Like many people, my morning routine begins with a cup of coffee and the morning news. This morning I never finished my first cup of coffee.
As I turned on the tv, I was overwhelmed by the images of devastation and loss. I stood in my living room transfixed on my tv. As the same video feeds of the waves kept replaying over and over, I began to think of my friends in Japan. Just last year, I traveled to Japan and met with many church leaders from all over the island nation who had come to be part of the annual Japan Baptist Convention meeting. Are they ok? Japan is so far away. What could I do?
Quickly I dressed and drove to the office. Once at my computer, I began sending feverish emails to various contacts throughout the country. Then the wait began. As I waited, I sifted through a stack of business cards that I had exchanged while in Japan. Slowly, as I lifted each card, I offered up a prayer for each person and their familes. Just then a simple noise caught my attention. The chiming of my email’s in-box. First one. Then two. Then three. Normally, a morning of chiming emails is nothing new, but these were special. These three simple emails were answers to some of the prayers that I had just verbalized. Three different friends from Japan had responded to my late night (their time) emails. In our emails we exchanged greetings and quickly got down to the question at hand- what can we do? Each email closed with my friends stating that the prayers meant so much and that they would be back in touch soon once they knew more.
As someone who works daily to connect people with short-term places of service, I found this difficult at best. If I felt this way, I could only imagine how someone still stuck in front of a CNN news feed must feel. Here are a couple of thoughts that I would offer up when trying to wrestle with the question- what can I do?
1. Pray. You may or may not know anyone personally affected by this event. It does not matter. Take a few moments to offer a prayer to those who are in need and to those who are praying for ways to respond.
2. Give. If you are able, any amount will be a blessing. In this time of giving fatigue, we have all been bombarded by causes and campaigns that need our response. Visit the CBF website for detailed giving instructions. This will allow you to giving specifically to this need.
3.Go. Now is not the time to respond in this manner. Communication is sketchy at best with our contacts in Japan. In the early emails, we were informed that many churches were in these affected areas. As we hear from our friends about specific needs, we will recruit and respond accordingly. Communication is vital. We will continue to monitor the situation, when we have updated news we will post it.
I welcome your feedback. As I close, I would like to share a short quote from one of the emails that I received this morning from Japan.
“… there are many in that devastated area who are in unspeakable pain. Pray for us. It is near midnight, all Japan will have a long and sleepless night tonight…”
May God grant rest to the weary, peace to the anxious,and courage to those who bring Hope.