Japan Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Committee. Photo by Sendai-Taitomi baptist church'es Sunday worship on March 13.
2011年 03月 21日
March 21st, Monday, 7:00am
Report no.3 from Rev. Noguchi of the second rescue team:
1). Rev. Noguchi attended worship at Taitomi Church (they lack water and are living in difficult conditions, but they shared prayers and testimonies of life with each other).
2). Dr. Hamano attended worship at Sendai Church (it began with prayers of grief, but ended with prayers calling on the name of the Lord).
3). Dr. Hamano visited Sendai Kita Church and teamed up with Rev. Noguchi.
4). They visited Nankoudai Church (Rev. Hanae Igata; she was very excited when a tiny amount of water started flowing from the faucet) and they prayed together.
5). We had a meeting with Rev. Shibata at the Japan Christ Kyodan Tohoku Parish Center “Emao.”
6). We prayed at Kouriyama Cosmos Street Church, picked up 6 people, and left for the JBC office.
7). At 10:00pm the JBC van, with the 6 people from Kouriyama Cosmos Street Church, arrived at the JBC office. They went to bed immediately.
We visited the 6 places listed above, dropped off supplies, and prayed with them.
9:28am Report no.2 from Rev. Noguchi of the second rescue team:
President Nagamachi of the Kita Kanto Area Association reported that there are churches and homes in Tokyo, as well as in other areas, preparing to receive church members and relatives from the Tohoku region.
March 20th, Sunday, 7:58am
Report no.1 from Rev. Noguchi of the second rescue team:
At 8:20am yesterday, the second rescue team of 5 cars took the Tohoku highway and visited the churches listed below.
The following are reports mainly from the Noguchi team, and the Hamano team:
1). Visited the Japan Baptist Union's Nishikiori Baptist Church (this church is going out to a shelter in Minami Sanriku daily to help support them).
2). Visited Japan Christ Kyodan's Ishinomaki Church and its kindergarten (introduced to us by the Tohoku Student Center “Emao”).
3). Visited the home of the JBC's Head Accountant Sato in Ishinomaki City (Mr. Sato was unsure of his parents' situation, but we were able to confirm that they were unharmed).
4). Visited with Rev. Naoki Noguchi of Yoshioka Mission Point (he's doing well).
5). Visited with Rev. Sumio Kaneko (his entire family is fine).
We visited these five places, gave them supplies and prayed with them.
The other 4 vehicles delivered supplies and went home. The latest team returned home at 2:00am on the 20th.
Today, the Noguchi and Hamano teams attended worship services at Taitomi Church and Sendai Church, respectively, and will visit Sendai Kita Church and Nankoudai Church.
They will go by Kouriyama Cosmos Street Church and pick up 6 refugees and return to the JBC office.
Please pray for this work.
2011年 03月 21日
Since many of you are worried for us on account of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, let me make a report.
Compared to other areas that were damaged by the earthquake, our church's situation is not as serious. Last week running water came back on, and we have been able to buy things in a local supermarket. Rescue supplies have been delivered to Kouriyama City, but there is no way to deliver them to the coastal towns, so supplies are piling up in shelters.
So we have been able to go on with our lives, but we are concerned about the nuclear power plant.
Currently, the amount of radiation in Kouriyama City is not so high, and we are not technically prohibited from going outside, but local government officials encourage us not to go out unless absolutely necessary. Our uncertainty is increased by the direction of the wind and the condition of the nuclear power plant. But people in Kouriyama try to accept this situation as calmly as possible.
We, as a church, try to be careful when we go outside, and pay close attention to the situation. Due to the shortage of gasoline, we are considering asking people to pray at their homes on Wednesday nights instead of coming to the church for a prayer meeting, but we have decided to have worship in church every Sunday.
One thing to say about our church is that our congregation includes a pregnant woman and some elementary school-age children, so we decided to have them evacuated to the JBC office temporarily. We are grateful for the JBC's kindness.
As you can see, our church is currently under a unique kind of tension. However, we are supported by many prayers and we are grateful.
Today we gathered together for worship, and as I looked around at the congregants, it touched my heart to see their willingness to worship the Lord under such difficult conditions, and I felt encouraged. One member of our church was ordered by his company to evacuate from the prefecture, but still 27 people gathered together for worship.
We continue praying daily to seek how to accept this situation and what to do next (surely everyone living in affected areas feels something similar). I believe that even a time and situation such as this are within God's sovereignty.
Each damaged area has its own issues, and each church is wrestling with those issues. Please continue to pray for us.
2011年 03月 19日
7:25pm Report from a representative of the Disaster Relief Headquarters, Rev. Kato (excerpts from a letter sent to churches throughout Japan):
Outline of the situation to this point
1). Churches from the Tohoku Area Association, the Kita Kanto Area Association (especially Ibaraki Prefecture), and the Tokyo Area Association (especially Chiba Prefecture) experienced earthquakes measuring from 6 to 7 on the shindo scale.
We were unable to reach the Sendai area by phone until the 14th. We were greatly concerned, but none of the church buildings were severely damaged.
Some churches were unable to confirm the safety of all of their members, but to this point, no physical injuries have been reported.
2). With the severe cold weather and food shortages in mind, we began preparations to send supplies as soon as we could, with support from the Kita Kanto Area Association. However, we have not been able to help them directly since the highways are blocked, gasoline and supplies are lacking even in the Tokyo area, and the situation around the nuclear power plant is worsening.
3). On the 13th (Sunday) we sent 2 vans carrying 6 members of the BWAid rescue team “Rescue 24,” including members of their press department, driven by 2 attendees of the ministerial training program (held from March 10-11 at the JBC office) who have to this point been unable to return to their homes (Morioka Church and Sendai Church).
4). On the 16th (Thursday) we intended to send 3 vans of relief supplies gathered from churches of the Kita Kanto Area Association. However, as a safety precaution in light of the snowy road conditions, we were able to send only one van, via Niigata, Yamagata, and on to Sendai.
