Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Aftershock

The 9.2 earthquake is now a 3 week old memory, but reminders of it were very real this week. Several evenings I was awakened by aftershocks, then, last evening, when we were traveling back from Ishinomaki, there was a 7.2 “Aftershock”. The renewed tsunami warnings and the physical shaking, brings afresh feelings of fright and reality for the hundreds of thousands in the recovery process.

The 7.2 Aftershock also undid some of what had been advanced in the recovery efforts. In Tokyo this morning, we got calls from northern areas where utilities had been previously restored, that
they were now cut off again. Some lost water, some electricity, some gas, some lost all. We
heard that food in Mianmi- Suriku was also short. A truck was being deployed today with needed supplies, and additional ReachGlobal staff are flying in Saturday, then, heading north to the affected areas to serve there next week.
Wednesday, I joined up with our ReachGlobal family in Sendai, and we helped with a partner’s distribution effort in Ishinomaki. We had a team of 22 in total, lead by Japanese pastors, missionaries and lay people from our partner churches in the Tokyo region supported by pastor's and missionaries from Korea, S. Africa,
Greece, Britain, Hong Kong and the US. It was a real blessing to see this multi-cultural expression of the Body serving those in need. The team delivered supplies to about 100 families.

One of those participants was Mr. Y. He is an elderly man, who is a part of a fledgling Sendai church plant. He has been a believer for 6 months, and came away from yesterday’s experience of serving others filled with joy. He spoke with me at length afterwards, telling me of the devastation that hit in the village where he grew up.

He asked me to help his village, saying “I am old and can do so little”. But that led to a great discussion of the power of God working in us as believer’s, and I used the mustard seed parable to illustrate the great fruit that can come from such a small thing, as an elderly man with a vision to help his people. Of course, we assured him that if he was called and took the lead, we’d be there to support him. Mr. Y. was just beaming.

PRAY Pray for the continued improvement of people’s living conditions. The Japanese government is very expediently working to restore services build Displaced People’s camps, but the impacted areas are very extensive, with some very isolated, so there are many pockets where relief has been slow in coming.

Pray for workers for the harvest, especially young Japanese men and women. But also, we need non-native Japanese speakers critically, and others “who are willing” (Ex. 36: ) to offer their time and talents for 3 months to two years to step forward to serve in the impacted region.

Pray for the development of really strong, lasting, and missionally aligned partnerships. In the first hours after we landed in Japan, God connected us with a several great churches in the Tokyo region, that umped in right away in reaching out to those affected. Pray that we can solidify and more fully understand how we can serve them, and work together in making disciples and planting churches in the Tohoku Region.

Thank you to those that have generously given already, food, clothing, personal hygene kits, and fuel have been distributed. Pray for a continued outpouring of resources to support what we see will be several years of long term recovery and disciple-making efforts. Click to donate.

SERVE We are starting to make plans now for hosting teams to help in the recovery efforts. We have few details now, but expect that by early summer, all logistics will be in place to host teams, perhaps sooner. If you are interested in being one of the ‘pioneering teams’ (that is, can move forward without having all the “t’s crossed”) contact us immediately, (email put RE: Japan NOW) or just let us know if you have interest in sending a team in the future (put RE: Japan Summer or Japan Fall).

No comments: