Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 25 - Earthquake (10)

"The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." Nahum 1:7

Hope is on the Way
We appreciate the many of you who have expressed your prayer support. We're reading those email, we just can't respond.

These are unusual times in Japan. Even as the nuclear reactors continue to belch mysterious smoke and strong aftershocks rattle us daily, we are trying to make plans and move ahead with things. Our strength is in His promises to us.

There has been a tsunami of tragedy, but there will now be a tsunami of Christian relief and hope flooding the area in the days to come. Our church, and many, many others across the country, are hurriedly working together to gather needed items, and holding prayer vigils for this historic time in Japan. Volunteers are organizing into teams, setting up base camps, sharing resources, and enlisting support. Sleepy Japanese Christians are being awakened anew in their faith.

Next week I will be going into the tsunami area on the coast (near Shiogama) with a few other missionaries to get an idea of needs and begin to help with the cleanup. It will no doubt involve a lot of mud. The area is safely outside the evacuated zone around the nuclear reactors (no worries, mom). I hope to take some needed supplies and equipment up as well. We will be making a church our "base camp" and moving out from there. Without running water, food, bedding and little heat, it will be a rustic camping experience. I hate the idea of any form of camping, but I sense God pushing me out. I simply can't stay put here in "safe" southern Tokyo, while people I care are dealing with this tragedy alone.

How to Help
Let's get real practical. Kids of tsunami families need items replaced to get back to school and "normal" life again: school supplies (pencils, erasers, paper, etc.), gym wear, backpacks, athletic gear, etc. Tsunami families that have not lost their homes need supplies for major cleanup: work gear and work clothing, boots, tools, buckets, towels, etc.

If you would like to give toward that specific need please let us know and we will facilitate that for you.

Remember this special 2-minute appeal for prayer from our church is downloadable here, and now also posted on Facebook here. (FBusers, please share and like).

I know churches/groups want to collect these items, but...
Please let us buy these above items locally as it helps the local economy recover and fits the standards for things that Japanese use.

Alternative collection idea for church/groups/individuals
You really want your church to touch this need directly. You need a project. We get it! Easter is April 24. By that time short-term needs will be met, but despair will still be a daily reality. Wouldn't it be great if families and kids could hear the resurrection hope that Christ brings? Wouldn't it be great if they had Easter craft items and resources sent from Christians in America in the love of Jesus that churches could use for outreach? Items such as Easter basket building material, candy, craft material (particularly with Christian symbols), coloring kits, games and prizes, giveaway items, picture books (Easter story), etc, etc. These are items not available in Japan. I'd love to take such items (combined with a few locally bought items) to the affected areas on your behalf. This is a possible idea for churches/mission committees. Please let us know if you intend on doing this so that we are not inundated.

How to Pray
1) for safety as I travel north next week with a few other missionary volunteers
2) for wisdom to organize and utilize resources effectively in the Christian relief effort going on
3) for opportunities to bring encouragement and Christian witness to those we meet in the tsunami area
4) for physical strength and health, and spiritual and emotional strength and health. We know the scene we will go into will be shocking.
5) for a quick and safe resolution by the Fukushima Fifty to the nuclear power plant crisis
6) most of all, for Japanese to turn their hearts toward God, place their faith in Jesus, and find rest from their heartache in him

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