Four years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the physical buildings at the Asian Rural Institute in northern Japan have been rebuilt and learning programs are back in full swing. Living and working in a diverse community, the Asian Rural Institute offers experiential and classroom learning in organic farming and leadership development. Programs bring together male and female rural leaders from around the world, primarily the global South. All participants commit to returning to work in their communities. In 2013 more than 30 people came together at the institute for nine months, spending 2,061 curriculum hours learning together and countless hours living and farming in community. Participants grew vegetables and, more importantly, self-confidence and leadership skills. One participant said this about her learning at Asian Rural Institute: There is a river in front of us. The river is poverty, lack of education, laziness, and selfishness. NGOs come to help us. They carry us across the river. But they do not teach us how to cross on our own. So after they go back, we cannot cross the river again. But the Asian Rural Institute is different. What we learned here is how to cross the river. Supported by our gifts for Mission and Service, the Asian Rural Institute enables rural leaders to look at local resources in their own communities and use them to improve lives and move forward out of poverty. Thank you for joining me and giving generously for Mission and Service.
Mighty and tender God, through our gifts for Mission and Service we respond to your call to mend the world.