Japan: What Can We Do?

A month ago I was in Tokyo Japan.  Now all of our hearts are in Japan.  You have seen the pictures and videos of Japan in the news.  I am sure you are also wondering how we can respond.

The Situation: A Personal Reflection

Some of us have family and friends in Japan.  A few of our church members, Lydia and Daniel Park, have their family still in Tokyo, and their parents are helping to lead relief efforts for their denomination.  The frequency of aftershocks even bring motion sickness to them.  My brother is still in Tokyo, but his family recently went to Seoul to be with my mother.  Many schools are closed.  My brother is going to move south to Osaka, as McDonalds moves their base of operations south.

The church, though, is mobilizing.  A friend who attended our church in college, Joey Millard, recently went up with a group of friends from his church with over $9,000 of food and water and supplies, organized and paid for out of their own pocket.  Another good friend Philip Foxwell went up north as a representative of Crash Japan to assess the needs.  An old wrestling coach and missionary, Cal Cummings, lives in Sendai.  His ceiling collapsed, but he is okay, and he is helping to mobilize people to help those in Japan.

This is an unprecedented opportunity for Japan.  For years, Japan has been in a state of crisis.  The economy is struggling, as the working population ages and fewer and fewer young people are entering the workforce.  The suicide rate in Japan is about 100 per day.  While the death toll of the tsunami is estimated around 10,000, that is the number of people who die every 3–4 months by suicide in Japan.  Politically, the country is struggling; there have been five different prime ministers since 2006, most of them resigning because of one scandal or another.  Now, there is an earthquake or unprecedented proportions.  Japan had a high state of earthquake readiness, but they were preparing for an earthquake of a maximum magnitude of 8.5;  the past earthquake was 9.0.  After shocks of significant proportions have continued to strike.

The Situation:  Opportunity

What can we do?  First, pray.  We must remember that those in Japan are our brothers and sisters.  Pray for the church to rise up.  Personally, I have been praying that God would raise up men of faith like Joseph, who in time of national famine and disaster rose up with God-given wisdom and insight to bring hope to a nation that desperately needs hope.  In February, I preached in two different churches in Tokyo, and the Lord strongly laid on my heart how He wanted to raise up people in the church to bring hope to this nation.  At that time, I was thinking of the political and economic crises of that nation.  Now the need is even more greater.  Please join me in praying that the Lord would bring hope to this nation by raising up Josephs during this time.

Also, we can give. Matthew 24:1–14 gives us biblical perspective on this crisis.  I encourage you to partner with churches in Japan.  Crash Japan (www.crashjapan.com) is endorsed by the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Association, and it is serving as a hub for missionaries and Japanese churches to rally support for this country.  Giving to this organization will help Christians and missionaries who have been laboring in that country for their entire lifetimes to deliver aid.  They are, as we speak, assessing the need and setting up base camps of operation and relief.  We are to do good to everyone, especially those who are in the household of God (Gal 6:10).  This is a profound opportunity for the church in Japan to rise up to bring hope to the nation.  Let us can help them.

Join me in prayer.  Join me in the grace of giving (2 Cor 9:6–12).  May God strengthen as we pray and give for His glory.

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