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I had never been to Hiroshima—a place with a history of pain and suffering. But in August, my daughter Jolie and I visited the Holy Grace Rehabilitation Center in Hiroshima Prefecture to help minister to people with disabilities.

Nestled on a hillside in Hiroshima Prefecture overlooking the Seto Inland Sea, the center provides counseling, housing, day care, and job training to about 120 people with a variety of disabilities.

Jolie and I joined a work group of Christian Reformed missionaries and members of the Reformed Church in Japan. Our group spent time interacting with the residents, clients, and staff as we also labored to clean up the grounds.

Started in 1960 by Rev. Ihara, a minister of the Reformed Church in Japan who himself suffered from muscular dystrophy, the land and part of the building cost was originally contributed by the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The center was built and supported by members of the Reformed Church in Japan.

Following the lead of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Japanese lawmakers are gradually providing more support for the operation of the facilities, but the churches still provide the philosophical and spiritual foundation.

In 2004 Christian Reformed World Missions provided a $20,000 grant towards the $10 million construction cost of a new five-story facility for the Holy Grace Rehabilitation Center.

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