Finding Hope on YouTube

Deborah St. Lawrence

When Rusty and Brenda Carney returned to ministry in Japan earlier this year, they settled in Tokyo. The mega-city’s ultramodern skyscrapers and historic temples hint at the struggle men and women face as they combine traditional Japanese cultural values and customs with modern behaviors. Depression and desperation lie under the surface of this bustling, prosperous society. Rusty returned to Japan with a heavy burden for those struggling with depression. On average, more Japanese people commit suicide each year than the number of people killed by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami—about 20,000 lives.

Rusty says, “The idea for a YouTube channel was born out of a note I saw on a dirty bathroom floor in Texas. The handwritten note read, ‘Man saved on a tractor­—YouTube.’ A couple of weeks later I looked it up and heard a man’s testimony of how he repented while riding his tractor and reading his Bible one day. I was encouraged listening to his testimony and thought, ‘Wow! All because of a little note I saw on a dirty bathroom floor!’ I felt the Lord nudge me, ‘Why don’t you create a YouTube channel of hope for the Japanese people?’ I thought, ‘That’s a great idea, Lord!’”

The Japanese are reserved and quiet. It is often hard to find a way to engage with them. Rusty continued, “When riding the trains, you can be shoulder-to-shoulder with people, but it is dead silent. It’s not really culturally appropriate to talk on the train. However, the one thing everyone IS doing is looking at their cell phones. I think utilizing YouTube would get the message of hope out to masses of Japanese people!”

Taking a cue from the note he found, Rusty has worked with Shelby Culwell to produce cards with QR codes and links to YouTube. The cards are slipped in small tissue packets, since people will more readily accept those than literature. People can view videos of Japanese Christians sharing their testimonies and the hope they have found in Christ. The YouTube channel launched October 30.

“Pray hopeless, suicidal people will grasp at the opportunity to find a reason to live. Pray they will listen to the testimonies and recognize they can find hope, meaning, and purpose in Jesus Christ,” Rusty pleads.

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