International Ministries

Japan Earthquake Recovery

October 31, 2011 Journal
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 We in Japan are now 234 days since the 3/11 earthquake. There are no planned blackouts due to power shortages.  Most emergency shelters have closed, some survivors have gone to temporary houses provided by the government. Volunteers, a large number of whom are Christian, continue to help in the affected areas.

 Pastor Yamada, from Shiogama Church, gave Pastor Stan Murray and me a one-day tour last month. Pastor Stan Murray, IM Area Director for SE Asia and Japan, was in Japan to participate in a round table discussion among Baptists in Asia to coordinate aid for disaster recovery. This was Pastor Murray's first trip to see the area.

This was my third trip up to the disaster area. As we were driving, I noticed some of the areas are now clean of debris from the tsunami. There is still much to be done. The clean-up is going much slower in other areas.

Because the trip was so short, we were only able to visit two churches. The Matsushima Church was having an area Bible study meeting for women. Pastor Kakuno greeted us and talked with us briefly. We stopped at Shokei Church where we visited with Pastor Tadokoro. They are busy planning the rebuilding of their church which was condemned due to damage from the earthquake.

We visited a temporary housing location about 20 minutes from Shiogama Church. One of the residents allowed us to visit her home. There were 2 rooms plus the kitchen area with an outdoor genkan (porch for shoes). It was very compact, but she had made her home very cheery. Afterward, Pastor Yamada visited with one of her neighbors. This neighbor was very talkative and had 2 friendly dogs.

The tourists are coming again. Pastor Yamada invited everyone to come and visit, and buy products from their area! He thinks it is safe to visit since the radiation level in their area is about the same as Yokohama. He asked for prayer in anticipation of winter coming. Many people need warm things for the cold weather and, more importantly, they need warm comfort from God in their hearts. "Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted by God." (Matt. 5:4)

The Japan Baptist Churches continue to need our support in this time of recovery. The pastors are under a great deal of stress. The Tohoku region has historically been the most resistant to the gospel. There are few churches and even fewer pastors. However, God is using the disaster for good. It has caused a great outpouring of Christian care in the form of volunteers, supplies and prayer. The people are beginning to open up under this shower of God's love. Please pray for God's Spirit to sweep through the area to give life and hope to these people. Please consider a donation to: Japan Relief

Thanks again for your prayers and support.

May the Lord continue to richly bless you!

Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang