Community Outreach in Middle School
From one of our 7th grade teachers, Tamara Hershberger
“I knew about homeless people, but I never saw them before.” What a perceptive reflection from one of our middle school students who went to their first Sidewalk Chapel in Yoyogi-Koen. Partnering with Dr. Mark Bennett’s ministry has been a great introduction for our students to serve others in Japan. We arrive during the set-up to help make soup and pass out drinks. When the worship and message have concluded, the students are mobilized to quickly serve the meal to the hungry people. After everyone is full, the students happily try the food too and then clean-up before heading home.
If students are not able to attend a Sidewalk Chapel, we still want them to have an opportunity to serve others. Since last year, we have partnered with Second Harvest Japan’s “Adopt a Family” project. We prepare boxes of food for families living in poverty which Second Harvest delivers to those in need. Additionally, we include notes of encouragement and pray for the families. Weeks later, we will receive a note from the family, which is an especially nice connection for our students to see that their service is appreciated.
There are many stories in the Bible of Jesus seeing people and having compassion on them. Through serving others in Japan, we are training our students to be like Christ.
From one of our 8th grade teachers, Jane Fischer
Throughout this semester, the 8th grade students will be helping Second Harvest Japan (2HJ) with two of their three Saturday shifts. The students have already begun helping with the second shift of hot meal serving near Ueno Park on Saturdays from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm. During this opportunity, some students help put food into bowls or fill soup cups, while others hand out fruit and bread. The number of homeless people fed during this activity is usually between 250 - 300. Some of the students from last Saturday commented, “That 2.5 hours seemed like 20 minutes! I liked seeing so many homeless people smiling. I also realized how blessed we are to get food every day. What a good experience to help through serving!”
In connection with this outreach, some of the students will also be helping with the third shift lunch clean up, with takes place near Akihabara on Saturdays from 2:30 - 4:30. That involves cleaning all the dishes and pans used to serve the homeless people during the previous shift. Both activities help the students see a great value in serving. If this year is like last year, several students will likely sign up to go again!