At this juncture, you may be wondering who the group is that we’ve partnered with in Japan. The following is from Dale and Ann’s site:

“Many tragic facts about the quake and its tsunamis have become common knowledge on the major news networks around the world. What is less known is the behind the scenes work of one significant relief network in Japan known as CRASH: Crisis, Relief, Assistance, Supplies, Hope. This network is led by evangelical missionaries already present in Japan, and many of its volunteers are also missionaries. CRASH is an endorsed ministry of JEMA: Japan Evangelical Missionary Association. (Dale is the President of JEMA.) JEMA provides CRASH with a pool of over 1000 missionaries who, if available and physically fit, are eager to assist. So CRASH personnel know the language and the culture of Japan. CRASH is not a professional rescue organization. It is a voluntary network of missionaries and believers who focus on relief and rebuilding, the two steps that follow professional rescue efforts.

“CRASH works closely with national churches and national church associations. However, because the tsunamis hit one of the most unchurched parts of Japan, there are few local churches to work with in the devastated areas.

“Many of the large (and excellent) Christian relief organizations state that they are in the process of assessing the situation on the ground in Japan. It is CRASH from which they are getting much of their information. CRASH is providing guidance to many Christian relief organizations about to begin work in Japan.”

If you would like more information, it is available from Dale and Ann’s blog.

We are so grateful to this team of dedicated individuals! Several of our missionaries have already been working closely with CRASH, and they will continue to invest their effort and time in the recovery effort.

We are also grateful for the generous response that has come in from our EFCCM community! We have been inundated with donations to help with relief and assistance in Japan. We will have reports soon about how the funds we’ve received are being deployed.

I have also read an account of the nuclear reactor situation that states that it is much more stable, and the conditions are not nearly as troubling as they could have been (and which some news sources were claiming). They are serious, and there will certainly be long-term implications, but it sounds like the situation is coming under control.

Would you like to contribute?

If you would like to donate to relief efforts in Japan, you can do so through our donation page by choosing ‘Project’ and specifying account 2-4615.

As soon as he arrived in Sendai, Kurt connected with Pastor Jeremy and his wife Kumi who are faithful servants to their congregation there.

Together, their goal is to be a blessing, and as their car is one of the only that has fuel, they are better off than most. Kurt told us: “Gas is worth more than gold right now.” He assured me that that’s a figure of speech; there is neither price-gouging nor hoarding in effect. There simply isn’t fuel available. Line-ups for gasoline are up 2km long, and the wait can be upwards of 11 hours. Their plan is to use their precious fuel to pick up supplies from CRASH’s storehouse, and deliver them to churches who will distribute it to people and families.

The non-profit that Kumi works for provides counselling and support for young single expecting mothers. In this crisis though, the organisation has temporarily changed focus. They have been broadcasting messages of hope across Japan through 12 radio stations. Their messages affirm life, and encourage people toward confidence and hope.

“We are not going to be crushed by this earthquake. We are going to rebuild better than it was before.”

Japanese people are typically reluctant to join a religion, especially Christianity. Kumi said that they are using these broadcasts to make it as clear as they can that they are talking about God, but if they take it too far, then people shun the message altogether. It’s a tightrope walk. But practically speaking, this is a chance for the church to rise up and intervene in the country’s great physical need

It was quite the set of experiences that put Kurt in touch with Jeremy and Kumi. Looking back over how all that was orchestrated, it is clear to Kurt that it was God’s hand at work. Kurt has been asking God what to do in this, and if he’s doing the right thing. He strongly felt the impression from God tell him “I connected you with the people you needed be with. What bigger sign do you need?”

When asked about the current conditions in Sendai, Kurt responded that things look surprisingly normal where he is right now. But six miles away, there is total devastation. Vehicles washed into buildings. Entire sections of the once-vibrant city wiped out. In fact, it’s hard to tell that this was ever inhabitable. In the surviving portion of the city, people are trying to go back to their regular lives, but everyone is on edge. And it’s no wonder.

Officially there have been over 700 aftershocks since the quake. (In fact, while I was on the phone with Kurt, there were two more!) I asked this something people can get used to, or if it’s just unsettling every time. Kurt responded, “Well, it’s kind of like living next to a railyard. But the difference is that a railyard can’t destroy your house.”

Kurt is spending this time surveying the needs that people have, and working on a plan to accommodate them. He’s looking for specific ways that the EFCCM can get involved.

Pastor Jeremy told me “God has prepared us for this time, and we have a lot of expectancy and hope for the future. This is a real roller-coaster ride to watch so much of what’s familiar faced with complete devastation.” When I told him that I just couldn’t imagine what they’re going through, he said “I don’t know what we’re going through, exactly.” Not surprisingly, the whole experience has been entirely disorienting.

He informed me that there is a team headed their way next week, and they’re excited about that. This is truly an international effort. The EFCCM has already a substantial amount of money for Japan, and we want to bless the wounded Japanese people as richly as we can.

Would you like to contribute?

If you would like to donate to relief efforts in Japan, you can do so through our donation page by choosing ‘Project’ and specifying account 2-4615.


This just in: We now have some firsthand pictures of the devastation in Sendai, Japan. Kurt (an EFCCM missionary) is currently in Sendai, investigating opportunities for involvement for North American churches and individuals. The church in Japan is rising to assist people — churches form the distribution network through which CRASH (our partner organisation) is working. We will have specific ways that you can assist our relief efforts in Japan very soon.

