Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Missions Around The World (showcase): Japan and Italy

Our youth group from church is in Orlando this week doing mission work.  We'll end our week at Walt Disney World touring the World Showcase at Epcot and learning a bit of "missions & outreach" information about each country.  This is what we'll be learning:
·      History of country In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and an ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians hold actual decision-making power. Following three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan's economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains a major economic power. In March 2011, Japan's strongest-ever earthquake, and an accompanying tsunami, devastated the northeast part of Honshu island, killing thousands and damaging several nuclear power plants. The catastrophe hobbled the country's economy and its energy infrastructure, and tested its ability to deal with humanitarian disasters.
·      Population in 2009 127,156,000
·      Population age 0-14 in 2010, 13.2%
·      Life expectancy (females and males, years)  87.2/ 80.1
·      Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) 3.1
·      Unemployment 4.6%
·      Homelessness rates An estimated 25,296 people are homeless in Japan
An estimated 5,000 people are homeless in Tokyo
Source:, 2006
·      Population Below Poverty Line 16%
·      People living with HIV/ AIDS 8,100
·      Religion  Shintoism 83.9%, Buddhism 71.4%, Christianity 2%, other 7.8% note:total adherents exceeds 100% because many people belong to both Shintoism and Buddhism (2005)
·      UM Missionaries
·       The Reverend D. Timothy Boyle is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church assigned to teach at Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan.
·       Yuko (Juji) Boyle is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church currently serving as a counselor at the Shin'ai (True Love) Home in Kobe, Japan.
·       Jonathan Daniel McCurley is an international missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries, commissioned in October 2009 and assigned to the Asian Rural Institute in northern Japan.
·       Umipig-Julian, Devorah - Social worker for the Christian Coalition for Refugees and Migrant Workers (CCRMW)in Tokyo, Japan.
·       Valino, Angelita - In ministry to international seafarers through the Council on Cooperative Mission, Kanagawa District, Japan.
·       Valino, Lamberto - In ministry to international seafarers through the Council on Cooperative Mission, Kanagawa District, Japan.

·      History of country Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the regional states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy's defeat in World War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy in 1946 and economic revival followed. Italy was a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration, organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Italy compared with the prosperous north.
·      Population in 2011 61,261,254
·      Population age 0-14 in 2010 14.2%
·      Life expectancy (females and males, years)  84.6/78.6
·      Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) 3.8
·      Unemployment in 2009 7.8%
·      Homelessness rates An estimated 7,000 people are homeless in Rome
Italy has no official, legal definition of homelessness

An estimated 17,000 people are homeless in Italy
·      Population Below Poverty Line 12%
·      People living with HIV/ AIDS 140,000
·      Religion Christian 80% (overwhelming Roman Catholic with very small groups of Jehovah Witnesses and Protestants), Muslims NEGL (about 700,000 but growing), Atheists and Agnostics 20%
·      UM Missionaries
o      The Rev. Dr. Rodney L. Aist is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church assigned to work with the Methodist/Waldensian community in Milan, Italy and vicinity.


  1. Hi, Beth!  Our church youth group just did a mission trip to Northern Alabama the last week of June and we live here in Central Florida - I just found that kind of interesting!  How fun that your group got to end it on such a great, educational but fun trip to EPCOT!


  2. That is interesting!  Where did you work in N Alabama?  What a small world! :)