Thank you for your prayers and concern for the people of Japan, the Believers and Churches of Japan, and for Family Forum Japan. As you know, on March 11th, the N.E. part of the island of Honshu was hit by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, followed by a series of 3-10 meter high tsunamis, that have wreaked unspeakable devastation along the 500 km long coastline.
I myself was born and spent my early childhood in the city of Ishinomaki, right in the middle of this coastline, and was there when the city was devastated by a tsunami in 1960. Now a half a century later, this large fishing port and it's downtown district have once again been obliterated by tsunamis, despite having one of the strongest seawalls in the world. Hundreds are dead and missing and 110,000 residents are in shelters in this city alone. The church my father planted was in worst hit area, and I've not been able to ascertain the safety of Pastor Okamoto and his family.
Farther South along the coast, Pastor Sato of the First Baptist Church of Fukushima, was my classmate in seminary. His church has been closed and all nearby residents evacuated due to their proximity to the unstable nuclear power plant you've been seeing in the news.
Throughout the area the numbers of dead and missing are rapidly rising, while the destruction of roads and railways is keeping emergency supplies from reaching those needing them most.
Meanwhile, in the Tokyo area and Central Japan, a population center of 70-80 million people, power and gas are being rationed, public transportation is functioning at less than 50%, foods supplies and other basics are in short supply, and all areas of life are being disrupted. Just this morning, my 44 km (27 mile) commute to the FFJ Office required 3 trains, a bus, a scooter, and a 2 km walk, taking 3 hours. This is similar to what most working Japanese are enduring on a daily basis.
But thankfully, the Japanese church and the missionary community are rising to this challenge. Already a church based cooperative task force known as CRASH Japan is functioning around the clock, setting up systems for organizing volunteer teams, gathering funds, and matching resources with needs. CRASH is working with churches in hard hit areas, to enable local believers to minister to their communities, and to share the hope of the Gospel with those in need. Information regarding CRASH can be found at http://crashjapan.licquia.org/index.php
Family Forum Japan plans to work as a part of CRASH, providing literature, offering counseling, and using our radio broadcast to provide comfort and encouragement. My wife Katie and I were intensely involved in the early hours, facilitating the flow of communication and information, and we will continue in that capacity, along with the ongoing ministry of Family Forum Japan.
Please pray for the Believers and churches in the hard hit areas. Please pray for warm weather, and the restoration of transportation routes, so that relief supplies can reach remote areas. Please pray for CRASH Japan, as it coordinates the flow of volunteer workers, supplies, and donations. Please pray for Family Forum Japan as we try to minister at full capacity, during an extended period of time, without income from domestic sources. Please pray that God will provide the financial resources we need in order to print literature, and providing counseling services in needy places.
Most of all, please pray that God will use this unprecedented disaster to bring the Japanese people to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. At present less than 1% of the population profess Christ. May He be glorified in this nation, and through His People in Japan.
Thank you so much.
Director, Family Forum Japan