5). Tomorrow, on the 19th (Saturday) we will send 4 vans with relief supplies to Sendai and Ishimaki.
6). Also, on the 15th (Wednesday) in the middle of the night, Rev. Masayoshi Fukuda of Hakodate Mihara Church was sent off with prayers from his church members, and took a ferry to visit churches in Aomori and Iwate. Those churches did not have major damage to their church buildings, but because of the tsunami, ports were severely damaged. We are reminded of the importance of praying face to face with our brokenhearted brothers and sisters in Christ in the Tohoku region after such a disaster.
Rescue and Support from this point
1). In response to a request from JBC churches in the Sendai area to “please send relief supplies to the areas that need them most urgently,” we will dedicate a two-week period, starting today, to emergency support, and we will continue to send supplies not only to JBC churches, but also to other local churches already engaged in relief work, and shelters that require more food. Our goal will be to send supplies 4 times a week.
This will be done with the full support of the Kita Kanto Area Association.
2). We will continue to support those churches that are engaged in supporting affected areas.
3). Norcross Japanese Baptist Church of the United States will send their pastor, Rev. Sakamaki for two weeks (arriving on the 24th). The JBC will send him to Sendai to continue our research into which areas to support and how best to do so. We will support those areas, groups, and shelters (including homeless shelters) that are having difficulty receiving support from municipal offices.
4). We will continue to consider what types of support are needed for those people in the Kita Kanto and Tokyo areas who, although not directly impacted by the disaster, lost their jobs as a result of it, and those foreigners living in the Tokyo area who require assistance.
5). For those churches concerned about radiation damage to children and pregnant women, we will provide the JBC office as a shelter and we will provide transportation to the office.
6). When sending volunteers, we will pay careful attention to the ongoing reports of radiation damage and send them with extra caution.
7). The JBC Sexual Discrimination Issues Committee will send a request to the government that initiatives be taken toward preventing sexual violence within shelters such as that which occurred following the Hanshin/Awaji (Kobe) earthquake.
8). The Texas State Convention offered their support, and they will send Rev. Yutaka Takarada of North Texas Japanese Church, along with 2 specialists, next week, and we will collaborate with them.
9). There are many Japan Baptist Union (JBU) churches in the Tohoku area, so we will work closely with them as we support the victims of this disaster.
The Okinawa Convention (OBC) has already sent financial support to the JBU and the JBC. We hope to unify our efforts and prayers, especially at a time like this, as “the 3 Baptists” of Japan.
10). In light of daily requests for information and offers to send financial support from foreign countries, we will continue to share information and prayer requests.
11). After the initial period of urgent relief work (1 month) we will make plans to support affected churches and areas in the mid- and long-terms.
Report from Rev. Fukuda of Hakodate:
Morioka Church (Morioka City):
Met with Revs. Masato and Ayako Osuga. Confirmed that all members are uninjured. Many are from the Sanriku area, and they are all worried for their hometowns.
The earthquake (experienced here as 6 on the shindo scale) caused a significant crack in the church building, and just prior to the earthquake heavy snow destroyed the roof of the pastorate.
Electricity, natural gas, and running water are all back on. The gasoline shortage is very severe (it seems to be completely unavailable all over the city). Food is scarce.
As details regarding the damage in their prefecture trickle in, their feelings of shock and fatigue increase.
Routes to the Sanriku area have been cleared, but only emergency vehicles are allowed to use them.
It has been reported that the Kita Kanto Area Association team entered the Sendai area. Rev. Fukuda decided not to go any further south and donated some gasoline to this church.
Morioka City is not often featured in the media, but they lack supplies necessary to their daily lives.
Also, Mr. and Mrs. Osuga were concerned that rescue supplies were not reaching Fukushima Prefecture because of the media coverage of the incident at the nuclear power plant, and they were greatly concerned about the conditions in Kouriyama City and Fukushima City.
Rev. Fukuda went back to Aomori from Morioka and then took a ferry back to Hakodate.
March 18th, 9:30pm: Rev. Fukuda returned home safely and would like to thank everyone for your prayers, from the bottom of his heart.
6:15pm From the Disaster Relief Headquarters:
The first-response emergency-supply transport team (one car, Mr. Ishii and Mr. Okada) of the Kita Kanto Area Association just returned at midnight on the 17th.
They visited churches in Sendai City and delivered supplies to them. They informed us that kerosene, food, and very basic supplies related to daily life and hygiene are needed.
They travelled a route first through Niigata, then Yamagata, and then on to Sendai. On their way home they experienced a heavy blizzard that caused low visibility and dangerous conditions.
Tomorrow, a second supply transport team consisting of four cars (personnel: Noguchi, Hamano, Takebayashi, Okada, Fukuda, and Andou) will depart.
Many have expressed their concern about the radiation leak from the nuclear power plant. The team will secure their safety to the best of their ability.
Regarding supplies, requests change from day to day.
As of March 17th, they need kerosene, portable stoves and their gas canisters, food, powdered milk, wet tissues, diapers, maxi-pads, etc.
Information Regarding Members of Sendai Church:
Sendai Church was able to confirm that all of their members were uninjured (73 active members).
