011. Patrick Lewis of Harvest OPC (Wyoming, MI) was a member of the first team, and shared the following testimonial:
Team One’s mission trip to Yamamoto-cho, Miyagi, Japan, to work on the Nozomi Center proved to be a success and blessing for all. While we worked on the Nozomi Center building, God worked in our hearts. We started out by cleaning the roof, but the next day we had rain. This gave us some good extra fellowship and a chance to do a few other indoor projects. It was impactful to see and meet those who come and use the center on a weekly basis, which reiterated and demonstrated the importance of what we were there to do. After that God blessed us with enough breeze and sunshine to start painting. We finished the first coat the first week.
We started the second week off by worshiping with our beloved Japanese brothers and sisters in Sendai. It felt like such a great honor coupled with much humility to worship with such dedicated believers. Their love for Jesus Christ did not go unnoticed, and we were blessed in being received by them, feeling very welcomed and encouraged in the faith. Sunday afternoon we visited the cherry blossom festival and drank in some of Japan’s beautiful culture. We admired the scene of people gathered and all the pink blossoming trees while stopping for a picnic on a hillside.
During that next week we enjoyed more sunshine and breeze, helping us to press on and complete the entire roof before our deadline. This enabled us to go a step further, taking down all the gutters and getting a good first coat of paint on all the side trim. There were even a couple of good walks down to the beach together after work. During this whole time the Holy Spirit worked more patience, honesty, and love into us, growing and maturing us more into Christ’s likeness.
All in all, I think we were all thankful to have been chosen to be a part of this trip. There was good fellowship with each other and with God in the morning and evening. We were overly blessed to have Jimmy and Yui at the Nozomi Center. Both of them went above and beyond every day, every moment, cooking, running errands, and working with us. There is even a rumor that Yui beat our team leader Brian in a heated match of ping pong, but it’s just a rumor. We thank them and others for what they do on a daily basis, for their dedication and patience in serving at the Nozomi Center.
Praise be to God who works in us and through us, who leads us on to victory in all that we do by his grace and mercy. Shining his light in us for all the world to see and know of him. I pray he continues to call his people in Japan by the power of the Holy Spirit, opening their eyes to see the truth of his love, mercy, and free gift of eternal life for all those who repent and believe in his son, our king now and forever, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Members of Team #1 (April 4-15, 2016):
PHOTO: Team One left to right: Brian Murphy, James Benefiel, Gelu Vasiu, Noah Rice, Patrick Lewis, Liviu Marhao, Petre Pindic, Cal Cummings
Visit www.opcstm.org for more testimonials from those who have served as short-term missionaries in the OPC!
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