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March 1, One-to-One, Yet more than One. Every now and then one is awed to happen to witness a moment of — what is the word? I was privy to just such a moment recently. Allow me to share the story with you. The story begins with the earthquake-tsunami-Fukushima nuclear disaster of At that time, Jim and I received about prayer shawls that we were able to share with families in a remote fishing village that had been decimated by the tsunami. A non-Christian woman named Chieko was the unexpected catalyst for this ministry event.

Somewhat to my surprise, Chieko told me sometime last year that she felt the desire and need to visit some of the Minnesota churches that had sent the shawls, to express her thanks face-to-face. So she and I made a kind of gratitude pilgrimage, visiting several churches and sharing her non-verbal appreciation to them through offering the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Everyone loved meeting Chieko. One morning, we were attending a worship service in a large ELCA congregation.

After the service, one woman came up and introduced herself as Jill. He fought your people in World War II. He is now in heaven, but I am sure he would want to ask your forgiveness for any suffering he might have contributed to your people. Chieko wore that shawl her entire time in Minnesota. I cannot get it out of my mind. I cannot leave before giving back something to express my own heart to ask for and receive forgiveness.

It was a decorative Japanese fan, depicting the beauty of the seasons. As I witnessed this gesture between the two women that Sunday morning, I was aware in some deep place that this was more than two women connecting. But somehow, though it involved two women, it felt like the earth had shifted. Lord, make us instruments and bridges of Your Peace. September 1, We would like to share a story about a good Japanese friend by the name of Chie who. Lutheran College. Chie uses the harp and her voice to play for. She is a devoted Christian but is struggling. Through an experience she.

Before sharing about what she did, we think it is important to explain the use of. The exchange of business cards is almost a. Proper handling of these cards can either help to establish respect for the. These cards tell you the title of the person offering. Depending on your relationship to another, the use of honorifics and the modes of.

Therefore, the business card plays an important role in. Japanese society. Even people not in business will often make their own personal card. Usually the. Now we want to share the contents of a letter she recently wrote:. I happened to see a husband. Their daughter had. His shouting was so loud and abnormal that everyone around him felt so bad,. I know you are a good mother to take care of. What can I do for such a. What can I do for such a humiliated lady? It forced me to make this. Here is the business name card that Chie created:. To the left of the heart is her name, address, phone and address.

Please pray for her and her family. Her husband and two. Christ that her life is a witness to them as well. Also please continue to pray for the Lyra Precaria program and for the Japan Lutheran. College, and the Japan Lutheran Theological Seminary. May you all know the deep love of God through Christ in each of your live.

June Sack Newsletter from Japan. We would like to share with you about a seminary open lecture class that we started three years ago. We will be starting the class once again in September for 14 weeks. Each week we transform the classroom to create a different environment in which to engage in another facet of spirituality. This bracelet facilitates an inner conversation with God about our dreams, longings and prayers.

At the beginning of the course each participant makes his or her own bracelet that will be used in each session. A Lutheran Bishop from Sweden came up with the idea of the bracelet in January 9, Dear Sponsoring Congregations:. It is time for a long overdue newsletter from the Sacks. This summer we had the opportunity to be back in the States for home leave. We were able to visit 11 of our sponsoring congregations and were reminded once again how grateful we are for our family in Christ all over the world, especially you congregations who pray for and support us so faithfully.

At many of the churches we talked about the severe persecution of the Japanese Christians for a couple of centuries. We encourage you to see this movie as it will give some insight into the deep struggles that many Japanese Christians had to come to grips with about their faith. This story is a novel but does give an accurate portrayal of the trials many believers faced during this period of Christianity being outlawed in Japan. There is a temple that is not so far from our house in Tokyo which has a hidden Christian tombstone. When you look at the picture see below you will notice that the top of the stone flairs out and there is a circle in the middle of that.