2011年 03月 19日
ankoudai Church and its pastorate were completely undamaged. I am very happy we were able to complete the church building 3 years ago, and the retaining wall (a protective wall around the foundation) 2 years ago. We are still unable to reach 3 of our church members. We continue to pray that they were able to evacuate to a safe place, out of the tsunami's reach. All other members are fine. On the 13th, we were able to have a worship service with some evacuees from the community. There were cries of “Lord, why?” and prayers expressing our inability to take even a step without faith. It was a tense service. I was grateful that we were able to express all of our cries and hopes toward God with that tension. Our sanctuary has served as a shelter since just after the earthquake, and at one point, 22 people were living there. Now there are 7 or 8 families, including 3 church members. There is also a 91-year-old woman there. We had only candlelight for 4 days. We are still without running water and natural gas, but we have been able to cook since we have propane tanks. The reality is that the victims of this disaster have the least access to information about it. As aftershocks continued over several days we gradually started to understand the bigger picture. Around that time, some children who had been living in the sanctuary and some church members with children decided to leave for Yamagata and Niigata Prefectures, due to the dangerous radiation. We stayed indoors for 2 days or so, but on Thursday we found some people who needed water and food in our community, so we were unable to avoid exposure to the rain, snow and the outside air. We had a discussion with other refugees and decided to deliver the necessary goods to those who needed them most. Then we asked some current and former volunteer social workers to find out about what was needed, and we began our support work. The worst cases involve people without access to food or water. Those cases include one elderly person who is being supported by another elderly person, elderly couples, a family with a handicapped person, a person with very little strength who lives alone, and people who are struggling financially, who are able to walk around but are unable to afford the currently overpriced food. We will continue to support those who are most familiar with the needs of the community and those who are helping others on a volunteer basis.
he tsunami damage is severe. Maybe “severe” is not a strong enough word.... You who are able to watch television probably know more about it than we do. Today we heard stories from a church member's brother, whose house was totally destroyed. They showed us pictures; the situation is just beyond our comprehension. Rescue workers came and searched the area for anyone who might still be living under the wreckage, and they told us that there will be many dead bodies found in those areas where the tsunami hit. We heard that in one town, because rescue workers have not yet reached it, high school students are collecting bodies. We do not know what to say.
With thanks for prayer and support.
2011年 03月 17日
Report from Rev. Noguchi of Yoshioka Mission Point:
Yoshioka has regained all utilities. I am able to sleep in the sanctuary, cook, and do laundry. It is 25km to Sendai City, and 30km to the coastline that was damaged by the tsunami.
This place can be used as a base. We do not have kerosene, therefore we are without heat. We have no means of transportation due to the gasoline shortage.
Please carefully consider the difficulties presented by transportation in trying to reach heavily damaged areas. I think victims will be more at ease if volunteers can wear some kind of clear indication that they are with the JBC.
Report from Rev. Fukuda of the Hakodate team:
Same Church of Hachinohe City:
I met with Rev. Kenichi Hayashi. He was able to confirm that all church members and their relatives were uninjured. Five members were severely impacted by the tsunami (workplaces were destroyed, etc).
Rev. Hayashi was worried for their livelihoods in the future. Hachinohe City was heavily damaged, especially the port district, industrial district, and fishing facilities.
The tsunami destroyed their seawalls, so each time they experience an aftershock they are afraid that a tsunami might hit them again.
The church building does not have any visible damage. Electricity, natural gas and running water are available now, but the lack of gasoline is severe. Food supplies are scarce.
There are 3 shelters in the city, but the number of people staying in them is gradually decreasing.
Hachinohe Church of Hachinohe City:
Met with Rev. Yoshio Kabutoya. Confirmed that all church members and relatives are uninjured. Two members experienced the disasters in Sendai and were not able to return to Hachinohe for a while.
There are church-related people living in the most severely damaged area along the Pacific Coast. There is no visible damage to the church building.
The media tends to feature the more severely damaged areas in their reports, but the tsunami damage in Hachinohe is also extensive.
One fortunate thing is that injuries and deaths seem to have been minimal in this area.
Hachinohe is the gateway to the north part of the Sanriku coastline. Route 45 has been cleared all the way to Kuji City (Iwate Prefecture), which was greatly damaged by the tsunami.
I think that Hachinohe could possibly be the base for our activities in the north part of the Tohoku region.
I will gather more information in Hachinohe and then depart for Morioka. I often experience aftershocks. Please pray.
Report from Mr. Okada and Mr. Ishii from the Kita Kanto Area first-response rescue team:
All utilities are back on around Taitomi Church. There are no shelters, but their biggest problem now is that they have no means of transportation.
2011年 03月 16日
From President Toh of the Fukuoka Area Association:
We established a Disaster Relief Committee under the General Affairs Department of the Fukuoka Area Association to be a point of contact as we exchange information and correspondence with the Disaster Relief Headquarters of the JBC.
We appointed Rev. Hiroshi Harada of Fukuoka Church as the leader of this committee, and Rev. Hiroki Nonaka of Tosu Church and Rev. Toh of Nakagawa Mission Point as members.
From the President of Misawa Church's Men's Group, Mr. Komukai:
A report on receiving a visitor from Hakodate:
Rev. Sasaki of Aomori Church informed me by phone that Rev. Masayoshi Fukuda of Hakodate Mihara Church entered this prefecture as a part of the JBC's emergency response.
About 1.5 hours later, Rev. Fukuda arrived at a Misawa Area Church by car.
1). The damage to Misawa Church is minimal, but he checked on our needs and requests.
2). I Contacted Komatsugaoka Mission Point (Rev. Horigome), and took Rev. Fukuda there. On our way there, we encountered a long line of gasoline trucks at the gas station.
We arrived at Komatsugaoka Mission Point and checked on their situation with Rev. Horigome.
3). We departed for Calvary Baptist Church, checked on their situation and discussed their needs with Rev. Armand and his wife.
By the time Rev. Fukuda visited the three churches in the Misawa area, it was after 2:00pm, and he departed for Same Church in Hachinohe.
※Gasoline will soon run out. I was most concerned with Rev. Fukuda's plan from this point, but a car is the only means of transportation available.
A cold front hit this area yesterday, and the weather is bad, including flurries. I thought it very important for him to ensure safety in travel.
I have been praying that God will open a path for Rev. Fukuda and the victims of the disaster, as the Lord made a path for Moses and the people of Israel in the Old Testament, who, followed by an army, walked along the bottom of the sea.
Also, this has made me think about what we could do.
