CRASH Japan - Christian Disaster Relief
Hurricane in Kyuushu

Within 24 hours, Yabakeimachi in Nakatsu, Oita received 250.5 mm of precipitation, and Soemachi, Fukuoka received 174 mm. Evacuation warnings were given to 6000 homes in Oita, which includes over 17,000 people. These orders were removed on the afternoon of the 4th, and currently only 17 families (68 people) are under voluntary evacuation. In Fukuoka, all 2828 families (7634 people) in Haki, 48 families (154 people) in Tanushimaru, Kurume, have received evacuation warnings which will remain in place until at least the morning of the 5th. Please pray for those affected.

Interview with Pastor Fujiwara

Rev. Fujiwara (Ph.D) pastors Covenant of Grace Church in Tokyo and is Professor of Theology at Seigakuin University General Research Institute. Last month he came to CRASH Japan HQ in Tokyo and gave an encouraging message for our morning chapel time. Afterwards we interviewed him about his experiences and thoughts on relief, Japan, and faith. A respected scholar, Dr. Fujiwara has written an important book called "Theology of Culture in a Japanese Context".

How does volunteering in Tohoku relate to the life and teaching of Jesus?
Jesus told us to do good work. So there is no question that we should participate in volunteer work within Tohoku -- as well as in other places.

And what do you mean by good work?
Any kind of good work. In the beatitudes he said that we do good work so that the name of the Father will be glorified. So we have to. We have no choice. We cannot serve God without serving people.

I am part of the Purpose Driven Fellowship Japan Committee. Saddleback Church sent two or three pastors right after the earthquake. On the 22nd of March, 2011, we held a networking meeting. Pastor Hari (of the CB church in Tokyo) came and spoke for CRASH. Purpose Driven Fellowship Japan held a counseling seminar the second week of April in Tokyo and Nagoya about what we can do when disaster strikes. We held three retreats, inviting pastors to come. We do that kind of work as well.

It has been more than 150 years since the Protestant mission started in Japan. But fewer than 1% of the Japanese population is Christian. And there is much conflict within the one percent, with little cooperation. But now we realize that we must work together, because people see us as Christian. We are Christians. We need to give the same voice.

Iwaki Field Office Opens

Exterior of the new field office

In the first 15 months following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a crucial part of CRASH Japan's effectiveness in Tohoku was 5 strategically positioned bases. The bases have enabled CRASH to develop long term, trusting relationships with survivors and with ministries throughout Tohoku, and to better understand needs that are changing.

As CRASH aims to empower churches and ministries to serve Tohoku in the "partnership phase," new offices have been opened in Koriyama and in Iwaki. This will increase the human aspect of CRASH Japan's efforts in Fukushima, and help to plant a Christian presence in an area that still needs support.

Takanori Kanari, pastor of Uchigou Christ Gospel Church in Iwaki, Fukushima recently expressed his gratitude for CRASH's presence in Iwaki. "The city of Iwaki, as well as CERS Net, has been helped by the Hitachi Base many times. Every week we've had volunteers come who were very faithful to the needs of the local people and churches. We've become like a family with them, and we share one faith and heart in this ministry. We are excited for these volunteers to be working in Iwaki with us in close proximity, and are very hopeful about the future."

Serving Through Tradition

With all of the gifted volunteers willing to serve in Japan, CRASH Japan is sometimes able to channel unique talents and skill sets into their outreach events. One volunteer, Yukiko Hirano, has practiced Japanese tea ceremony for over 40 years. She was delighted to have the opportunity to serve survivors of the great earthquake and tsunami, who are now living in temporary housing.

Hirano-san sees many similarities between Japanese tea ceremony and the Christian faith. The cloth that goes around the waist of the person performing the ceremony is much like the cloth Christ wore around his waist when he washed the feet of his disciples. It is meant to signify servanthood, and a position of humility.

In this special volunteer portrait video, you can see the beauty and grace of Hirano-san's art. Your prayer and donations continue to make it possible for CRASH to connect with survivors in a meaningful way. Thank you for the support.

Prayer Points (2012 June 14)

Volunteers are the cornerstone of CRASH's vision. Since the earthquake hit, we have had many people within Japan and from overseas sacrifice their time and energy to work as volunteers. Their perseverance to do the most intense work, their faith in the hope that God will bring, and their humility to put in 100% even to the most unglamorous of jobs, enables CRASH to function.

We request special prayer for one of our volunteers in Miyagi, who was involved in an accident. On June 13th, a male volunteer, 54, fell from scaffolding and broke bones in both his heels. He was serving with a partner program in Ishinomaki, as part of a Church Team. After being taken to a local hospital in Miyagi, the doctors decided he should receive surgery closer to home. Currently he is back in Chiba and will undergo surgery today or tomorrow. The doctors anticipate that full recovery will take three months. Please pray for him and his teammates, for speedy recovery, and for God to show us His grace, love, and provision.

Tono Base:
  • The staff would like prayer for wisdom and discernment on how best to proceed with transitioning Hope Café to outdoor activities. The benefit would be a potential increase in the men participating; the downside would be that the change may affect the atmosphere established from the indoor activities. Please pray for apt and appropriate preparation and open hearts among the people to welcome new activities.

Ichinoseki Base:
  • Please pray for the EPMC team as some of them are experiencing allergic symptoms.

Sendai Base:
  • Sendai Base is planning to accept American volunteers this summer to work on Ouchi's farm and to do manual labor in the Tona area; however, such work has to be stopped when it rains. Rain is necessary for the crops, so please pray that it is sunny on days we are scheduled to work outside and that it rains on days when no outside work is scheduled. This Saturday and next Wednesday and Thursday are scheduled days for working in the Ouchi's fields.

Iwaki Office / Koriyama Office:
  • Please continue to keep our two field offices in your prayers! They are cleaning, preparing the office (furnishing, organizing), and networking. Please pray for continued strength as the staff establishes the offices.

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