But for now, these photos will help you get a sense of the enormity of the loss.

Some people had three minutes between the earthquake and the tsunami. That’s simply not enough time to outrun a 10m (30ft) wall of water. Others had up to 30 minutes. They were more likely to escape, but many lost their homes, their neighbourhoods and their livelihoods. The first step for some of these survivors is to provide for their immediate needs, like drinking water and food. This in itself is a challenge because the crippling fuel shortage is limiting transportation to the city.

Pray for this situation. Pray that God would give leaders clear heads in this time of heightened stress. Pray that he would provide endurance for those who are so involved in this good work. And pray for his intervention so that this catastrophe would not get worse.

Would you like to contribute?

If you would like to donate to relief efforts in Japan, you can do so through our donation page by choosing ‘Project’ and specifying account 2-4615.

We received this report from Erin, serving with us in Nagoya, Japan.

“After the reports from the U.S. Embassy ordered evacuations within a 50 mile (80km) radius of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, many people have asked me the question: “Are you staying?”. I felt that an email is in order to explain my reasons to stay for many worried family members and friends.

“First off, and most importantly, being in Japan as a missionary and an English teacher is not a job, but a calling. God opened the doors in miraculous ways to get me to Japan. My being here right now is a direct result or prayer, and most importantly answered prayer. I came to Japan as an English teacher and as a missionary. I stay because I am a missionary. I am staying because I feel that is it God’s will that I remain here to help those in need. Within the first week of arriving in Japan I felt that God warned me that there would be trials and tribulations ahead. He warned that I would need to rely on His strength and wisdom and not on my own. Well, family and friends, now is that time of trial and I surrender wholly to His will. Now is the time for me to be a light for God’s kingdom.

“To ease some of your worries about my decision to stay let me assure you that the evacuation zone by the U.S. Embassy is only mandatory within the 50 mile radius surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. All other evacuations are voluntary evacuations of U.S. dependants. My decision to stay in Japan also will also enable Kurt [another EFCCM missionary — ed.] to bring supplies to the tsunami ravaged north side of Honshu (the main island in Japan). Tomorrow, Kurt will travel to Tokyo with supplies to help with the Love On Japan organization (A.K.A. CRASH).

“This past week the local churches have been collecting donations and supplies to send up to the very badly damaged north-eastern part of Honshu. Love On Japan (CRASH) is a Christian relief organization that equips local Christians and churches to aid their communities. Therefore, I will remain in Nagoya and teach both myself and Kurt’s classes to enable him go north and bring emergency aid to people in desperate need. Please keep Kurt in your prayers for safe travels and for protection against radiation. Please also keep Akane and I in your prayers for strength to take on more classes to cover for Kurt.

“For those concerned about the radiation from the nuclear plant in Fukushima please remember that I am 312 miles (500km) away from the plant. Nagoya is also protected by mountains on three sides, and the ocean on the fourth. Even in the worst case scenario (please pray it does not happen) and the plant turns into a nuclear bomb the winds always blow north or west and therefore Nagoya is not in the fallout path. They are trying to connect external power to re-engage the power plant’s cooling system. Please pray that they are successful.

In Christ,

Erin

“PS I would also like to give a shout out to Ms. Yeazell my geology teacher from Cedar Park Christian High School. Without your class Ms. Yeazell, I would have no clue what was happening with the tectonic plates. I am so happy that Nagoya is not directly on a fault line!”

Would you like to contribute?

If you would like to donate to relief efforts in Japan, you can do so through our donation page by choosing ‘Project’ and specifying account 2-4615.

This update comes from Laura who serves with the EFCCM in Japan. She lives in an area that wasn’t directly affected by the earthquake and tsunami nearly as much as other places in Japan, but there are other repercussions that Tokyo is suffering. This is in her own words:

“I just wanted to let everyone know how I am doing. I taught an English class yesterday during the blackout. Ai Mori had taken a Bible home last Thursday before the quake and started reading it, but does not understand. She wanted to know how we can believe in God when awful things are happening. I asked her how many people searched for God when everything was good? We talked about how the word salvation has taken on a whole new meaning in Japan right now.

“Today English classes are cancelled. I found Costco open with supplies on the shelves and brought supplies down to Tokyo for a volunteer team that is coming. I only waited in line 40 minutes for gas and God was good because I was able to get it before the pumps closed for the blackout. I am going to the CRASH Japan offices to volunteer. They are a group that is coordinating missions and team efforts to help those up north with food and blankets and other necessities. Please go to their home page and donate if you can. Pray that God gets them more permits to take teams into various towns up north.

“With daily blackouts, the gas pumps, banks, and stores cannot open regular hours. Everything down to the trains is electric so some people have been stranded in Tokyo as the trains were stopped at rush hour. Everything looks like fine, but nothing is working according to schedule. People are also stressed out about the nuclear situation and missing family. Please pray for patience and love to encourage one another during these hard times. It is only by the power of the spirit that we can find any peace now — ‘Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusts in thee’. Isaiah 26:3”

Would you like to contribute?

If you would like to donate to relief efforts in Japan, you can do so through our donation page by choosing ‘Project’ and specifying account 2-4615.