A Report from the Kita Kanto Area Association Team:
The first team that we sent arrived safely in Sendai City at 7:50pm, and visited several churches.
Currently, we are providing supplies such as medicine, kerosene, cup noodles, vacuum-sealed food, canned food, paper plates and cups, batteries, heat packs, wet tissues, gasoline, maxi-pads, surgical masks, etc.
The team will spend the night at Nankoudai Church. They will deliver those supplies to the neighborhood shelters.
※Many thanks to Urawa Church and the Town Committee of Tokiwa's 7th District for their support of this team.
※Due to the given traffic conditions, the amount of rescue supplies is limited. Also, please understand that it is difficult to provide supplies steadily. -The Disaster Relief Headquarters-
A Report from Rev. Fukuda in Hakodate:
Met with Mr. and Mrs. Akimasa Sasaki. All church members are uninjured. There are cracks on the outer wall of the building, but no major problems.
Aomori City has recovered electricity, natural gas, and running water. They lack gasoline, bread, milk, etc. There is no shelter in the city.
They want to do something for the impacted areas, but they don't have gasoline, so they can't even get there.
Met with the church secretary, Mr. Komukai. Confirmed that all church members and relatives are fine. No damage to the church building.
Misawa City was damaged when the tsunami hit the Misawa fishing port. Electricity, natural gas, and running water are all back on. They lack gasoline. Food supplies are scarce. There is no shelter in the city.
Komatsugaoka Mission Point:
Met with Rev. Jujiro Horigome. Confirmed that all church members and relatives are uninjured. No damage to the church building. They hosted about 15 people from the neighborhood for two days after the earthquake.
There are many elderly people in the neighborhood without any relatives. They want to be of help.
Met with Mr. and Mrs. Armand Jalbert. Confirmed that all church members and relatives are uninjured. One member's fishing business lost its building in the tsunami.
Starting today, the church will host about 65 foreign English teachers from the Sendai area. There are many offers from America to help out financially and to send personnel.
They would like to make the best use of these offers in cooperation with the JBC.
(The work of Rev. Fukuda is supported by the prayers of Hakodate Mihara Church, the Hokkaido Area Association, and the JBC. Please continue to pray.)
Announcement from Secretary Murakami of the Women's Union and Coordinator Enomoto of the Missions Department:
We would like to announce that after discussion we decided to postpone until next year both the All-Japan Children's Camp and the Leadership Training Program that were scheduled to take place at the end of this month.
Next year, incoming 5th, 6th and 7th graders will be able to attend this camp (to include this years incoming 6th graders, since they will be unable to attend this time).
The Women's Union and the JBC will cover any cancellation fees incurred on tickets for either the camp or the training program.
Detailed information will be mailed out from the Women's Union.
From the Disaster Relief Headquarters:
・It has been reported to us that Rev. Fukuda has arrived in Aomori from Hakodate. Please pray.
・Today, around noon, a team made up largely of members of the Kita Kanto Area Association will depart with food and supplies. They will go to Sendai City via Niigata. Please pray.
From the Disaster Relief Headquarters:
Last year we learned in a symposium held in Kobe that there have been occurrences of sexual violence, such as rape and domestic violence in refugee environments, and it is especially difficult for women and sexual minorities in such circumstances. We feel the need to implement the advice of those who experienced the Hanshin/Awaji (Kobe) earthquake.
The JBC Sexual Issues Committee is preparing to send out memos on this subject, but the following links offer some basic information that should be widely known:
We consider it necessary that the following be widely known:
1). Government administrators should act with this information in mind.
2). The media should report incidents of sexual violence openly.
3). Current refugees should be given information from former victims.
From Rev. Fukuda of Mihara Hakodate Church (partially revised by the JBC):
1). A prayer meeting will be held on the 15th at 8:00pm to send me off.
2). I will take a ferry from Hakodate to Aomori, leaving at 3:00am on the 16th. I should arrive in Aomori at 6:40am.
3). From that morning, I will visit as many of the following as possible: Aomori Church, Calvary Church, Komatsugaoka Mission Point, Misawa Church, Hachinohe Church, Same Church, and Morioka Church.
4). I will check on the safety of church members and their relatives, observe the condition of that area, gather requests from those churches, observe the conditions in shelters in the area, and I will pray with people. I will find out whether those churches have specific plans for the near future.
5). This time I am going alone. I wanted to go with other church members and Rev. Honda of Hakodate Church, but after packing gasoline tanks, a sleeping bag, and food, only one of us could fit in the car.
From the Disaster Relief Headquarters
2011年 03月 15日
From President Jeon of the Hokkaido Association:
We had a meeting with leaders from other Hokkaido churches.
We established the Hokkaido Association Tohoku Kanto Earthquake Support Committee (Hokkaido Baptist Association Committee).
President Jeon is the contact person. He will collect information through Rev. Masayoshi Fukuda and share that with the pastors of churches and mission points in the area association.
We will probably receive information from impacted areas, and with prayers, we will continue discussions with the JBC concerning what should be done in the long term, and we will send personnel to impacted areas. Thank you for all your good work.
From Rev. Chuujou of Mishima Church:
Just now, a big earthquake occurred in the eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture. Mishima experienced it as 4 or 5 on the shindo scale.
Because the church is built on a hill, it shook violently, but there was no apparent damage.
Books and documents scattered everywhere, plates nearly fell from shelves.
Today, we were scheduled to have a blackout from 7:00-9:00pm, so it would have been worse if the quake had happened during that time.
We don't know about the condition of church members yet, but we are praying for their safety.
Fujinomiya experienced the quake the strongest: 6 on the shindo scale (west of Mt. Fuji).
From Rev. Ito of Fujiyoshida Church:
It shook violently (shindo 5). Dishes broke, but the building seems fine.
Aftershocks continued, and it was terrifying.
From the Headquarters for Disaster Relief
Today, the area around the JBC office is scheduled to have a blackout (ending at 9:00pm).
From Rev. Uchida, head of the “Handicapped Persons And The Church” Committee (excerpt):
We decided to postpone the open forum committee meeting that was scheduled for March 21st at Naha Shintoshin Mission Point due to ongoing aftershocks and the situation around the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and since half of the committee members are pastors in the affected churches.
To those who were considering attending this meeting, and to those who were praying for this meeting, we apologize. We ask for your understanding and continued prayers.
We will reschedule the meeting and announce it soon.
From Rev. Fujii of Sakata Nozomi Christ Mission Point:
Because I am unable to reach some Tohoku Area Association churches by phone, I would like to make an announcement here.
The Tohoku Area Association youth retreat scheduled for March 24-26 has been cancelled since the host church, Nankoudai Church, has been effected by this disaster.
By the way, I was able to reach Rev. Suzuki of Kouriyama, but due to the nuclear power plant situation, he has to remain inside at all times. In addition, they are without running water. Please pray for them.
2011年 03月 14日
BWAid (World Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Committee, Hungary Baptist Convention) made a report on disaster
relief activity in Japan.
Detailed report from Fukushima Asahimachi Church:
There were 30 people at the church kindergarten/education center on the day of the earthquake. When the earthquake occurred, students and teachers sat down and prayed “Dear Jesus” on the first floor of the kindergarten, and on the first floor of the education center there were 8 teachers and students. On the second floor of the education center there were 6 teachers and students.
Just after the earthquake occurred, we have been in contact with the parents concerning their enrolled children, and discussion is ongoing with a nearby elementary school concerning how best to move forward at the education center. We are currently hosting 10 children at the church. In fact, yesterday, for the first time we realized that the church building was damaged.
The concrete wall around our property was partially damaged. The sanctuary is cracked and damaged. One side of a wall in the education center collapsed. A tree was knocked over.
Rev. Kokubo, the principal of the kindergarten, a representative of the education center, and others (around 10 people), Sunday school teachers, and kindergarten teachers are working very hard every day at church.
We appreciate all of the encouragement from so many people since the earthquake.
We pray that the Lord will comfort you all.
On Sunday we had 32 people in worship, but due to a lack of water, we had to postpone the baptism that was scheduled for that day.
Also, a wedding was scheduled for next week, but it also has been postponed. People who live far from the church were unable to attend, but we had a time of testimony and prayer.
Two people evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture, Minamisouma City, and they attended worship. One person from Sendai was also in attendance.
Some members have relatives in tsunami- and power-plant-effected areas, so we are busy at church daily.
Today we were without running water, so pastors had to go get water, paying attention to how the situation is developing. The graduation ceremony has been postponed from the 12th to the 19th.
On the day of the earthquake, 30 students' parents came to church for help, and we provided hot meals, prayed with them, and set up a temporary children's tent.
Please continue to pray for us.
From the Kita Kanto Area Association Disaster Relief Committee Chairman, Rev. Nagamachi:
On Wednesday the 16th, we will start delivering food, sanitary goods, electric generators, sleeping bags, etc. Three cars will leave for Sendai.
However, we do not have enough gasoline. If you have any gasoline in portable cans, we need 300 liters.
Please contact me for details about when and how.
Also, we need a driver. Please let me know. It will be a 2-day, 1-night trip.
Send an email to Mr. Tadashi Andou firstname.lastname@example.org
From Rev. Hayashi of Same Church:
Gasoline and food are running short, and as a result of the instability of electricity I am unable to contact anyone.In Sendai City, Wakabayashi area will not be provided food, starting tonight.
From Rev. Yasushi Kitajima concerning Aomori Church:
I was able to reach Mrs. Fukuda just now, and have been informed that Mr. and Mrs. Fukuda, along with other church members, are uninjured, and that the church building was undamaged.I and my family are all fine. We continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Tohoku churches.
I have visited Shiogama Church and other JBU (Japan Baptist Union) churches as a part of my responsibilities as a Baptist historian. I am worried for them.
From Rev. Hayashi of Same Church:
At 11:30am, we had a tsunami warning.It has not yet been called off. Please pray.
Apparently one church member was able to reach her friend in Sendai, Wakamatsu Ward, by email.People in that area lack food, and the providing of food will be stopped tonight. This is a serious situation.Among Same's church members, there are people who cannot reach their relatives or friends in Iwate and Miyagi. Please pray.
From Rev. Suzuki of Kouriyama Cosmos Street Church (by telephone, received 10:00am):
We are cleaning up the inside of our house. The house beams are not damaged, so the damage can be repaired.Running water is unavailable in some areas. We have propane gas tanks, so we are able to use gas for now.School has been cancelled for today and tomorrow. We are greatly concerned about the nuclear power plant, but the TV is our only source of information.We shared konbu (seaweed) with church members, and ate it together.The kindergarten at Asahimachi Church is open, but most children have not shown up.
From Trustee Nonaka of Tosu Church (by telephone):
Reactor #3 of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is becoming more and more dangerous.As you send volunteers, please pay close attention to this. Depending on the direction of the wind, it can cause more disasters.
From the head of the JBC office:
We will continue to send out information on this website. Especially those people from the Tohoku Area Association should check back regularly.
Please understand that we will be unable to update this website due to blackouts, or other unforeseen circumstances, from time to time.
When communications are down, please contact Mr. Noguchi's cellphone: 090-4441-9166 terimemu-zf6-noguchi (this is an au cellphone) @ezweb.ne.jp
Especially those in areas whose disasters were broadcast on TV or radio should make an effort to contact us.
An announcement from the Japan Baptist Womens' Union and the Missions Department of the JBC:
Concerning the nation-wide Kohitsujikai (“Little Lambs” = Children) Camp at the Amagi Assembly, we will decide whether it will be held according to our original plan based on the circumstances in the churches. We will announce our decision on the morning of Wednesday, the 16th.
Thank you for your understanding. Please send our regards to affected children.
Thank you for your concern about Calvary Baptist Church, Misawa. We are all safe.
The earthquake was strong but there was no damage.
Our hearts ache because of the suffering of so many people in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, and many thousands of Christians in the United States are praying for Japan.
Is the Japan Baptist Convention able to help in the disaster relief?
If so, what can we do to help? We have churches in the United States who want to help and asked what they can do.
They want to help through Baptist churches or Christian organizations and can send money to help purchase necessary supplies.
If there is something we can do to help please let me know. Thank you.
God bless you and your ministry
Armand Jalbert, pastor Calvary Baptist Church, Misawa
From Mr. Kanno of Yamagata Church:
We are deeply grateful for all the prayers from all over Japan concerning this unprecedented, huge earthquake.
Although we had a difficult day and night, fortunately Yamagata Church was able to make sure that all of our members are fine, and no injuries have been reported. Yesterday, the attendance for worship was about 2/3rds of our normal number, but we were able to worship and pray together.
In the afternoon, we were able to visit those people who live alone and the sick, and check on them. We thanked God together. Thank you for your prayers.
We are still unable to get in touch with people in the Sendai area. As we get more information, our hearts ache more and more. All we can do is pray that helping hands will reach out as soon as possible.
(Last night I was relieved to hear that a sister from Sendaikita Church has evacuated to a shelter. I was informed of this by a relative in Yamagata, but I am unsure of others.)
This morning it was been broadcasted that Yamagata Prefecture will set up a base for disaster relief supplies. Since we live next to Miyagi Prefecture, which received the most damage, we have been thinking about what we can do as a church.
We do not have a pastor, and most of our members are elderly, but if there is anything we can do.
It brings tears to my eyes to think of those who are reading this and praying.
Please keep us informed.
Mr. Hiroaki Ohno of Sendai Church and Mr. Naoshi Yoshida of Morioka Church are working as a translator and a driver. They both attended the ministerial training program.
We were able to reach Rev. Masatomo Watanabe of Ayuminoie Church. They are safe.
The Baptist Disaster Relief Rescue Team (4 from Hungary, 2 from the USA, 2 from Japan: 8 people total) have arrived safely at Taitomi Church in Sendai City at 00:41am, and spent the night there.
After resting in the sanctuary without electricity, they started early in the morning, checking on Sendai Kita Church.
From Chairman Enomoto:Baptist Sendai Minami Christ Church (Revs. Yasuhiro Aoki and Seiji Imai) in Sendai City, Wakabayashi Ward have provided 600 meals using supplies from a homeless-support NPO.
The JBC and the Baptist Rescue Team are considering the possibility of cooperation with this church.
From Mr. Nobuyoshi Ito of Taitomi Church: (sent on March 11, 4:34pm)Due to the earthquake we are without electricity, so we were unable to use the heater in the sanctuary, which meant that it was warmer outside than inside. It was my grandson Luke Kai Towery's first outdoor worship.
We are still unable to contact some members and their relatives. We will continue to pray.
Detailed report from Rev. Igata of Nankoudai Church:
We have been experiencing a blackout since the earthquake, but at around 9:00am today the electricity came back on, and landlines are now working. This morning, I was unable to turn on the computer or check email, but since the landlines have recovered, I should be able to check email now.
Our issue as a church is that we are unable to reach about half of our church members.
In Sendai City, gas stations are closed everywhere, and due to the lack of gasoline people cannot drive, so we expect that checking on people will take longer than usual.
Currently, four of our church members' families are living in the church.
Because we have propane gas, and stocks of food, we should have enough to eat for a week or so.
There are places without running water, but there are designated areas in the city where water is available (according to one of our members).
However, the city's water supply has run dry, so providing water with the water-supply truck will become difficult soon.
Izumi Ward, where Nankoudai Church is located, was not heavily damaged, but there are many elderly people who live alone, so regular visitations to them are needed.
Later on, to provide warm food for those people, we will require propane gas, food, and water.
As a church, we could coordinate volunteers who are able to secure places to stay for themselves, and if we could use offerings from the JBC to support these people, it could develop into an activity focused on the surrounding community.
Of course, taking care of the utilities and food should be the job of the public offices, and churches (especially pastors) should be more focused on spiritual care, but if the offerrings gathered in the JBC office can be of material help, then it would be a good idea to support this type of activity in churches.
Rev. Kato, please share your wisdom from your experiences of handing out food after the Kobe earthquake.
From Rev. Igata of Nankoudai Church:
Electricity has just now come back on, and I am able to make phone calls now.
Both the church building and the pastorate were undamaged.Some church members have been evacuated to the church. Utilities and communication were all shut down, but since the church uses propane gas tanks, we were able to cook.
We are still unable to reach about half of our members due to the lack of landlines.
What we need the most at the moment: gasoline, water, cell phone chargers (since blackouts can occur at any time), masks, and head covers (since we are worried about nuclear fallout).
We have not been able to reach Rev. Naoki Noguchi.
Please remember these things in your prayers.
From Rev. Muranaka of Hitachi Church:
Finally, we have electricity and I am able to write this email. We do not yet have running water.
Roof tiles fell, and there is a crack on the sanctuary wall inside Hitachi Church.
All members were fine, but members who were in Tokyo and Yokohama have not been able to return to their homes.
We are remembering all people in the Tohoku region. In Him.
2011年 03月 13日
From the Earthquake Disaster Relief Headquarters:
We were going to stay in the JBC office until tomorrow morning, but all attendees of the ministerial training program have gone home, and the number of phone calls to the office checking on people and churches has decreased, so we are going to finish our work at the office for the night. We will resume working in the morning. Because of the scale and severity of this disaster, we need to focus on what we can do in the long run. Let's continue to pray.
It was reported to us that Rev. Sumio Kaneko and Mr. and Mrs. Hajime Watanabe are all well.
