My name is Rich Giddens. Some of you may know me others probably don't so let me give you a brief introduction of myself.
I came to Japan from San Diego where God drew me close to Himself. I realized the He died personally for me... For ME! I realized this at a church called, Horizon Christian Fellowship. Through pastor Mike's teaching God was like slamming truth in my heart in a way that was so powerful I remember I had to restrain myself from standing up and shouting, 'For if you don't love your brother, your sister, or your mother, how can you say that you love God! It was in response to what my pastor was teaching that day. Never happened again, but God did something deep in me and that was it for me. I was all in. I went through the School of Evangelism, and was an intern pastor for one year there. Interned for one month at Youth Development Intl and then made my way over to Japan as a missionary. Got married here to my wife Emi two years later and have been here ever since.
I experienced the earthquake down in Yokohama, (biggest I've ever been in even though we were so far away from the epicenter.) and after seeing the tsunami footage on tv and the net I begged God to send me. I waited for about 4 1/2 months and then got the call I was waiting for. Told my wife about it and said to her, "If you are not 100% about me going, then I won't go." She gave me the green light to go I came up to work with Samaritan's Purse in Ishinomaki. After being away from her for close to one and a half years, only seeing her for a few times every few months, she moved up her with me.
Because she has such good friends down in Yokohama, and because she really loves Yokohama, she said she would only come up for three months. Then she told me one day that God told her that,
'Yokohama is no longer your city." She's been up her almost one year now.
I have been involved with J's Café since I came up to Ishinomaki but initially never thought I would be leading here. I started making preparations for running a cafe many years ago not knowing that this knowledge would be utilized at J's.
We've got some more things to do here on the building etc.. before we can open up as a fully equipped cafe, but we have been holding our Sunday morning services here one year and ten months. There have been many volunteers, interns and teams that have been involved with J's Café in one way or another since we've been here. And to each of those I would just like to thank you so much for taking your time to serve God and the people of Ishinomaki here at J's. We've come a long way and we have a bit more to go. I see J's as a 'Point of Contact'. Our location is great and with the
elementary school opening back up (closed since the tsunami and they are working on it now) in April, I think things will only get crazier. We have a Harvest Party planned for this month, a gospel concert next month, a Christimas party in Dec and a team from a Calvary in the States coming in
Please pray for us. I have been praying for a lady that came to J's during a time when a team was here from Perris Valley Calvary. She was her at an outreach only briefly but made it known at that time that she was suicidal. The only problem was we didn't know where she lived. To make matters worse there was a lady who jumped of a bridge to her death not long after meeting her.... I could only hope that she wasn't the one... but even anyone jumping is a loss that shouldn't have happened. This Sunday after church when only Tora and I were here, and my wife went to get the van, I saw her through the window! "Tora! There she is! It's Junko! Grab anything and give it to her!" He ran out first and I grabbed a Free tract with a CD attached for her and followed Tora.
We spent some time talking to her and she looked much better but I can see there is still some heaviness there.
Please pray for us. Please pray about coming to help us short or long term. Working full time we are not able to throw ourselves into the ministry as much as we would like. Please pray for us.