Earthquake Update 3/24

Many of you have given towards the relief efforts here financially and I thank you. We have received donations and prayers from sister churches all over the world. I was amazed when I slowed down and realized how many people around the world are praying for Japan. We have gotten donations from China, South Africa, even Haiti. It is amazing how our nation has changed in two weeks. Satomi wrote on her facebook, “Do you feel like you are in a disaster movie?” I laughed but sometimes it feels like a disaster movie that will not end.

To this point we have sent 10 tons of supplies in 4 trucks to various places in northern and eastern Sendai. We now have key contacts at churches, refugee centers, and even made two stops at a Buddhist temple where many homeless families were staying temporarily. Young James went up with the second team and took 2 tons of supplies with one of the leaders from our church in Yokosuka and a driver from the church in Shimada. Thank you for your prayers for him – I watched closely on the GPS and prayed a lot while he was in Fukushima and Sendai. The land north of us is totally devastated, especially along the coastal areas where the tsunami hit. He shared with me that in the worst hit areas it is getting dangerous. Because of lack of food, shelter and basics, there is looting and even talk of murders and other crime. There are still many places which have not received relief and it has been two weeks since the 9.0 earthquake and 30+ ft high tsunami.

Through a providential connection two days ago, I found a church in Setagaya Tokyo which was in contact with an old-folk’s home in the northern part of Sendai which was low on food. They had received no supplies since the earthquake and there are 70 residents and 50 care-givers living in the rural facility. I was able to call my friend Keisuke and Pastor Rick Justus who were just then making a delivery in northern Sendai and direct them to stop by the old-folk’s home with much needed food and supplies. Please pray for the residents and caregivers there as I hear some have the flu now. We want to bring masks, rubber gloves, adult diapers and other needed supplies in the next truckload.

This Saturday P. James Coble from Yokohama will be leading team #4 into Sendai. They will stop at Yokosuka Church, where we have collected another 1 or 2 tons of food and supplies to load. The week following we are hoping to set up a base camp in central Sendai on the property of a local church which was wiped out by the tsunami. We are negotiating now to buy a small prefab house and bring it up to the property for the pastor and his wife to set up a base for relief efforts and ministry in the community. Today I found and rented a covered two-ton truck for one month. Once we set up the base we hope to begin regular deliveries up to this base an others that we have already established. Also providentially a man in my church has offered the use of his 4-ton truck with crane to help us set up the prefab and move old damaged containers to the base camp site to use for storage. We have the beginnings of a good long-term plan but need lots of prayer!

In Yokosuka our local FM radio station has been to the church to interview James, Satomi and me after he came back from his trip to Sendai. He is praying hard about possibly taking a semester off of college since it looks like it will be months most people have shelter in the affected area. Even in Yokosuka we are still living with daily aftershocks, many of them in the M5 or M6 range. We are also facing radiation and rolling three-hour power blackouts which are scheduled now to last through August. At least we now have gasoline and the panic buying of bread and other staples has stopped for now.

The kanji character for crisis is 危機 which means danger + opportunity. Please pray for us to have the love and peace of God to meet the danger part fearlessly. The opportunity part is obvious. This is the reason why we are here – God wants to show how much He loves Japan and we are privileged that He wants to use us. Thanks for all your prayers, love and financial gifts. You are our partners – expect to hear good news from Japan because God is here.

Together for Him,
Ray in Yokosuka

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