We have been in direct email contact with the leadership of the Japan Baptist Convention and with other partners about our response to the devastation that has occurred there. A team from Baptist World Aid Rescue 24 is already on the scene to assess the damage and lead the world Baptist family to understand the best way to respond. Please take a few moments to read the second update (posted below) that we have received from Rev. Makoto Kato, Executive Director of the Japan Baptist Convention. Our Japan Baptist brothers and sisters are grateful for our prayers and financial response over these last few days.
I have just come from a gathering of CBF’s disaster response team where we discussed the situation in Japan and I’d like to share with you a bit more about how you can respond. There are at least two immediate ways that you can help:
1. Pray. The people of Japan need our prayers now. Pray for the nation’s leaders and for Baptist leaders who need wisdom and discernment to see through the fog and to respond to the huge challenges that they face. Pray for survivors of the tragedy and for the families of those who have been killed. Pray for those who are still missing. Pray for Baptist churches in the area as they seek to respond immediately to the devastation around them.
2. Give. CBF is sending an immediate $5000 to assist the Japan Baptist Convention in its initial response efforts. All donations for the disaster will be divided equally between the Convention and Asia Baptist Pacific Aid, the Asian arm of Baptist World Aid. This will ensure that the funding is utilized in a way that is helpful to relief efforts on the ground.
At some point in the near future, the Japan Baptist Convention will advise us on any particular short-term needs that they may have. We will keep you informed about these needs in case there are specific ways in which you can help. For now, the picture on the ground in northeastern Japan is too difficult and challenging to handle short-term personnel.
Here is Rev. Kato’s update:
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Following the horrific earthquakes and tidal waves damaging the vast Pacific coast region of Northeastern Japan on Friday afternoon, March 11, 2011, the immediate heartfelt prayer support and encouragement from you, our Christian brothers and sisters around the world, is greatly appreciated. On behalf of the Japan Baptist Convention, I want to express our deepest gratitude.
These three days, struggling with broken telephone service, we have attempted to communicate with all seventeen JBC churches and mission points in the crisis area. Finally this morning, March 14, communications have been restored to the extent that we have a better grasp of most local church situations. Basically, the inland churches and mission points sustained breakage to their smaller structures, but the larger buildings were not severely damaged. Unfortunately several members of the JBC churches living in the vicinity of the Pacific coastline remain unreachable; we are anxious for their safety.
Additionally, about half of the fourteen JBU (Japan Baptist Union) churches and mission points are along the coast, and most of these have serious damages. Again, there is great concern for the church members who are unaccounted for.
Our most urgent concern at this point is the crisis with the Nuclear Power Plants in the stricken region. The danger from accidents caused by rise in temperature inside the nuclear reactors is being compared to the Three Mile Island problem several years ago in the USA. The fear and suffering sustained from earthquakes and tsunami is being multiplied by the panic of radiation exposure.
Four members of BWAid Rescue 24 arrived at Narita International Airport, north of Tokyo on Saturday, March 12, but with all means of transportation still broken from the disaster, they did not arrive in the main stricken city of Sendai until Sunday, March 13, after midnight. Early Monday morning, the 14th, this team immediately began their inspection and assessment of the many needs.
Daily life in the Tokyo metropolitan area, located on the periphery of the crisis, has been affected. Transportation has been reduced, streets and train stations are crowded with people unable to reach their destination. Today, the 14th, due to power shortages in the entire region, the power company has a “planned power outage.” Therefore, most trains will be unable to run during the outage. With limited fuel supply, many cars will not be able to run. This will affect two-thirds of our JBC staff.
On March 12, here at the JBC headquarters, we established the Disaster Relief Headquarters for the Northeastern Japan Pacific Earthquake, to assemble information to distribute to all persons and organizations involved, and to channel financial support for our JBC relief activities.
Our human minds cannot begin to comprehend this crisis which exceeds our greatest fears. We pray for our Lord God to be merciful to the thousands of victims suffering deep grief and immeasurable pain and hardship. We pray for the Lord to provide His Peace, Comfort, and Hope. We pray that those victims suffering alone in the cold will quickly be rescued. We pray that during this crisis, the Baptist Churches of Japan will know and follow the Lord’s leadership, and that we will walk with Him in faithful service.
Let us pledge our continuing support for all the Baptist churches in Northeastern Japan and the victims surrounding them. Let us join our hearts in prayer as we enter this long-time commitment to sustain a ministry of relief work in His Name and for His Glory.
In His Service,
Japan Baptist Convention