Roundtable Summit attendees
The physical rebuilding
On September 30th, 28 Baptist leaders from all over Asia met in Tokyo to discuss and pray about the recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant disasters. With God’s help, they wanted to work out a plan for meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those affected.
Here is an excerpt of the opening devotion given by Chu Wood Ping (Asian Pacific Baptist Federation President):
“First question people ask after a disaster? Where is God? We are told that God is Love; how come so many tragedies happen? Why Me? Why the USA 9.11.2001, why Japan 3.11.2010? Why is there suffering? Sometimes there is suffering due to human sin. If you drink and drive and have an accident, you don't ask why did God allow that accident. Sometimes suffering is due to the power of nature? The past 3 days we traveled through Tohoku region. Boats were washed far into shore. There were sea walls built up to protect the city against tsunamis, but the tsunami overflowed them. The Fukushima nuclear power plant; we were told it was safe, but nature proved it was not.
Is it from evil? Is it from God?
- Accept suffering is existing, Peter 4:12. Suffering exists. When bad things happen, we always hope it is just a dream, that we will wake up and not be our reality.
- 1 Cor. 4:
I don't know what is suffering for you; many people have different experiences in their lives. But when they trust God, they will experience God's comfort. And God gives us the ability to comfort others. Why do we face suffering, so that we experience God's comfort, so we can then comfort others.
Today we have come together to work together to help address the needs in Japan.”
At this meeting, the leaders discussed the disaster, what was done immediately after, and what is taking place now.
Here is the report from Pastor Makoto Tanno, president of the Japan Baptist Union (Sister group to American Baptists)
“Thank you very much for the gifts from around the world and your support. Currently the total is 70 million Yen. Currently 72% of the funds are from overseas. 1/4 of relief funds have come from within Japan, including Okinawa Baptist Convention.
- Approximately 1/2 of these funds are going toward repairing and rebuilding churches
We have received a lot of funds. The funds go directly to the work. Administrative fees are only 1%. Everyone is working as volunteers and assisting in this effort.
*Shokei Baptist Church was severely damaged and we are rebuilding this church in Sendai.
Walls are cracked,and there is foundation damage. The building is still standing at the moment, but we plan to tear it down this Fall.
*OasisLife Care Ministry sponsored through Rifu Christ Church, in Rifu (near Sendai)
It’s ministry is focused on Miyagi Prefecture: 1) Needs of Today, 2) Needs of Tomorrow, and 3) Eternal Needs.
- A festival was held in Sept, at the 6 month remembrance.
- Working with fishing community and fishermen (rebuilding sea squirt (Hoya shell fish) industry)
- The fishing community generally has been very closed to Christian outreach, but praise God, through this work, they have built bridges with this community and now 4 fishermen are attending the OasisLife Ministry service.
*Ezer Projects sponsored by Shiogama Church (outside of the Sendai area)
- For housing placement from the government, the people draw their re-location out of a box by lottery. We have worked to help them build community and to provide tomatoes and soil for them to grow vegetables.
*Kesennuma Chruch is working to relieve the situation in Kesennuma. (Kesennuma is a very traditional fishing area north of Sendai and very hard hit by the earthquake)
-This was a severely damaged area. A special thanks to the Okinawa Baptist Convention. When they saw the fire that burned the remains of the tsunami, it resonated with them as they recalled the fire damage in Okinawa during the war. They sent volunteers up weekly to help clean up.
-During the tsunami, tons of fish from the fisheries were washed in and were rotting, causing a massive smell. EM is a natural biological agent that cleans the water and rejuvenates/fertilizes the land. We are using it to help clean up the area.