These have been transported to the disaster region by a local Christian group in association with other churches from Osaka.
The current situation
Right now the greatest need of the local people in the disaster affected areas is food and the emergency goods listed that are above. Although roads are now opening, the stores are understocked and with no gasolene, people outside the cities have no way to reach the stores. Most of the affected areas are rural. This situation is expected to continue for about 2 months. After two months there will be a need for volunteers to assist in cleaning up, removing damaged buildings, fallen trees, rubble etc.
The local churches
Reports now say that the local churches are stressed to their limit. Goods have been sent from ChristiansÃ‚Â all over Japan and the world to local churches, however the local churches are small and quite unable to deal with the size of the problem. Our distribution team takes goods from the church to surrounding areas and in that way eases the burden of the local Christians somewhat. Of course they themselves areÃ‚Â struggling just to rebuild their own lives and take care of their people.
The greatest need
Right now the greatest need is for people to go and volunteer long term to coordinate the relief efforts with local pastors. This would involve receiving and distributing goods and liaising with local government and other Christian groups who are working in the same areas. Until now a lack of communication has caused great frustration to many.
Unfortunately we are not in a position at this time to go and serve thereÃ‚Â over a period of months. I pray that either our situation will change or thatÃ‚Â the Lord will raise up someone who is able to assist in these areas.Ã‚Â Over the next 2 months we intend to continue to buy and supply the distribution workÃ‚Â of missionaries andÃ‚Â volunteers from our areaÃ‚Â working along withÃ‚Â local churches in the Tohoku region.
This is not simple either as most stores in Osaka have put restrictions on how much we can purchase. We are going around from shop to shop and store to store buying a little here and a little there.Ã‚Â In Osaka we can do this. In Tokyo even this would beÃ‚Â difficult due to a serious lack of items in the stores.
I expect we will use about 4000 dollars in this way. After which we will decide upon Christians or pastors who will then be able to use the money themselves in the Tohoku region and we will transfer the remaining and any future funds to them.
Our friend Pastor Tokio Tanaka has contacted us. He was trapped for 4 days as the tsunami waters were half way up the second story of his church. He and his wife, were then rescued by an army boat and spent three days in an evacuation center. He is now living in another Holiness church in Sendai city. We praise God for their miracle escape.
Pastor Tokio has the backing of his denomination which is quite strong, so in the coming weeks we will consider whether to send funds to him or to other pastors who are struggling. I am sure they all need it and will be able to use it. We just pray for God's guidance in this area. We have other missionaries reporting to us on the situation and where the money could be most used for relief and ministry in that area.
If anyone wished to help the Japanese church at this time they could do it in the following ways.
- Pray for the above
- Volunteer for ministry in Osaka,Ã‚Â at least 6 months (or two people for three months each). This would enable us to work in the disasterÃ‚Â area.
- Financial assistance in the coming months.
Moriel Japan, Kansai