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Japan Trip Update 5/14/2011
I landed at Narita airport in Tokyo, Japan on Monday afternoon. A quick three hour commute got me to John's house (John is my friend and a Converge Worldwide missionary) where I would stay for the week.

For my first week I helped John with some IT related tasks for his ministry, then hooked up with CRASH Japan, a Christian relief organization that is setting up long term base camps for disaster response. CRASH is growing fast and needs a lot of volunteers in their headquarters which moved into a new building this month. 30-50 volunteers work in the HQ every day in the midst of renovations.

The needs change on a daily basis requiring flexibility and a willingness to serve in whatever capacity is needed. I was assigned to help maintain the database of volunteers and donors as well as to help develop a tool to aid with automatic translation between Japanese and English.

Today (Sunday) I will be heading up to the disaster area for a week with a local team to do more hands-on work. Specifically we will be driving to Miyako, which is about 100 miles north of Sendai (300 miles from Tokyo) and will take 8-10 hours.

Our main task will be to distribute supplies in the area though that may change on a daily basis as well. We may also be removing debris, cleaning, watching children or just helping people emotionally. More details below.

We will be staying in an old ryokan (Japanese inn) that survived the devastation and is owned by a couple who lived through the earthquake and Tsunami. Electricity has been restored in the building but there is no water so we will need to bring drinking water and travel 20 minutes to a public bath every day.

I am currently packing supplies for the trip which include rain gear, waterproof boots with armored soles (so we don't step on nails), safety goggles, particulate masks, work gloves, flash lights, sleeping bags, food and duct tape of course. This should be an interesting trip!

Prayer Requests:
  • For all the people we come in contact with, that we would be a source of comfort, hope and love for them
  • For the couple who owns the ryokan and are opening it up to volunteers
  • For opportunities to share the Gospel with those we meet
  • Health and safety for all the volunteers while we travel and serve
Thanks for your support. I will send another update after we return.

Here is some additional information from John.
John Back to Iwate, May 14th

John will be leaving today with Phil Tsai, short-term worker, to work with a Rengo Disaster Response team in Iwate prefecture from the 15th to the 19th. The eight member team will include Pastor Sasaki, Rengo Board member, Pastor Kurashima of the Masago church, Associate Pastor Yamauchi of the Chuo church, the Wakaos of the Ishikawa Kita church and Pastor Yokota of the Minami Urawa church. This team is loaded with pastors!

John and Phil will pick up Pastor Yokota and supplies and then rendezvous the rest of the team at the Morioka Bible Baptist Church in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture on Sunday evening where we will spend the night. From Monday we will be working in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture distributing relief supplies, cleaning, removing debris, helping people emotionally, playing with kids, etc.

In this city of nearly 58,000 there are only two churches which together have only a weekly attendance of 39 people. Like the whole Tohoku region, this is a very unchurched and unevangelized area. We will be working with the Iwate 3.11 Church Network which is supporting relief efforts through local churches throughout Iwate Prefecture. Please pray for our hearts and our hands as we bring the love of Christ to this area.

Miyako lost more to 400 to the earthquake and tsunami and is the city where photos showed a waterfall-like tsunami over 124 feet high (about 10 stories) inundating the city. Photo video

Please pray for opportunities to share the love of Christ both in word and deed on this trip. Pray that we may make many smile with hope. Pray to that God would give both John and Phil wisdom and sensitive eyes this trip. After this month trip, Phil will be returning to Japan later in August with a Disaster Response Team from Chicago (and St. Louis). Maybe some want to join him.

Posted 05/14/2011 06:21 PM in Christianity, Japan, Travel | Total Comments: (1)
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Praying for you
Thanks for the update!
Submitted by Ben I. on 05/14/2011 08:20 PM

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