|Press Release - June 24, 2011 - Supporting Tohoku Pastoral Families|
Based on a report by John Houlette
“Dear Lord, thank you for this food, and please help the families of the people washed away in the tsunami. Amen.” prayed the preschool-aged pastor’s son at the June 16-17 Iwate Pastor’s Retreat.
Staying with his parents at the Morino Kaze Hotel on the outskirts of Morioka, his simple request summed up the deep feelings of pastoral families in Tohoku serving in earthquake relief work. An identical retreat had been held on June 13-14 in Sendai at the Zuiho Hotel in the Akiyu hot springs area. Including pastors and retreat staff, a total of over seventy people attended the two events.
But the unspoken reality was that every pastoral family at these retreats had been serving the needs of Tohoku disaster survivors at some level non-stop for three months, and most were survivors themselves. They also needed survivor care, and these retreats were designed to address that need.
Both retreats were 24-hour events structured around small group sharing of personal experiences and talks by Dr. John Dorlus, the president of STEP Seminary in Haiti, who shared from his experiences in the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Thomas Kim, Executive Director of Churches Helping Churches (CHC). The relaxed schedule, great meals, and time spent in hot springs enhanced the honest and open sharing accompanied by laughter, tears, and prayers. Pastors were given gift bags put together by CRASH Japan staff that included books, hand cream, homemade jam, teas, and Emotional Care Team resources.
Just as those at the retreats represented a broad range of churches, the sponsors themselves represented a broad range of ministries. Soon after the earthquake, CRASH Japan had been instrumental in connecting the USA-based Churches Helping Churches with Japanese churches in the Tohoku area. As a result, CHC had organized this church-to-church event. CRASH Japan was delighted to be able to partner as a sponsor along with Alpha Japan, Asian Access, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, JCGI Network, Kakudai Institute for Missions, and Three Stream Ministries.
The cooperative spirit represented by this joint effort is at the heart of CRASH Japan’s core ministry values: to support local churches in their ability to share the love of Jesus with their local communities in partnership with other ministries.
You too, can support local churches in ministry in the Tohoku area by volunteering with CRASH. The need is great and the opportunities are varied. Would you be able to serve at a base camp? Would you be able to serve at headquarters? Fill out a volunteer application today.