This represents a cross and for the family members of their dead loved one, they could come to pay homage to that person and still worship the Lord Jesus Christ and not have the authorities know about their faith. A similar way of hiding the Mother Mary and child was to create statues that looked like the Goddess of Mercy called Kannon see below. This is representative of the many Christians who went underground in order to survive the severe persecutions and still practice their faith. The majority of these persecutions took place in the southern most part of Japan, especially in the Nagasaki area.

Since there was a great expulsion of the Catholic clergy, the hidden Christian communities relied on lay leaders to lead the services. In when religious freedom was re-established, the hidden Christians emerged and started to display their faith in the open once again. The government used these images to find out who were either practicing Christians or at least sympathizers. People who would hesitate to step on the image were considered to be Christian and were taken to the Nagasaki area. This Christmas saw a male student by the name of Chisaka proclaim his faith and be baptized.

We give thanks to God for that new member in the faith. As a family we continue to do very well, and are kept quite busy with the many opportunities we have been given to train, teach and offer witness to the living Christ here in Japan. Carol is currently working with the sixth set of students taking the Lyra Precaria course, where they learn to use the harp and voice at the bedside of the dying.

There have been 32 graduates from the first five classes that have completed this two-year study. Most of them are active in providing care to those who are dying and their families in various hospices and hospital throughout Japan. For this academic year Jim was asked to be head of the Christianity Department which means he has a of new committee meetings to attend to each week, but provides him with numerous opportunities to deal with students in the department.

He continues his teaching at the graduate school in clinical psychology as well as teaching pastoral counseling in the seminary. Jim also trains staff at a large Lutheran nursing home to do active listening with the patients who live in the facility. We are also fortunate to have two of our three grown children coming back and living in Tokyo. This provides many chances to be with our two granddaughters since they live just a 10 minute ride from our home.

We will also include a picture of our entire family taken in the summer of We hope to have the chance for all of us to reunite again when we return to the States. Each occasion to be together is cause for thanksgiving! We ask for your prayers. Please pray for:. Chisaka as he starts his new life of faith as a Christian. We give thanks for all of you and your support through prayers and financial offerings on out behalf. May be a year filled with joy, meaning and the Peace of God. Sent: Monday, March 07, AM. March Sack Newsletter from Japan. We wanted to fill you in a little about our current ministries in Japan.

We have mentioned before how our academic year begins in April. Carol remains director of Lyra Precaria, the 2 year training program for using voice and harp at the bedside of the dying. April will mark the beginning of the 6 th group of students taking this program. They just had their graduation of the 5 th group of seven students in March. Please note the three pictures at the end of the :. We give thanks to God for all of our sponsoring congregations. Jim and Carol Sack. An experience from Carol:. Filling the Hole.

Though our normal involvement is done on a one-to-one basis, twice I have been asked to bring my harp to a rehabilitation group for sexual offenders. Although the prison atmosphere appears extremely harsh for the most part, I have been impressed with this program, which meets for 90 minutes, a total of 70 times with the same four or five men.

Some people have criticized me for offering prayerful presence in voice and harp for such offenders of society, but my own conviction is that there has been for these individuals some fundamental injury of identity, some tragic demolition of dignity which le to societal harm, and if that foundational hole can be filled, the source of the violence can be touched and transformed.

Thus I accepted these invitations with honor. As last year, I was told that these men are generally afraid of people they do not know, especially women. Four staff persons and four inmates were present. I introduced myself and briefly explained what I do, visiting patients one-on-one, offering voice and harp at the bedside. I invited all to close their eyes. Without explanation I began to play our simple music, a combination of Gregorian chant, Latin Taize chants and lullabies in various languages.

I purposely use unfamiliar music sung in non-vernacular, so as to offer the listener freedom to take whatever heart-journey is necessary. I sense the presence of the Holy Spirit leading them wherever they need to go.

After about 30 minutes, the music came to a quiet close and the leader asked staff and inmates alike to share their thoughts. Our music is so simple, it is clear that this is not a result of musical prowess, rather the sheer grace of God at work.

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