Tuesday, July 17
The Rev. Makio Ihara did not graduate with his class of 1952 at Kobe Reformed Theological Seminary. Informed by his physician that his muscular dystrophy was advancing at an alarming rate and that he could not expect to live much longer, he determined to leave seminary early in order to serve God as a pastor for at least a short time. Returning to his rural hometown of Tadanoumi, Mr. Ihara became pastor of the small Reformed church there. Although confined to a wheelchair, he served his congregation with vigor and shared the good news with all who would listen.
Given a call not only to witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ in word but also in deed, Mr. Ihara resolved to help meet the critical need for rehabilitation and vocational training among physically and intellectually challenged adults. In 1960, the Tadanoumi Reformed Church began teaching typesetting and printing skills in its sanctuary. As the venture expanded, residential facilities were secured and trainees arrived. The PC(USA) provided funds to build a facility that became known as Grace Rehabilitation Center and a PC(USA) missionary, the Rev. Winton Enloe, assisted the growing work.
Today, Grace Rehabilitation Center is a thriving community of 150 residents and staff led by Elder Toshikazu Kawasaki, Mr. Ihara's son. The Center's mission has expanded to provide services in the name of Jesus Christ to the rapidly expanding elderly population. It is a leader among Christian social welfare institutions in Japan.
Due to the sustaining grace of God, Rev. Makio Ihara outlived his physician's prognosis by over forty years. His faith and vision continue to bear fruit for the kingdom of God to this day.
- Rev. Bill and Ann Moore, PC(USA) mission co-workers, Kobe, Japan
Let us join in prayer for:
United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyodan): Rev. Tomeyuki Naito, general secretary, Rev. Makoto Kato, ecumenical relations general secretary, Mr. Teruki Takada, dedicated staff * Korean Christian Church in Japan: Rev. Song Wan Hong, general secretary * The Reformed Church of Christ in Japan: Rev. Takashi Yoshida, moderator, Rev. Ken Iwasaki, vice moderator * National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ): Rev. Sam Koshiishi, moderator, George Gish, vice moderator, Rev. Baekki Heo, Central Committee and secretary, Hiroko Ueda, acting office general secretary, Claudia Genung, NCCJ English communications * Japan Oral School for the Deaf: Rikiya Azumi, principal * Kinjo Gakuin: Dr. Tetsuo Kashiwagi, M.D., chancellor and chairman of Board of Trustees * Meiji Gakuin University: Dr. Satoru Kuze, chancellor, Rev. Christian Zebley, professor * Shikoku Gakuin University: Dr. Takaaki Sueyoshi, president * Tokyo Union Theological Seminary: Rev. Dr. Makoto Yamauchi, president * Tokyo Women's University: Dr. Masako Sanada, president * Yodogawa Christian Hospital: Kimiaki Fukushima, president, Masaaki Mukubo, M.D., superintendent
Let us pray
Gracious God, we thank you for the way you empower your people to witness in word and deed to your love. We especially praise you for working through our infirmity to show your power and care for a hurting world. Amen.