Larry and Ruth Spalink work in Tokyo, Japan, one of the world’s great mega-cities. Japan is a prosperous and modern but spiritually dark place, with less than 1% of the people knowing Jesus. Religious Japanese (there are also many atheists) worship what they themselves refer to as a plethora of “gods” with a variety of functions. Most of them practice various Shinto (Japanese indigenous religion) and Buddhist (imported from East Asia and mostly concerned with funeral rites) ceremonies that often involve offerings and prayers to the dead or to nature “gods.”
Larry is Christian Reformed World Mission‘s Japan team leader. He works with a cluster of churches, helping them enhance their worship and evangelistic programs. Additionally, he develops plans and budgets, oversees other staff members, manages finances, and does liaison and consultative work with the Japanese church. Since the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Larry has also become deeply engaged, in partnership with CRWM’s sister agency, World Renew, in support and recovery activities in the disaster zone north of Tokyo.
Ruth is Christian Academy in Japan’s school’s health officer and health center director. She’s also coordinator of the Support Team that works to help students succeed who struggle with learning disabilities and other special needs.
Larry told us of his mission this Sunday at Pleasant Street CRC in Whitinsville. MA. He was standing in for Derek Zeyl, pastor at Pleasant Street who is away on sabbatical with his family. There will be plenty of other speakers during the next 4 months until Pastor Derek returns to us.