This month’s issue of Christianity Today includes a special report from long-time friend of the DNA Soohwan Park who has been closely involved with the recovery efforts following Japan’s massive series of disasters in March 2011.
As an associate with the Marketplace Institute at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, and in collaboration with the DNA (including DNA Korea) , Friends with the Voiceless (Japan), Food for the Hungry Canada and Food for the Hungry Intl., Soohwan completed extensive field research in Fukushima, Japan’s prefecture now famous for its nuclear disaster following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Her story in Christianity Today, titled “Redeeming Disaster,” takes a sober look at emergency-relief efforts and their tendency to overlook three vital aspects: spirituality, story and sustainability. She recounts how many local churches made great sacrifices to meet deep, invisible needs in Fukushima.
“Disaster relief is complex,” Soohwan says. “Theologically, it involves restoration of all things that were broken and all relationships that are in need of reconciliation in order for a community to flourish (Col. 1:15-20). Fundamentally, this is not the work of a professional agency but of ordinary people in a local church loving their neighbors out of love for Christ. Christian relief work happens only when the local church realizes its mission to serve the world, giving themselves for others and restoring the fabric of a broken society.”
Soohwan’s report reflects many of the DNA’s Seven Core Truths, particularly #4: The local church is God’s principle agent in his primary agenda of advancing his kingdom.
This story will appear in Christianity Today – Korea this September.