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Our World Longs for God

A voice cries out: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
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Time to Know Your Deepest Longings

One day on a winter's walk in the woods I came face to face with a deer. Our town had been in the midst of a stretch of very cold weather, and the stream I was walking along was mostly frozen over. I had stopped at a place where the swift current of the stream broke through to the surface and swirled around in eddies before it disappeared back under the ice. As I sat for a while watching and listening to the gurgling water, a deer quietly appeared. We stared at one another for a few moments and, sensing I was no threat, the deer moved to the edge of the water and drank deeply. I recalled the words, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.” I had been experiencing a kind of winter in my soul. There were few signs of life, and the Spirit of God seemed to have become frozen over within me. Somehow, I was drawn to this external image of my internal longing—flowing water finding a way to bubble up from beneath solid ice.
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A precious help in Tokyo

With the phenomenon of globalization, a good number of countries experience a rise in migration due to wars or a search for better life. Japan is no exception. Once known for being politically isolated, Japan is opening-up and is among those countries who receive immigrants. Two MIC Sisters are preoccupied of their fate; they give us their testimony. Among the countries of Asia, Japan is positioned furthest to the east; thus, for centuries it was self-sufficient and had little contact with the outside world. From the early 17th century, Christianity was forbidden in Japan and the door was completely shut to contact with any foreign country. Toward the end of the 19th century, Japan began to be somewhat more open. In order to understand what kind of problems Japan is now facing as a “host country”, one must remember that not so long ago, it was in the exact opposite position than it is today. Japan itself sent out many emigrants to foreign countries who welcomed them well. The Japanese economy riding a wave of technological innovations, from around 1966, accomplished a sudden high rate of growth. This resulted in the deterioration of the large family system in Japanese society which changed very rapidly into nuclear families and digressed to the point where people were having very few children. This phenomenon continues unabated to the present time; with this reality comes the serious worry about an eventual shortage of youth for the work force. The Japanese government and business world are interested in cheap labour: the immigrant workers. Since the ‘80s their number keeps increasing rapidly. Unfortunately, the government has been dealing with the immigrants without any laws in place to protect and guarantee their rights. Everything is done very haphazardly; as a result, immigrant workers are faced with very difficult working conditions and a precarious living environment. At the government level, “Refugees Recognition Law” and the “Emigration, Immigration Management Law” are joined together as one unit and managed by the same Bureau; this brings about misunderstanding for the refugees who are often ill treated. According to the 2006 statistics, there are 8,107,963 foreigners living in Japan. In this migration context, two MIC Sisters: Keiko Hasegawa (Japanese) and Ana Alvarado (Peruvian) work with the new-comers to alleviate some of their anxieties. The following are their testimonies.
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