Friday, March 25, 2011

Japan - Day 13 Where do i start...

Thursday was surreal. (please read to end)We spent the day in a number of cities/towns along the coast near Sendai that had been hit with the tsunami. Ishinomaki has a seawall 30' above sea level protecting it from tsunami, except this wave was about 40 feet high. It smashed homes near the seawall, and then flooded the rest of the city. Where we were working, the neighborhood had 10,000 people living in it. Every person's home was flooded, and several hundred were killed.
We met one lady on the street, who we conversed with through our interpreter. She said she was in the 4 story school when the tsunmai hit. As she watched out the window, she saw her neighbor driving down the street trying to outrun the wave, and saw the car swalloed by the torrent.
Many people are back living in the undamaged second floor of their homes, with no heat or water (it's still like winter there). As the team was distributing supplies to families who were still living in the community, Carl (RG Asia Lead Team) and I went wandering /praying. We found a lady who was trying to clean a few things in front of her house, and I realized her and her husband we trying to clean out. We had been told that Japanese we're closed and would not let foreigners in their homes, even flooded. But following the Holy Spirit I asked in my best sign language (my poor french and worse spanish were no help) if we could help them. We entered the house and started picking up heavy things, and they got the idea. We spent almost 2 hours with them emptying out the contents of the house. an impossible job for the two of them, but doable with the extra hands. It was a joy to see their energy increase as we worked side by side. In the process of cleaning we, were able to help them save dozens of hand made wooden dolls that were family treasures.
Before we were done, they offered us a drink, and water (very hard to get in town) to wash our hands. We were blessed by their giving as we served them. We were able to get their contact information and then they allowed us to pray a prayer of blessing over them.
We ended the day visiting the school, now a shelter for hundreds of families. They are living communally with 12-24 people to a class room. They have no heat, water or electric. We saw men drawing water from the adjacent swimming pool for cleaning.
Carl and I connected with a house church planter that was organizing a distribution center. (us assessing - pic below). And of course we wonder about the kids.

But most incledible, we found another area later in the day that was hit with a 60' wave. We found debris up on a cliff next to the only 2 habitable homes, all the rest lower in elevation were swamped or totally gone.
Today, we:
- were able to make connections to get 200,000 meals moving to the Sendai region through our partners.
- purchased and loaded a truck with several thousand pieces of new underware....a luxury item now for the people in the shelter and othr areas of Ishinomaki. They have no money, no cars, no fuel, no way to buy replacements.
- Invested hours in partnership devleopment and equipping our partner and a local church on how to do intentional, sustainable, disciple-making ministry leading to church planting in the wake of crisis.
- Purchased a generator and communications equipment for our new base in the Sendai region.
- For cold and hungry people now forgotten...since all the coverage focused on the nuclear sitaution.
- For the Church to represent the King well, and for the Lord to build His Church from the Harvest.
- For God to raise up staff (especially Japanese speakers).
- For God to mobilize resources to sustian along term response.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Japan - Day 10

We faced the reality of the tsunami today, seeing hundreds of miles of devastated coast line today. Our day started after only a few hours of sleep, with a 7 hour drive to Sendai. We accompanied a truck loaded with supplies from a Japanese partner church in the Tokyo region. We passed through numerous check points on the expressway and made frequent stops at rest areas in search of fuel, then waiting in lines as when we found it. We knew we reached Sendai when we saw a massive expanse of debris covering miles of terrain.

Our team unloaded the truck at a local church near the coast in Shiogama. We were able to provide much needed fuel, food and other relief supplies. We sorted and organized the goods, and made plans to go with the local church today to displaced people's centers to get the supplies into the hands of the impacted people.

The church has mobilized many in their congregation and a few other local churches to help. We spent time with the associate pastor talking about the mission field opportunties in the wake of crisis and ideas for turning his relief efforts into longer term outreach. Having been so overwhelmed in the relief efforts, he was grateful for the discussion on longer term ministry impacts.

God continued to open doors for us as the day progressed. We made contact with another team of house church planters from Osaka, who have been serving in the community for a week. We were able to use the ReachGlobal church plant building in Sendai to provide housing for the team (and for us!).

The day ended late, as we shared a meal together with the group of Japanese church leaders and a Korean missionary. We spent several hours debriefing. One shared his visit earlier in the week with a pastor from Fukushima, in the shadow of the nuclear plant. The pastor had a church of 200, of which 40 died. the other 160 are displaced and he has been struggling to find them all. He has found about 40 so far. They had a service on Sunday, and prayed for the future, not knowing if they will ever be able to return to their homes.
We also discussed dreams and long term ministry opportunities. Another pastor shared his dream that many would come to faith. He shared about the deep rooted idolotry, with there being over 8 million God's. We prayed to close the evening that millions of the unreached people in is this region would come to know the One, the Living God.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Japan - Day 9

We started the day with prayer for the Lord's leading, and especially in providing the means (vehicle, fuel, and driver) and the government permissions for us to go into impacted area. No surprise, He answered that prayer and then some.
We are leaving very very early in the morning to drive to Sendai, stay overnight, then return back by way of Iwake and coastal towns south of Fukushima. We will be carrying in a truck load of supplies, and will meet with local pastors in the region.

