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via It’s been nearly three months since Japan was torn apart by an earthquake and tsunami. The billions of dollars in damage sent the country into a deeper recession as many jobs were lost, businesses were left crippled, and in some cases–destroyed by the disaster. While it was bad news for the economy, the tragedy has given the church a boost.

Joe Handley is President of Asian Access, a ministry that supports the local church in Japan. He’s in Fukushima, Japan now getting a good look at what God is doing through the church post-earthquake. He says of all the relief groups he’s seeing in the region, the greatest response has come from “Japanese churches from all over the country — Okinawa, Tokyo, Hiroshima. It’s just unbelievable the amount of love Japanese churches have mobilized to reach out and help clean up at this time.”

In talking with them, Handley says churches have a new desire to plant churches, especially in areas where there we no churches. “One of these areas, Iwata, is one of the least-churched regions of the entire country of Japan, and yet pastors have a real heart to reach out to them at this time of need.”

Handley says one denomination wants to plant 50 new churches in this area, while another group wants to plant churches in the seaside villages that have never had a church.

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