Stories
Disaster Brings Together Two Baseball Teams

On Sunday, September 9, the Onagawa Victory Reds baseball team arrived at Tsukuba Grace Chapel to play a "friendly game" against the Tsukuba Jaguars. After the triple disaster last year, the Tsukuba Jaguars helped CRASH Japan and Tsukuba Grace Chapel bring baseball equipment to the Onagawa Reds, who had lost everything in the tsunami. In May of this year, Tsukuba was also affected by natural disaster as a tornado ravaged the town. The Onagawa Reds saw this as an opportunity to come and encourage the team and town that had helped them the previous year.

The Yomiuri Newspaper -- one of the most prominent papers in Japan -- published that "a Christian volunteer network in Tsukuba put on this event for the children". CRASH provided financial support that helped Tsukuba Grace Chapel provide a very meaningful and fun event for these precious boys. In this picture, CRASH Japan is gladly receiving a special thank you gift from the baseball players. Watch for a video next week featuring this event.

 
Million Cranes for Japan

We are launching an exciting international campaign: "Million Cranes for Japan". The "Million Cranes for Japan" Campaign invites you to volunteer your time by participating with others in the making of origami cranes. While you are making them, pray for Japan. Then give the cranes to family and friends for a donation, perhaps 100 yen or 1 dollar each, and give the money to CRASH to support the vision.

Is there still a need to help Japan?

Soon after the great earthquake on March 11, 2011, CRASH Japan began working to deliver aid and bring hope to survivors in Tohoku. The vision to mobilize thousands of volunteers, establish bases in Tohoku, and support local churches seemed like a pipe dream at the time. But due to an amazing response from Christians in Japan and around the world, CRASH planted five bases in Tohoku and has mobilized almost three thousand volunteers since the disaster! God has used thousands of people like you to bless Japan.

 
Disaster Response Chaplaincy Forum

Because of its location on the Pacific Rim of Fire, the 2011 United Nations World Risk Report rates Japan as one of the top 5 "extremely exposed" countries to natural disaster. The Great East Japan earthquake of 3.11 was unexpected, and the resulting mega disaster was something not even Japan could adequately have prepared for.

The 3.11 earthquake has made Japan an anxious nation, constantly on edge. You can feel it, see it... Earthquakes are common here, and every time things begin to shake there is a moment of pause, a quick glance up at the ceiling and then, after the shaking stops, the shrug of the shoulders and a bit of a sigh of relief.

There is good reason to be concerned. Scientists predict another massive earthquake will hit Japan sometime in the near future. Emergency planners are preparing for various disaster scenarios, including the possibility of a huge number of casualties and devastated cities with very little food and water.

The relatively tiny Christian community of half a million members (less than 1% of the population of Japan) contributed magnificently to the post 3.11 relief effort. Dr. Brian Stiller of the World Evangelical Alliance noted during his visit to the disaster area, that the church in Japan has proven to be "punching above its weight". But there is a growing awareness and sense of urgency that the church, as a whole, needs to be much better prepared for the future.

Under the leadership of the Japan Evangelical Association (JEA), the Disaster Response Christian Network of East Japan (DRCNet) is coordinating vital preparation for future disasters in Japan. One initiative is the training of Disaster Response Chaplains. These chaplains utilize specialized training in crisis intervention to provide spiritual and emotional care for survivors.

This past July, leaders from the Salvation Army Japan, World Relief USA, Humanitarian Disaster Institute of Wheaton College USA, and CRASH Japan gathered for a Disaster Response Chaplain forum in Tokyo. Japanese pastors and lay leaders met with these groups to explore international models of disaster response spiritual care. Based on the energy and success of this event, a second forum is planned for November of 2012. The first official training seminar is slated to begin in February 2013. The ongoing vision will be to conduct chaplaincy training seminars across the nation for both pastors and laity.

Reverend Kenichi Shinagawa, General Secretary of the JEA, is hoping this initiative will help the church continue to establish its reputation as a place "where people's spiritual and emotional needs are cared for". Jonathan Wilson, President of CRASH Japan similarly states that "Christians are known and respected around the world for being pioneers in spiritual and emotional care".

One of the critical implications of this developing DRCNet model in Japan is the impact it may have on the wider Asian Christian response to disasters. Representatives from countries like the Philippines (which ranks number 3 on the United Nations Disaster World Risk Chart) will be invited to the February Seminar to act as observers.

This initiative needs your prayer and financial support. For more details regarding the forum, please read our summary of the events.

 
Crafting New Life

It's hard to know where to start the rebuilding process in a town as thoroughly devastated as Shizugawa, but Oasis Life Care has an idea; leather crafting. For over six months, survivors have been meeting weekly to produce elegant leather crafts and accessories that are sold throughout Japan and all over the world. But more importantly, the gatherings provide a place to socialize, to share stories and needs, and to find support in moving towards healing and hope.

"All of us have lost houses, family, friends... but we still need to find a way to make a living somehow," says Suzuki Nobuko, a resident of Shizugawa. "The Oasis people have given us something that anybody can participate in, and that everybody can be proud of."

Oasis Life Care staff Kokubun Keisuke is grateful for the community and fellowship that takes place at the Shizugawa Leather Craft events. He also sees the potential for growth, as major department stores have already been requesting the Shizugawa Leather Craft products. "The best thing people can do to support us is to purchase our products, or to send encouraging words to the survivors who are making the leather crafts. We would also love advice from anybody who has expertise in leather, or from marketing and sales professionals."

To purchase Shizugawa Leather Craft products or to send encouragement, please directly contact Oasis Life Care at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Unfortunately, Oasis Life Care does not currently ship Shizugawa products overseas.
Oasis Life Care website: http://oasislifecare.org
Or, visit tinyurl.com/shizugawajp to view samples of the beautiful accessories.

To support CRASH Japan partner programs such as Shizugawa Leather Craft, click here to donate.

 
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