We also found a local Japanese church in the Tokyo region, whose leaders met the day after the earthquake, and we're compelled to mobilize to respond to those in need. They have a Kingdom minded approcah to helping churches in the impacted recover and also to see the Kingdom expanded through the planting churches in the region. Shortly after we arrived, a truck showed up with a load of supplies, (pictured) including 1000's of liters of fuel, which will allow for our trip tomorrow morning. The truck that made the delivery was just purchased and the dealer, a non-Christian, when he heard what it was going to used for, said he'd deliver it full of relief supplies. Praise God.

This church is also using their response to connect with lost neighbors. They have dozens of people who have never come to the church, now showing up to play some part in the 'quake response. We were able to spend several hours with some of their leaders

Additionally, tomorrow we'll be making final arrangments to network a load of hygene kits from partners in Hong Kong to get delivered through this local chruch for distribution later in the week in the impacted region.

We had a big aftershock today. There have been 52 aftershocks that have been greater than 6.0.

Pray for safety as we travel, divine leading by God to the place and people He desires us to see and meet, and for hearts to be touched with the tangible expression of God's love that the truckload of supplies represents. I learned today that the Japanese represents the SECOND LARGEST unreached people group in the world. Pray for the mission field that follows crisis. ml

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Japan Update

- The first member of our assessment team arrived Friday and has been networking with response partners. The rest of our team is in the process of travel to Tokyo today.
- We have been in coordinating the delivery of an initial container of relief supplies via partners in Asia.
- We have evacuated our ReachGlobal church planting team from Sendai until the nuclear plant situation is under control.
- We are carrying in cash to put in the hands of our partners to effect immediate relief for those impacted by the earthquake.
Amidst the transiton of focus of attention by the media to other world events, pray for the need of the victims of this disaster to not be forgotten. ml

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan - Day 3 Crisis Ongoing

This is not day 3 after the event, this is the 3rd day of a still unfloding event. This video speaks to the power of the water, but what are those on lookers thinking? What was their day like today?

The reports from the day via communications from our contacts:

- Another nuclear plant explosion. From one contact..."Because of the explosion of the nuclear plants, all the members (of a local church 5km from Fukushima) were forced to evacuate without taking anything with them and they are now accommodated in a schools, lacking food and heat. They are not allowed to go back to the town. Town is now like a ghost town. Pray the Radiation leak will be stopped".

- Basic Supplies. From a RG staffer in the impacted region... "we just got our electricity back today, but we are still without natural gas, and water. Other smaller areas are probably still without electricity and therefore phone or cell phones may not be working. So the basic necessities still needed are water, food, and heat or blankets since it still gets down to freezing. We also need to wait in line for drinking water although not everyday and hopefully the water and gas will come back soon".

- In Tokyo - From our Rg staff there...With all that’s going on, we’re starting to see some signs of “panic” on the part of people in Tokyo as the reports of possible electrical outages, disruption of water/gas supplies, gasoline shortages, and food shortages circulate. Most of the gas stations I passed by on my bus ride home from church today were “sold out” of gas and the two stations that did have gas had lines that spilled out into the street creating traffic headaches.

In the US and Asia - I have been on skype and emailing late every evening (due to 13 hr US/Japan time difference) with ReachGlobal Asia leaders and RG staff in Japan in making arrangements for our assessment team hitting the ground starting later this week and into next week. Pray for God's leading us.

Prayer Update:

-Direct communication has been restored with our RG church planting team in Sendai.


One , and reports from the impacted area continued aftershocks still sending tsumami

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake in Japan

Situation ReportMarch 11, 2011 — A major earthquake struck northern Japan (including Tokyo) with a magnitude of 8.9 on the Richter scale. A significant tsunami was generated as a result, causing further damage along the coast.

March 12 - Reports from our RG staff in Japan today said that significant aftershocks continued throughout the day. In the Sendai area, aftershocks were strong enough to cause more minor tsunami waves. Direct communication with our RG team in Sendai has not as yet been established. We have relationship with two EFC’s and a church plant in Sendai, one of the hardest hit regions, but are waiting for direct contact. One of the EFC pastors in the region has not as yet been heard from.

Initial Response
TouchGlobal Crisis Response is assessing the situation, with our Team focusing on:
1. Establishing reliable communications with our ReachGlobal staff on the ground;

2. Responding to of offers of assistance, and communicating the urgent need for immediate and long term giving to support the response. Give at A bulletin insert is available at .

3. Planning an assessment trip to Japan for the week of March 20, to allow time for the situation in most affected areas to stabilize.

4. Identifying potential partner ministries in Japan.

5. Coordinating with other international faith based crisis response and NGO’s.

•Give thanks. The church members communicating with ReachGlobal staff in Japan seem to be safe and sound.
•Ask God for mercy upon the people of Japan, especially where tsunami waters have done great damage.
•Ask the Father to allow contact with one EFC pastor and his wife not yet reached.
•Ask God to give us, as His church, wisdom and sensitivity to know how to move quickly to give aid and comfort.

Please go to for additional information. Email or call 985-893-0218 with questions or offers of assistance.