I have not had a chance to talk with Eric since this morning, when they were heading out to begin clean-up work in the neighborhood of one of the churches in the worse-hit regions. I’m anxious to hear how they are doing but have not been able to get through tonight.
The good news is the realization that the team and others have been making that the Japan Self-Defense Forces have been doing a great job delivering supplies to the needy areas. Those who have worked with some of the other tragic disasters in recent years have found that the country’s military has not been prepared when the unexpected happens. But in Japan, the Forces have moved remarkably quickly and efficiently. There are pockets of people still in need, but the majority have received basic supplies. It is impressive. While private groups have helped to find those pockets, how thankful we are that many Japanese in need are at least finding their initial needs being met.
It is in the news today that babies in Tokyo (aged 0-3) should not drink the water because of nuclear contiminants. I think i was starting to think – hope? that things were getting better — this news, and that of the green vegetables being pulled from the shelves that are coming from three different prefectures is not comforting. We need to keep praying for this!
On a somewhat humorous note is the video that Japan has made to help explain the nuclear situation to children. Japanese talk about poo and pee a lot more freely than North Americans. My sister and I enjoyed this video (that I”m sure isn’t supposed to be really be humorous).
Tonight I received a surprising but delightful phone call from one of my favorite people, Doug Birdsall. He is the Executive Director now of the Lausanne Movement, and is the former president of Asian Access. Doug asked me to be part of a conference call this past hour to share our perspective on the tragedies and follow-up that have occurred over the past ten days. I had no idea that so many people were listening in from around the world, but it was a good time of sharing the needs and hurts of the people in this country that we love. One idea that we talked about was coming up with a list of the three hundred churches affected in the region that can be adopted by Christians from around the world to pray and help meet their specific needs. Wouldn’t this make a wonderful impact?
Phil Foxwell was also on the call (read a great article he wrote that was carried by Fox News). It was neat timing because he had just came out of a meeting that Eric was also attending up in Sendai with 30 or 40 pastors and 20 or so volunteers. I was glad to hear that my husband is fine, but also to hear of the great networking that is beginning to happen as the churches seek to create an infrastructure to reach across communities and assist one another and receive teams wanting to come in and do relief work.
Phil shared about a pastor at the meeting tonight, Minegishi Sensei, who had told a bit of his story. When the earthquake hit he knew that since they lived very near the coast that the chances of a tsunami was very high and so he gathered his family into the car. One of his family members wanted to run back inside and get some things out of a drawer to take with them just in case, but that dresser had fallen over upstairs during the earthquake so they left without bringing anything. They managed to safely get to higher ground, but their home, their church, and every home of all of their church members were completely destroyed in the tsunami. The pastor said that next to his wife and family, his books were what he loved most in the world, and they are all gone. But his faith was more fervent than ever at the meeting tonight as he shared his desire to quickly rebuild even a pre-fab church so that the community would know where they could come with their pain. Praying for pastors like this; for believers across the region to find support from the Body of Christ across the world that enables them to reach out in tangible ways to those in need in their community.