By Michael Ireland
ASSIST News Service
An Internet evangelism effort to reach millions shaken and still hurting from the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, has launched a series of seeker-friendly “stepping stone” web sites in Japan.
Internet ministry Jesus.net Japan is partnering with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse, Campus Crusade, and author Philip Yancey to help lead them to start a relationship with God and make a connection with local churches.
Jesus.net Japan is an extension of Jesus.net (www.jesus.net ), a global alliance of Internet ministries that operates Christian
evangelistic websites in more than 20 languages worldwide. Jesus.net recently was awarded the National Religious Broadcasters’ “Innovation Award” for its global, cutting-edge evangelism strategy.
The U.S. entity and English information source for the ministry is Jesus Net Japan (www.jesusnetjapan.org ).
In anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the disaster, Jesus.net Japan partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for its “Celebration of Hope” event in Tohuku and will support Philip Yancey’s speaking tour in Northern Japan March 7-11. It also will be involved in four BGEA events in Japan in 2013. Other partners include Samaritan’s Purse (www.samaritanspurse.org ), Campus Crusade for Christ (www.ccci.org ) and CRASH Japan (www.crashjapan.com ).
“The disasters last spring and the continuing economic upheaval here have people wondering what life is about more than ever before,” said Christian Zebley, former missionary to Japan and U.S. spokesperson for Jesus Net Japan. “The Japanese are a very private people and do not talk about religion easily. Many already use the Internet to answer questions or find information about topics considered too embarrassing to discuss in person.”
According to ABC News, 2 million people around the world “look for God each day” online, said Zebley. Searches are on topics about the supernatural or on the big questions about life and the future.
“We want to give people an opportunity to get answers and hope where they spend a lot of time – on the Internet – and connect them with other Japanese who have satisfied the longings of their hearts in Jesus,” he said.
Jesus.net Japan’s initial web site, Hope for Living (www.hopeforliving.net ) introduces visitors to survivors of earlier quakes or other traumatic experiences. Their stories illustrate how they have been strengthened by faith in God, or how they got to know Jesus in the midst of their turmoil. The site also contains prayers and words of hope to encourage those who are afraid, tired, lonely or going through difficult times.
As the one-year anniversary of the quake approaches, Jesus.net Japan is planning more ways to reach out to the Japanese people, including a special series of Hope for Living stories from the stricken region, filmed with the help of Samaritan’s Purse.
Jesus.net Japan is a part of Jesus.net (www.Jesus.net ), a worldwide movement of more than 40 national and international ministries who partner together to create a network of online websites and tools to assist and support online searchers in their spiritual search.