A Baptist relief worker listens as a Japanese boy shares his heartache over losing his dog in the tsunami. Southern Baptists working in the disaster response after Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami report that weekly caravans are now making their way into the disaster zone and that training efforts are helping Japanese Baptists mount effective relief initiatives.
ISHINOMAKI, Japan (BP)--Japan's Baptist leader has expressed heartfelt gratitude for the assistance Baptists worldwide have provided in the aftermath of his country's March 11 earthquake and tsunami -- and has made specific requests for continued prayer.
Southern Baptists working in the disaster response say they are pleased that weekly caravans can now make their way into the disaster zone and that training efforts are helping Japanese Baptists mount effective relief initiatives.
"Please accept my deepest gratitude for your kind expressions of comfort, encouragement, prayer support, and love offerings, following the earthquake that has wrought devastation to Japan," Makoto Kato, executive secretary of the Japan Baptist Convention, said in an April 1 letter. "The warm response from Christian brothers and sisters around the world has sustained our broken hearts. Japan Baptist churches appreciate the marvelous support system of Baptists around the world united in prayer for Japan."
The increased availability of gasoline has made it possible for "the most critical necessities for human existence, such as water, food, clothing, gasoline, and kerosene," to be delivered into the disaster zone, Kato said. The Japan Baptist Convention has placed temporary crisis management staff in the area to support the work of local churches in helping ease the emotional trauma disaster survivors are experiencing.
Baptist Global Response, an international relief and development organization, and its partners are moving to establish bases of operation in the primary impact areas of Sendai and Ishinomaki, said Jeff Palmer, BGR's executive director.
"We have partners committed to establishing and staffing bases of operations in Ishinomaki and Sendai, and plan to build housing in Sendai for Japanese Baptist volunteers coming out from Tokyo," Palmer said. "The operation now has the capacity of feeding hot meals to up to 3,000 people at a time, and our stateside disaster relief specialists have trained Japanese Baptists in areas of disaster response administration, grief counseling and logistics." Read More