Robert & Roberta Adair



Stories from Robert & Roberta Adair

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In Japan, Fukushima Prefecture is arguably the region most impacted by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. In addition to the earthquake damage up and down its seacoast, three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant experienced meltdown when tsunami waters disabled their cooling systems.

During the days immediately following, radioactive materials were released into the atmosphere and carried across the region. While the physical recovery and Christian response has been in encouraging in Miyagi, Iwate, and other prefectures to the north, the Fukushima area has struggled to gain momentum.

Listening & Praying in Fukushima

prayer drive 3 webIn late November 2021, I had the privilege of spending three days with nine people from four organizations traveling around Fukushima praying, listening to the stories of local pastors, and trying to understand the local situation. As we drove from church to church, I am ashamed to say my reaction was somewhat negative. We met amazing men and women who are serving Jesus amid the anxiety and unknowns related to the nuclear disaster. As I heard their stories, I was still scared, skeptical, and unsure if now was the time. How can we send missionaries into this environment? How do we respond to the needs of the various churches and not force our own agenda?

I believe we should respond in Fukushima, yet I questioned whether it’s currently possible.

But then...

On the last morning of the prayer drive, we visited Taibou Church in Aizuwakamatsu City. It was fairly early, and I was distracted thinking about the rest of the day's schedule. My eyes bulged, however, as I heard Pastor Fujii share the church's history.

prayer drive 1 webTaibou Church was planted in 1941 by a team of Japanese Christians. This was during World War II when Shinto was the state religion, and the emperor was viewed as divine. It's difficult to imagine a more challenging environment for church planting in Japan since the mid-1800s. While the war was turning in the Allies' favor and people were fleeing the fire bombings and destruction throughout the country, remarkably, a church was planted. Hearing Pastor Fujii recount the history of his church, I was once again convicted of how quick I am to view things through the lens of what I think is realistic instead of discerning what God is already doing. 

I am reminded of Matthew 16:18, where Jesus said,

"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

Joining, Not Judging

It is not my role to judge a situation as too difficult for Christ to build his church. My role is to join him in what he is already doing. I pray that Jesus will continue to build his Church in Japan and that we will be faithful in our role in his process. Just as Taibou Church was planted during the chaos of World War II, I hope many churches will be planted in Fukushima following the chaos of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Robert Adair

Robert AdairRobert Adair serves in Miyagi Prefecture through a partnership with Shiogama Bible Baptist Church and as the Missionary Director for Asian Access in Japan. Robert & Roberta have four energetic boys and enjoy spending time in the mountains.


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