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Monday, March 21, 2011

Japan's relief effort intensifies


Japan's relief effort intensifies

Japan (MNN) -- Japan's earthquake damages will be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. For many survivors of crises, the most immediate concern is not the future, but the present need for food, shelter, clean water and heat. Asian Access estimates that nearly 300 churches were in the tsunami-impacted areas, and they've set up a relief base to provide help. Other churches are serving as shelters. A2 also has a million dollar matching grant right now, multiplying the impact of donations dollars. We've got more online.

Disaster-ridden Japan in store for more trauma

Japan (MNN) -- The triple threat in Japan of earthquake, tsunami, and radiation will likely have significant psychological effects on the Japanese. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety are all expected to inflict a much greater number of people than if only one of the three had occurred. Rich Blanco with Biblica says fear will last for years. "When people experience a disaster like this, often they're not sleeping well, they're waking up scared, and there's the fear of another tsunami or earthquake." The ministry will help people cope with this emotional stress through three post-disaster booklets. The books allow people to work through their thoughts in their own timing, journal, and ultimately cast their cares on Christ. "People who've lost everything are going to really just be seeking how they rebuild their lives, and that's where Biblica steps in with God's Word in very appropriate formats to bring hope to a hopeless situation." Help with this project at our Web site.

Japan pushed to the limit with triple threat

Japan (MNN) -- The nuclear crisis developing in Japan's quake-damaged Fukushima power complex is complicating relief. Jeff Palmer with Baptist Global Response explains, "We've looked at plans for helping in the earthquake areas. The tsunami areas are fairly well closed to private volunteer organizations. The Japanese government is handling that, and [in addition], those are in the radiation areas." Because of this, Palmer says, "A lot of us are focusing our response on those peripheral earthquake-affected areas which are requiring food, shelter, and help for folks who are being evacuated or have left the area." Although there are limitations to where they can help, they've got a long view. "We will respond and help people where they are hurting. At the same time, we will also offer them a hope that is found in eternal hope: a hope that is here and now, as well as later and beyond -- a hope that is found in Jesus Christ."  Read more here….

Earthquake stirs emotion

Japan (MNN) -- The emotional and spiritual effects of the recent disaster are starting to show in people all over Japan. TEAM doesn't work in the region most affected, but everyone seems to be shaken. Ministry Area Leader Steve Baughn talked to us from Japan: "They need to just talk; they're scared. They don't know when the next big earthquake's going to come in their area; they don't know about the nuclear reactor. This is going to have an ongoing effect throughout the nation which...is going to give Christians opportunities to share the love of Christ with people who are going to feel more needy and more insecure than they ever have, possibly -- no matter where they are in Japan." TEAM will certainly play a role in this, but "for the missions, the key is to continue to try to work with the Japanese and the Japanese church to make them the most effective they can be in reaching their own people." As opportunities arise, "The biggest prayer is that we would just be ready."
Read more……

Relief kits needed for Japan

Japan (MNN) -- The grim search for survivors continues in Japan as a half-million people are reportedly homeless. The need for food, water, and other essentials continues. In response, Medical Teams International is committed to help. President of the ministry Bas Vanderzalm says the church is meeting the basic needs for shelter, food, and water. Unfortunately, the needs are great. "There are thousands and thousands of people who need help right now with just basic essentials for life. It's those needs that we're looking to meet with local church groups in Japan." They'll need temporary shelter, such as tents. They'll also need blankets, clothing, and other items to protect them in the cold months of the year. Vanderzalm says it doesn't take a lot of investment. "For $30, we're able to provide a disaster kit to people in an emergency situation like this that would be enough to care for them for at least several weeks. So, even a small gift would make a huge difference." Click on the link at our Web site to help.

