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Seeker-friendly websites aim to help Japanese find Jesus

An online outreach initiative is looking to reach millions in Japan still shaken by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident of March 2011 ... Japan, an internet evangelism effort to reach millions shaken and still hurting from the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, has launched a series of seeker-friendly "stepping stone” websites in Japan in an effort to lead people to Christ and connect them with a local church.

The US entity and English information source for the ministry is Jesus Net Japan. Japan is an extension of, a global alliance of Internet ministries that operates Christian evangelistic websites in more than 20 languages worldwide. recently was awarded the National Religious Broadcasters' Innovation Award for its global, cutting-edge evangelism strategy.

In anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the disaster, Japan partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for its Celebration of Hope event in Tohuku and will support Philip Yancey's speaking tour in Northern Japan which ends on Sunday (11 March 2012). 

It also will be involved in four BGEA events in Japan in 2013. Other partners include Samaritan's Purse, Campus Crusade for Christ and CRASH Japan.     

"The disasters last spring and the continuing economic upheaval here have people wondering what life is about more than ever before,” said Christian Zebley, former missionary to Japan and US spokesperson for Jesus Net Japan.

"The Japanese are a very private people and do not talk about religion easily. Many already use the Internet to answer questions or find information about topics considered too embarrassing to discuss in person." 

According to ABC News, two million people around the world "look for God each day” online, said Zebley. Searches are on topics about the supernatural or on the big questions about life and the future.

"We want to give people an opportunity to get answers and hope where they spend a lot of time – on the Internet – and connect them with other Japanese who have satisfied the longings of their hearts in Jesus,” he said. Japan's initial web site, Hope for Living introduces visitors to survivors of earlier quakes or other traumatic experiences. Their stories illustrate how they have been strengthened by faith in God, or how they got to know Jesus in the midst of their turmoil. The site also contains prayers and words of hope to encourage those who are afraid, tired, lonely or going through difficult times. Japan recently rolled out a second site to complement Hope for Living: Knowing God, which introduces inquiring users to the gospel. 

A future website, Why Jesus?, will be an interactive course that connects seekers with Japanese Christians online. These "e-coaches” will assist those who are seeking answers, over the period of a five-week online course, at the end of which they invite them to a gospel meeting and help connect them to a local church.  

As the one-year anniversary of the quake approaches, Japan is planning more ways to reach out to the Japanese people, including a special series of Hope for Living stories from the stricken region, filmed with the help of Samaritan's Purse. Japan is a part of, a worldwide movement of more than 40 national and international ministries who partner together to create a network of online websites and tools to assist and support online searchers in their spiritual search.

Their goal is to see online searchers become offline disciples. This involves partnering with local Christian organizations and churches. Its vision is to share, through interactive websites, the good news of Jesus Christ to internet users of the 35 most-used languages on the Internet. In the next 10 years, the goal is to expose 250 million people to the gospel and help 25 million people come to Jesus as a result of this effort.

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