Sarah McAliley Oba
Sarah ended mission service with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 2012.
Serving in Japan since 1987, Sarah McAliley Oba has witnessed the strength of Christians in Japan from different walks of life through various mission assignments as an English teacher working in a Christian school for young women (Toyo Eiwa Girls' High School), as a volunteer at a training school for grassroots leaders from Asia and Africa (Asian Rural Institute) and as a mission advocate for groups in the Japan Christian Center in Tokyo starting from 1995- including working with two of PC(USA)'s covenant partner churches, the Korean Christian Church in Japan (KCCJ) and the United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyodan).
Sarah writes, “Since Christians comprise only 1% of the population in Japan, it is important to work in a spirit of ecumenical cooperation.” One of Sarah's regular joys is meeting with Christian women leaders from the National Federation of Kyodan Women's Societies for prayer and fellowship. Several Kyodan women have attended Presbyterian Women's events over the years. The need to work in the context of a circle or group is important in the context of Japan. Sarah and other women from Japan partner groups have attended the Asian Christian Women's Leadership Training and Dialogue with women from all parts of Asia, and has worked with the planning of the past five annual Women's Conferences held in Japan. Through these connections of women in mission, God has worked to bridge lasting relationships and networks.
Since the Kobe earthquake of 1995, Sarah has worked closely with the development of mission properties in order to ensure safe dwellings for the residents who are missionaries and also persons involved in public benefit work. All families housed in these church-related properties were confirmed safe after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the buildings were confirmed undamaged.
Sarah has also worked cooperatively with activities and programs for children, youth, women and migrant concerns at the Wesley Center which was dedicated on April 22, 2010 with a cornerstone purpose of faith, hope and love in Action. In response to a request to assist displaced migrants from the Tohoku area, Wesley Center offered its space as an emergency shelter for a period of one week for 33 persons from the Philippines who were from devastated cities such as Ishinomaki as well as from the Fukushima area. The center is also networking with young Japanese university students and international students through seminars and supporting volunteer work camp activities. There is also the continuation of a ministry of hospitality through the provision of guest rooms for visitors from Japan and around the world.
On a daily basis, Sarah witnesses the work of the Trinity through these connections and networks in Japan. The importance of a mission presence in such times is a great encouragement. The partner church in Japan is grateful for its present relationships and the history of over 150 years of Protestant mission in Japan. Several church members from Japan visited Presbyterian missionaries in retirement in order to express their joy and appreciation for the dedicated service and sacrifice of these servants in mission.
Sarah comments, “On the 11th of each month at 2:46 p.m., Japan partners ask for prayers in solidarity with those who have suffered loss and for the rebuilding and recovery of communities after the triple disaster of March 11, 2011. Thank you for your prayers.”
Sarah's family will be in the United States beginning in the fall of 2011 for a one year home assignment; she welcomes the opportunity to visit Presbyterian congregations to engage in mission interpretation.
Sarah - December 20
Naoki - November 4
Isaku - July 29
Fiona - December 28
Manna - April 2
Eden - January 11
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Hi Sarah, How many years have gone by since we were at PC together! I was hoping to find a way to contact you. Please know I am praying for you, your family and all the people of Japan. With love, Vivian
Dear Sarah, Just wanted you to know that you and your precious family are in my prayers .Hopeful that all are safe .May God bless you and keep you. love,Carol Adcock, Fort Worth Texas