Beginnings
In the wake of the Northeast Japan Tsunami and Earthquake in November 2011, led by representatives from the Japan Presbyterian Mission, Brotherhood Christ Church Board, Evangelical Free Church of Japan Disaster Response Office (after dissolving in February 2012, a number of EFCJ churches carry on the baton), Reach Global and Ishinomaki Christ Church formed Ishinomaki Christian Center. These groups saw that church denominational walls came down through the disaster, and there was unity in serving the disaster-torn community. They foresaw the continual need for an organization to be able to help nurture this unity in the years to come. Together, they formed a board with a representative member from each group, and bought land behind Ishinomaki Station in the hope of constructing a building there.

 

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Staff found
In December 2012, Stephen Nakahashi was hired to be the ICC field director with the vision that, with God’s guidance, unity would continue to be fostered between the churches in Ishinomaki and beyond once a team was gathered. Since Stephen’s hiring, a team has been formed with a focus in three different areas, which put ICC’s vision in action. These areas are music, ministry support, and volunteer programs. Each staff member had been previously working in the area since the disaster with other relief organizations, such as Samaritan’s Purse and Grace Mission Tohoku. Their collective and individual desire is to see that Christ’s love is shown throughout the city and beyond.

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Expression of vision
As a team with the board’s direction, foundational verses have been prayed over and selected based off of ICC’s three goals. Our foundational verse is Ecclesiastes 4:12 – “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Our goals and corresponding verses are as follows:

  1. Serve the Body of Christ: Ephesians 4:16 “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each does its work.”
  2. Serve the Community: Ephesians 6:7 “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”
  3. Share the Love of Christ: Colossians 2:2”My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the riches of God, namely Christ.”

These verses express the vision and goal of ICC.

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Vision and Goals
The ICC staff and volunteers tangibly carry out the ways in which each area focus is expressed. The ministry support team seeks to find ways in which the ministries can be aided by the resources of ICC, either through the monthly network and prayer meetings or assisting events and activities. The music ministry is in the community through music programs teaching Black Gospel and Classical music in the schools and communities. The volunteer coordination team seeks to share the love of Christ by being the hands and feet of the church through volunteers who are deployed throughout the city.

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Current status
Currently, ICC is located in Watanoha in a home of a community member. The house and land is large enough to house up to 25 volunteers and staff members. In exchange for its use, ICC is repairing much of the house so the homeowner will be able to move back in once the ICC relocates. ICC is currently in the process of fundraising enough money for the construction of a new building behind Ishinomaki station by Spring 2015. This building is intended to host community events, while still featuring enough space for offices, church services and volunteer accommodations. Please join us in prayer as we seek to raise money for this building.