Triple threat hangs over response teams in Japan

Japan (MNN) -- Experts say Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami will rank among the most costly natural disasters on record. Peter Howard with Food For the Hungry (FH) says, "It's a modern country, so this is unparalleled for the scale of this disaster in a modern country." It's winter now, and millions are without food, water or shelter. Nuclear meltdown looms. The FH team has a plan that flexes with the needs. "For Food for the Hungry, our niche is really working with the local churches and local church partners throughout the region affected and trying to get supplies in through those churches and basically provide support through those churches and ministries." Keep praying as their team moves forward. "We believe that the church is God's vehicle for spreading the Gospel of love and compassion and the message of peace. We're really hopeful that the Japanese church supported by churches all around the world will rise up and truly show what Christians are all about." Read more here….

Damaged communication keeps status of churches hidden

Japan (MNN) -- It's mostly unknown how Japan's churches have fared in the wake of disaster. Asian Access pastor Hiroshi Kawasaki says, "More than 300 churches are affected." Kawasaki is attempting to contact churches nearly around the clock, but many wireless lines and landlines are down. He has yet to hear from most. Ministry Director for Japan Mary Jo Wilson says unaffected churches are doing all they can to help. "Some other churches have opened up and are supplying some long-term temporary housing. So we see the body of Christ working together." For now, aid and housing are vital for the more than 310,000 people made homeless. Asian Access has set up a relief fund to provide aid. But the church is preparing for another need as well. "Soon after, maybe they need a very, very big spiritual help," says Kawasaki. For now, "Pray that Japan experiences the reality of Christ's love."  Read here….

Christians called to pray for Japan and USA

USA (MNN) -- While the world struggles to come to grips with the devastation in Japan, Ron Hutchcraft says Christians need to pray. He says our prayers need to focus on two areas. First, with only 1% of the population Christian, Japanese people need our prayers. "The millions of gods of Shintoism. The feeling that Christianity is a western religion. All these things have created great barriers, and my prayer now is for the people of God in Japan, that this could be their moment [they share their faith] because of their hope." Hutchcraft says in the United States, newscasters are talking about biblical prophecy. He says when people ask about it, he gives some suggestions on what to say. "You need to make sure you are in the hands of the One who predicted it all, whose coming preceded by it all, and who is the only safe place," which is Jesus. Listen to the full interview on our Web site.

Japan's quake creates opportunity and obstacles

Japan (MNN) -- Japanese seismologists have upgraded Friday's earthquake to a 9.0. The resulting tsunami has caused radiation contamination from damaged nuclear power reactors. We spoke to Howard Plucar with EFCA Reach Global from Tokyo via Skype. He says most of the team is safe, but there is no word from the Furukawa church and their team in Sendai, near the epicenter. "There's going to be immediate need that's going to flow in through churches and through Non-Governmental Organizations, but I think where the church is really going to have its greatest impact is in the long term--helping people rebuild their lives." TouchGlobal Crisis Response is assessing the situation. "As we show the love of Christ, we also declare the meaning of Christ to people whose lives have been turned upside-down and who don't have a lot of hope. So, to weave meaning into the acts of kindness is going to be key for the church." Read here….

God's timing prepares team for quake

Japan (MNN) -- Asian Access> reports that their team survived the quake safely. However, there are several partners who have likely been severely affected, but communications are limited. The team is confident that God will use the faith of these believers to reach out to the hurting in the community. A note of interest: six days ago, the leaders were part of an all-day training to help Christians in Japan be prepared to respond in case of earthquake. Pray with them as they move to respond.  Read here…

SEND International starts earthquake aid fund

Japan (MNN) -- International Director of SEND International Warren Janzen says they have 67 people working in Japan. "We've connected with our people, and everyone is safe--although not everyone is home. There were some people who were stranded in other parts of the city. Others chose to walk four or five hours to get back to their residences. All of our structures are all sound for now." SEND is one of the founding missions of the Japan Evangelical Church Association, and Janzen says they'll be working through that organization. "They are trying, right now, to connect with churches and believers in that affected region. They want to assess what the damage is and then begin strategizing on how to go in an assist." SEND has set up a fund to help. "SEND has created the Japan Earthquake Recovery Project to jump-start our national partners' recovery effort. These gifts are going to go to their immediate needs and the Japan Evangelical Church Association ongoing ministry for both physical and spiritual needs of people in the affected area." Go to www.SEND.org to help.
Read more here….

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