There are two related challenges that Japan still faces in this crisis. One is the shortage of reliable information. And the other is the list of continuing problems themselves. In many cases it’s hard to determine which is which.
Kurt has shared that people seem to be getting their lives back together. Wherever possible, people have moved out of the shelters, and are returning to their homes and jobs. They are resuming some sort of normalcy. But adjustment isn’t easy.
One thing they noticed is that children have started to express their emotional distress more and more, especially through acting out in inappropriate ways. Kurt and fellow missionaries are trying to open the lines of dialogue, which is a challenge within the typically reserved Japanese culture. They have discovered that offering massage therapy really helped them connect.
They were in the area for a short time, but through CRASH they are planning an extended contribution.
Kurt is exploring renewing his qualifications in the nuclear field. He hopes to be able to train people in radiological equipment, like Geiger counters and dosimeters, and he can probably get the training he needs within Japan. He is the only one on site with previous experience with nuclear energy, and is keeping himself and his team as safe as possible.
Scot, the CRASH Base Leader in the area, was working 15hr days at the time we spoke with him. His work consists of trying to keep up with the teams, processing the necessary documentation, liaising with CRASH leadership, establishing a long-range plan (which changes daily!), and making meaningful connection with authorities in the community who always want to speak to the “man in charge”.
Their plan is to build a warehouse facility in Nasu, which is effectively located half-way between Sendai and Tojoyo. However, their plans keep changing as the government changes regulations in the area, which is hindering their work.
Update: the warehouse is in progress. Here are some pictures of the ground-breaking from CRASH Japan:
One of the biggest needs is to establish and maintain contact with evacuees. The shelter where survivors have been housed has provided an important connection point. But as people move out of it and find places on their own, it’s easy to lose track of them and the lingering needs they have. Sustained contact is important, because one of the long-term dreams of this is that there would be at least one church planted in the affected area.
Currently CRASH is working cross-denominationally — a powerful testimony of the unity of the body! Kurt envisions the day where there could be a viable, supported and integrated Evangelical Free Church in this place, and due to the inclusive nature of the EFCCM, it would be an excellent follow-up to this joint effort.
But Wait, There’s More!
One of the groups that has responded with most generosity toward this disaster are our Chinese-Canadian churches. As their generosity is shared with the Japanese, it forces them to challenge their long-held assumptions of Chinese people. (If you know anything about the history between China and Japan, you will recognise how significant this is!) It is a further testimony to the harmony and grace that are found in Christ, and it is a thrill to be a part of it.