GUEST BLOG: Raised to Life in the Same Water That Brought Death (Hunter Prevatt – Missionary to Japan)

Posted on October 28, 2013

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Hunter and Ranaye Prevatt are missionaries from our Center City Church family. After giving his heart to Jesus in 2009, Hunter experienced the joy and freedom found in relationship with Christ. This newfound passion led to his call to move to Japan to spread the love and message of Jesus. This story was too gripping to not share with as many people as possible. Enjoy.

You can connect further with Hunter at twitter.com/hunterprevatt.

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This past Saturday, we had the privilege to attend a small church plant that some SEND missionaries have started called “Family Life Group.” The attempt is to do something radically different than the usual Sunday 10:30 slot (which can be counter-cultural for Japanese to attend, due to their schedules).

The group meets every other Saturday night for fellowship, food, and a short message. This week, some ladies from the Nozomi Project came to share what they are doing in Ishinomaki.

Ishinomaki is a small town (which we went to last year) that was devastated by the tsunami two years ago. The Nozomi Project takes the broken pottery, dishes, and china from the rubble of the tsunami and turns them into jewelry. This provides work for many women who lost everything due to the tsunami and earthquake.

We always hear stories about what exactly happened up there (in Ishinomaki), but we never met anyone who actually lost loved ones. A young lady, we will call “Ms. Y,” lost her mother, sister (who was seven months pregnant), and went though a divorce with her husband due to the tsunami. She lived up on a mountain with her husband, and when the wave came into land, she was high enough that it didn’t reach their home. Her mother and sister lived on the base, where the wave came through and destroyed everything.

After about five days of no phone signal, she finally got a hold of her brother, who shared that both their mother and sister were dead. That wasn’t the end of the horrible news…  Her husband didn’t take tensions and the tragedy too well. After much disagreement, they got a divorce. They had two kids and one on the way.

The husband proceeded to lie to the court about his job and gained custody of the children. She was in shock. She then moved into her father’s house, and during that time, sought a lawyer in hopes to gain custody of her children (splitting the custody to joint). She won. But the children wanted to see their father. To make matters worse, her dad didn’t like the kids and wanted her to leave.

Around that time, a missionary from SIM/Asian Access moved their family to the Tohoku area (tsunami zone) after a call from God. One day, Ms. Y decided to go to the local festival alone with her newborn (her ex had the kids this week), and she happened to meet this missionary. They began to talk, and Ms. Y shared that she lost her mother and sister in the tsunami. A while back, the missionary had a conviction from God to do something with the tons of beautiful broken dishes, pottery, and china from the rubble. She shared her vision with Ms. Y, and Ms. Y was thrilled. But none of them knew where to begin.

Around this time, Ms. Y began to go to this missionary’s home daily to have someone to talk to. She felt comforted and joyful. She began to attend church and a bible study. For six weeks or so, the missionary had to go home with her family on a home assignment. Ms. Y was depressed again. But the missionary brought back people who knew how to make jewelry. And the Nozomi Project started to form.

One day, Ms. Y was asked if she wanted to be baptized. She said, “I’m not ready for that.” But the missionary jokingly insisted and planned a date. Ms. Y said, “I heard of people being baptized in ofuros (japanese bathtubs) but I wanted to be baptized in the ocean.” 

We are talking about the same sea that killed her family. The same sea that brought so much destruction. At this point, everyone listening is in tears. The mission statement of the Nozomi Project is “God is bringing beauty from brokenness.”

I couldn’t help but to think, “She… Wanting to be baptized in the same sea that caused so much pain… That is life from death… That is beauty from destruction.”

The most joyful moment of hearing Ms. Y talk was when she said the words, “kami-sama (God).” The entire time she was telling her story, she was in tears. But when she said, “I began to let God heal me,” she was full of joy and smiled from ear to ear.

God is moving so powerfully here in Japan. Who knows…. We hope that we have the privilege to return to Tohoku one day and possibly do church-planting there. The area is so broken, but God is there–moving and turning broken things into beautiful things.

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