Trauma Counseling Offered in Japan

Alliance international worker Alan Kropp listened to a 70-year-old woman share her story of surviving the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Ishinomaki, Japan. “For some reason, I feel safe with you,” the woman said. She lives in a temporary housing unit adjacent to the neighborhood where Alan lives with his wife, Jill. The Kropps are team leaders for the Alliance ministry in Ishinomaki, one of the hardest-hit areas of the catastrophe.

The Kropps’ neighbor was pulled out to sea by the tsunami that devastated large portions of the city and killed thousands. The waves battered the woman but then swept her up an embankment. Memories of the traumatic event continue to haunt her, even after more than three years.

The New Life Center (NLC) in Ishinomaki, Japan

“According to literature on people who have suffered severe trauma, it is not uncommon [to have] serious problems three to five years after the experience,” Alan observed. “This appears to be a classic example of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

In a conversation with Alan the next day, a man in his 60s bemoaned the break-up of his band. He then recounted his battle with a rare disease. “By the way,” asked Alan, “what happened to your band?”

Three of the five members were washed away in the tsunami, the man answered.

These kinds of conversations are typical as the Kropps build relationships with people in Ishinomaki through the New Life Center (NLC), an outreach to those affected by the disaster.

“One of the first questions we are often asked is, ‘Where were you when the tsunami hit?’” Alan noted. “People assume that we, like thousands living around us, have a unique story that needs to be heard.”

With so many in the city living with painful memories of suffering and loss, the NLC will launch the “My 3/11 Project,” a trauma-healing ministry, on November 24. Survivors will share their stories during interviews, and recordings will be given to the individuals to keep. Follow-up visits will be part of the process. Also, the Kropps and their colleagues will offer to pray with those in the program and make Christian counseling available to them.

Unseen Listener

“We anticipate the [Holy Spirit] being the unseen listener at these recording sessions and visits,” Jill said. “We know He desires to comfort, heal, and give new life in Christ to many in our city as they share their pain with Him.”

On the launch date, the Ishinomaki team also will host a “heart care” workshop in two locations to provide counseling to survivors of the disaster. A flyer for the event will be included in 12,000 newspapers. “Through the workshop, we hope to form connections with hurting people and equip them with practical steps in dealing with anxiety from a biblical perspective,” Jill said.

The presenters will be two professional Christian counselors, one Japanese and one a third-culture kid who was raised in Japan. After the workshop, the Japanese counselor will work with the NLC team on a monthly basis. “We are coordinating the launch of the My 3/11 project with the anxiety workshop to promote ongoing relationship with participants,” said Jill.

“We expect resistance from the enemy as we embark on this rescue mission. Please pray that we will have the strength to share in others’ pain through empathetic listening,” Jill asked. “Pray that people will experience the peace of Christ’s presence and feel safe in sharing their stories with us. Pray for opportunities to share His love, healing power, and salvation through the My 3/11 Project.”

—adapted from an update by Jill and Alan Kropp


  • Join the Alliance family in praying for our international workers in Japan and worldwide, who are providing access to the gospel in some of the most spiritually dark places on earth. Use the weekly Alliance Prayer Requests to assist you.

Learn More

Read about the unprecedented openness among the people of Ishinomaki.

Give Today

Your gift to The Great Commission Fund enables international workers to minister to the thousands of physically and spiritually hungry people all over the world.

Give by Mail

Make check payable to the C&MA and mail to:
The Christian and Missionary Alliance
Office of Donor Accounting
8595 Explorer Drive
Colorado Springs, CO
Memo: Great Commission Fund

Give by Phone

Use your credit card and call toll-free (866) 443-8262 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (MST) to make your donation.


Get Involved...


We cannot “Live the Call Together” unless prayer is central to all we do.
Pray with us »


Is God calling you to service? We’re here to help you connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Serve with The Alliance »


Help build Christ’s Church by supporting the ministry and workers of The Alliance.
Give today »