International Ministries

Japan earthquake: A First-Anniversary Collection of Reflections, Observations and Hope

March 13, 2012 News
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Thank you for your gifts of more than $460,000 to One Great Hour of Sharing “Japan Relief”  to help your Japanese brothers and sisters in Christ after the 8.9 earthquake struck on March 11, 2011, followed by a devastating tsunami along the coast. 

American Baptist International Ministries (IM) missionaries who have been involved in relief and rebuilding efforts are sharing their reflections and photos of the last 365 days. In these personal accounts, you can read about the successes and surprises, and how God is working to restore lives and hope. To see the first-anniversary collection, go to

IM missionary Roberta Stephens recalls, “The first [financial] installments sent soon after the disaster struck were used as initial ‘condolence gifts’ to Baptist related families who lost loved ones and whose houses were partially or totally destroyed.  This was money that helped many to stand on their own feet again.”

IM missionary Lee Ann Hwang comments about life today in the disaster-affected areas, “When we visited the temporary housing locations in Minamisanriku, 2 hours north of Sendai… the broken buildings and debris left by the tsunamis have been consolidated into neat mountains of garbage, piles of tires, and neatly stacked ruined cars. The city has been replaced with….nothing. While earthquake survivors were able to rebuild their homes and businesses, tsunami evacuees (and radiation evacuees in other areas) struggle with the big question mark of their future.”

“Pastors from Okinawa Baptist churches,” recalls IM missionary Leslie Turley, “went on a mission to Northeast Japan in June 2011 to encourage and comfort the survivors of the March 11th disaster.”   She remembers how an elderly woman in a homeless shelter was comforted by the hymn, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”

One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA.  The Committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work, and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches. Learn more: