The earthquake was big! Japanese news reporters say an earthquake like this occurs once every thousand years. They reported a village of 17,000 people is missing 10,000! (unconfirmed) The island of Honshu is reported to have moved 8 feet! Maps have to be redrawn. Fires and a big explosion at an oil refinery near Tokyo have covered Tokyo with haze this morning. Overheating at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant 1 brought about an explosion that released radioactive particles into the air. Other power plants were shut down. We have periodic announcements in our building to conserve energy, as the whole city is running through reserve power. Millions of homes in northeastern Japan are without power in bitterly cold temperatures.
Our missionary team is sending out scouts after worship today to bring supplies collected at worship and see how best we can help the people in the hard hit areas. We are looking for churches in that area to partner with, so that they can distribute as needed. This is especially crucial since relationships are so important in Japanese culture. This will also help in long-term assistance as it will be many years before people are able to rebuild their lives in the area. It is times like this that I am glad to be part of a team that has been living here and building relationships here for almost 25 years.
From our 28th floor balcony, we saw many tile roofs of old homes that have completely fallen apart and realized the danger of rain damage. We met with our good friend Miho Watanabe, mother of a son in Aidan's class, and asked how Grace City Church could help. She and Abi met with the community leader, who knew about some of the houses but not all of them. He then passed on the information to other community leaders. (In America we could just go to each owner's house, but not so in Japan!) We have offered free tarps and people to fix roofs.
Things to pray for:
-Safety from aftershocks, which have been quite large (felt 3 more while writing this!)
-At least 1,600 people are dead or missing (rising every hour). Pray for those who are trapped or injured, as well as those who are missing friends and family.
-That weather would carry radiation out to sea rather than over populated areas and that the amount of radiation in the air would not increase
-Limited railway use has resumed. Pray for the many who are still stranded from loved ones.
-Pray for the tens of thousands who are evacuated from their homes and are staying in shelters
-Pray for the Christians of Japan, that we would be able to mobilize relief efforts and provide for people's needs, both physical and spiritual
Team has already spent $1,000 renting a large truck and buying supplies. Will drive them to the hard hit areas Sunday night. This is just the beginning of an expensive project which will last many months. If you would like to give, our mission sending agency Mission to the World has set up a special account to respond to this crisis. You may give online here (Account 93993 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami) or send a check to: Mission to the World, P.O. Box 116284, Atlanta, GA 30368-6284. Be sure to write the account number on the check.
Thank you for your prayers!