The Baptist Disaster Rescue Team (Hungary/USA/Japan: 8 people in total) have passed Nasu Shiobara on Route 4 without incident, and have just had dinner.
Currently they are making their way north on the highway.
I was able to make contact with Mr. and Mrs. Fujita, who live in Sendai City, Wakabayashi Ward.
My name is Kato, and I live in Tokyo. I am a cousin of Mr. and Mrs. Fujita.
I am very sorry that so many were worried about them.
Thank you so much for all the effort that went into finding them.
The other day Mr. Fujita emailed his mother's cell phone saying that they were safe.
He currently is staying with wife's parents in Sendai City, Wakabayashi Ward, Minamikoizumi.
Akiko's parents and four members of Hironori's family are all accounted for and safe.
We don't know many details, but they are alive and uninjured. We are grateful.
Also, I asked his mother whether it was appropriate to send this news to the JBC website, and she asked that I please do so.
I apologize for the trouble caused in this situation.
Please send my regards to all who are worried for my cousins.
From Rev. Kanamaru of Fukuoka Arita Church:
I received a phone call/email? From Mr. Akira Furukawa, who is the representative of Sendai Kita Church.
Today they had worship, but only a few people attended.
Things are scattered everywhere, but the building is undamaged. They were unable to reach all of their members, but most of them are fine.
No electricity, water, or landlines.
Mr. Furukawa went to Yamagata Prefecture after worship to in order to make a phone call from there.
From Mr. Ito of Taitomi Church:
Thank you for your prayers. Neither the church nor the pastorate were badly damaged. We have not been able to contact all of the church members to find out whether they are unharmed.
I am especially worried for those whose families live on the coast.
We held worship outside today. It seemed much warmer outside since utilities are off and we were unable to use the heater.
Utilities and landlines in Sendai City are recovering slowly, but some areas are unable to connect to the internet, so we are unable to reach them.
God is our best lifeline. We will do our best in these circumstances. Please continue to pray.
Mr. Ohno of Sendai Church and Mr. Yoshida of Morioka Church left Urawa Church after worship headed for Narita Airport. Two members of the Hungarian BWAid Rescue Team “Rescue 24,” plus two others from the team's news department and two resque team members from North Carolina (USA) took the JBC van and a rental car, and left Narita Airport headed for the Tohoku (northeastern) area. We appointed Mr. Ohno as the translator, and Mr. Yoshida as the driver.
The Kita Kanto Association Disaster Relief Committee provided some rescue supplies.
Mr. Kobayashi of Sendai Church reported that 17 people attended worship, but that they have been unable to contact some of their members, and are worried for their safety.
Please pray, especially for those members who have relatives in Kesennuma, Ishimaki, and Watari.
March 13, Sunday, 9:50am
Mr. Kobayashi of Sendai Church reported that all utilities continue to be off, and that phones do not work. They will have worship as scheduled, but they are unsure of the safety situation of church members. The church was undamaged. Electricity came back on in the church, allowing this report by email. Please continue to pray.
2011年 03月 12日
From Rev. Satou of Zushidaiichi Church:
The church and pastorate are undamaged. A large tsunami warning was in effect but there was been no damage reported.
Electricity has been restored as of Saturday morning in most areas of the city. There are many relatives in both the Tohoku and Kita Kanto areas, and we will continue watching the situation. Documents were scattered everywhere in the office within the pastorate. The computer was completely buried as a result, but we have finished digging it out, and now I'm making my report.
From Mr. Kimura of Mito Church:
The electricity and internet came back on so here is my report. I don't know about injuries among our church members, but there have been only a few reports of injury and death in our prefecture (Ibaraki Prefecture).
I have not heard any news of deaths or injuries within Mito City. The church was undamaged.
Due to land sinkage some cracks are visible in the parking lot and in the corridor to the educational wing. The biggest crack is a few centimeters high.
Air conditioner units (translator's note: it is unclear exactly what this refers to) seem like they may fall from the ceiling in the education wing. We are not sure what to do about this.
Things fell from shelves and were strewn about inside the church. I have not checked the inside of the pastorate, but the outside is slightly damaged.
Tomorrow (Sunday) Rev. Fujieda will preach briefly, we'll have a sharing time, and then we will clean up together.
There is much damage in Mito City, and many walls have fallen. I saw some old wooden houses that have been totally destroyed, and walls from buildings have fallen in many places. Electricity is coming back on little by little, but has not reached all areas. We do not yet have running water. There are working public pay phones, and we are able to use landlines. We are thankful for your prayers.
Dr. Kazuyuki Sasaki (Rwanda International Mission Volunteer) and Rev. Keigo and Mrs. Rennie Ohtani (pastor, Singapore International Christ Church) expressed their sympathies with heartfelt prayers through email.
Mr. Aoyama of Yamagata Church reported that Yamagata City is starting to regain electricity, water, and gas. Electricity is coming back faster than other utilities. Since the earthquake occurred we have been without electricity, but now the area around the church has regained electricity, and all utilities are functional again. Tomorrow's worship will be held as planned. Communication is still erratic; Cellphones sometimes do not work, and landlines are cut off, but these are slowly improving. We were able to contact church members, especially elderly and people who live alone, and no one is injured as far as we know.
Mr. Aoyama of Yamagata Church reported that only cellular phones are working, and that there are no working landlines, nor any utilities (electricity, natural gas, water) where he is.
Rev. Kabutoya of Hachinohe Church reported that the church is undamaged and all members are uninjured. There is no electricity, and we can make outgoing phone calls, but we cannot receive them.
Mr. Takahashi of Aomori Church reported that the electricity came back on in the morning, and that the church was undamaged and no members were injured.
Mr. Kobayashi of Mito Church reported that telephone services have finally been restored. The church building was undamaged, but things inside were scattered and damaged.
Mr. Yamagishi of Senkawa Church reported that the church was undamaged and no members were injured. A memorial service will be held tomorrow for the late Rev. Yoshirou Takahashi. They are praying for the churches in the Tohoku (northeastern) area.
