That's been the question it seems each day, and sometimes each hour for places north of us. After the quake came landslides, then the tsunami, then the traffic and transportation problems, then blackouts, then the shortages of essentials, then the nuclear crisis, now the snow and freezing temperatures. One Japanese man interviewed on TV today asked, "What did Japan do to be punished like this?
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." Lam 3:21-24
In my next email, I will communicate a bit of perspective I gained today of the Lord's great faithfulness leading up to this great tragedy.
"What are you standing in line for?"
Today we had a special prayer meeting with church members. I reminded them of how prayer for Japan is now a global movement in the church. They are not alone. They have Christ, and they have 2 billion Christian brothers and sisters praying for them. This is an important reminder for Japanese who suffer from a bit of a minority complex (only 0.5% our Christians.)
At the prayer meeting one lady told an interesting story. The shortages (particularly of gas and some basic food items) have created a bit of panic buying. I took the picture at left yesterday. When I say panic buying, for Japanese that means standing in a very orderly but determined way, even hours on end, until items are completely gone. At a particular store there was a long line that twisted down the block. When our church member asked a shopper toward the end of the line, "What are you standing in line for?" The shopper responded, "I don't know! But everyone else is in line." The people in the middle of the line didn't have any idea either. From the front of the line came the answer: toilet tissue. (Let me assure you that we are well stocked with toilet tissue. Please don't send us any -- this means you, too, mom...I know what you're thinking.)
Our pastors in the news
Three of our church association pastors were in California with a fellow missionary visiting churches and gathering ideas when the quake struck. A local news service did a human interest interview on them here. This is not the circumstances they would want to be interviewed under. They have since returned safely to Japan and are ministering to their congregations.
Pray for our church association with nearly 30 churches in the affected area. One of our flagship churches is only 3 miles from the nuclear facility in Fukushima. Click here to see the video interview.
Please keep praying! You can impact Japan from your knees right from your home!
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...for the rescue efforts going on in the hardest hit areas. It is now snowing in the area
...for a quick resolution to the growing crisis in three of the nuclear reactors up north
...for shortages, particularly in the north, to be filled quickly
...for many people in the area that have not yet been heard from by friends of ours
...for wisdom and calm in making contingency plans for our church and mission
...for stress levels on our family and mission family
Additional prayer need: the yen is strengthening (dollar falling) in a big way in the middle of this crisis. This may have long-term impact on many things here. Pray that it will recover to its pre-crisis levels (which was already a major crisis for us missionaries).
We pray especially that many Japanese would turn to Christ through this crisis. Our God is eager to save! We are hearing reports of spiritual decisions!