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.