Mr. Kayama of Niigata Shunominato Church, who attended the ministerial training program, is on his way home since the bullet train to Niigata resumed operation.
Around 4am, in the north part of Nagano, and Joetsu, they had an earthquake measuring 6 on the shindo scale. The following was reported by a trustee, Mr. Chujo, President of the Nishi Kanto Association.
Rev. Cho of Matsumoto Arigasaki Church reported that the church is undamaged, and no one is injured. The earthquake in the morning was significant, but they are fine for now.
Mrs. Choe (pastor's wife) of Matsumoto Fukuinmura Church reported that the church is undamaged, and no one is injured. The earthquake in the morning was significant, but they are fine. Some of their church members decided to go return home to Korea for a while.
Rev. Mukouyama of Yamanashi Church reported that there was no blackout and all members are uninjured.
Rev. Ito of Fujiyoshida Church reported that a blackout caused a water heater to freeze and break. We were scheduled to host a Canadian mission team, but they have not arrived.
Rev. Hagiwara of Shimizu Eikou Church reported that the church was undamaged and no one is injured.
Mrs. Takako Watanabe of Shizuoka Church reported that the church was undamaged. When the earthquake occurred, some parents of kindergarten children were working inside, but they were uninjured.
Ms. Fumiyo Matsushita of Kawane Church reported that the church was undamaged, and that they are fine.
Rev. Itou of Hamamatsu Church reported that the church was undamaged, and no one is injured.
Rev. Chujo of Mishima Church reported that the church was shaken violently and for a long time, but was undamaged, and no one is injured.
We decided to take turns staying at the JBC office to gather information until March 14, 9:00am. However, on Sunday the 13th from 9:00 till the afternoon, the office will be closed.
※Information from churches should be sent to Disaster Relief Headquarter: email@example.com As soon as an email is received, it will be forwarded to the staff on duty.
Rev. Ito of Fujiyoshida Church reported that in addition to the severe cold weather (-7°C) they experienced a blackout, causing a water pipe to rupture. As the Vice President of the JBC, she was attending the graduation worship at the Japan Baptist Hospital's Nursing School, and was therefore unable to respond in a timely manner to these events in her home church.
Dr. Yoshihiko Hidaka, missionary to Thailand, expressed his sympathies by email. Currently, Ms. Sugiyama, Mr. Shimada, Ms. Ishiwata, and Dr. Katayama are visiting Thailand as a part of the Seinan University Divinity School's Seminary Student Exchange Program. Many Thai people experienced the devastating Inonesian tsumani and they are praying as they share in our pain and sadness.
The head of the Church Music Department, Mrs. Ehara, called from Indonesia while attending a church music conference as a guest speaker. Rev. Iwasaki, Ms. Komatsuzawa, and Mr. and Mrs. Asami are well. The people of Indonesia are praying as if it were their own disaster. They group from Japan will return on Wednesday.
We just found out that due to the unstable electric provisions, we might experience a blackout tonight. In that case, we will not be able to communicate.
From President Chon of the Hokkaido Area Association: All 16 churches and mission points were undamaged. Thank you for your prayers.
the first team of BWAid Emergency Rescue Team “Rescue 24,” and investigative team, will soon arrive at Narita Airport. It is made up of two people from the Hungary Baptist Convention and two from America. More team members are prepared to be sent from Singapore. To receive them and to help them work more effectively, we have asked for the cooperation of the Japan Baptist Mission Board, and the Japan Baptist Union.
The Baptist World Alliance and its members have expressed their sympathies through email, and communicated their desire to send money for disaster relief. (They have seen broadcasts of our ministerial training program.)
Attendees of the ministerial training program are returning home one by one, however, Mr. Ohno of Sendai Church and Mr. Yoshida of Morioka Church are unable to do so. Please pray for them.
The Director of the Amagi Assembly, Mr. Yoriaki Taida reported that there was no damage to their buildings or equipment. 9 of the 23 attendees of a reed organ seminar were unable to return to their homes, and had to spend the night.
Rev. Hirabayashi from Kouchiisesakimachi Church reported that he is fine. However, he is concerned about reports from Suzaki City of a tsunami over 2.6 meters high, and Suzaki City is 40km away from Kouchi City.
From Rev. Tomita of Tokyo Daiichi Church: Both the church and the kindergarten are undamaged.
Yokosukanagasawa experienced a blackout last night, but electricity was back on the morning. They have a stock of iodine ready.
From Rev. Suzuki and Mr. Watanabe of Koriyama Cosmos Street Church: Last night we experienced a blackout. The pastor's family spent the night at a member's house. The roof and parts of the inside of the church building have been badly damaged. There is no running water. We are greatly concerned about the nuclear power plant situation, and for the Tohoku (northeastern) region churches.
Hokkaido churches that were undamaged:
Tomakomai, Hakodatemihara, Hakodate, Hiraoka, Obihiro, Sapporo, Hiragishi, Kushiro, Shinsei, Otaru, Asahikawa, Asahikawatoukou, Muroran.
I will check back with them and make a report, but for now, nothing is damaged. I have been unable to reach Living Hope Church, Nishino Church, or Open Door Church, so I will continue trying to contact them, and make a report later. -Rev. Chon of Hiragishi Baptist Church
Hitachi Church and Fujimino Church reported that their facilities were undamaged.
Akita Church and its kindergarten reported that their facilities were undamaged.
Email report from Rev. Fukuda (area mission chairman):
Church buildings and members are unharmed in Sapporo, Hiraoka Joyful, Hiragishi, Obihiro, Tomakomai Mission Point, Hakodate, and Hakodatemihara.
Rev. Fukuda was able to contact the pastor's family at Kushiro Church on the 11th at 5:00pm, but after that he has not checked back with them concerning aftershocks or the tsunami.
Concerning attendees of the ministerial training program at the JBC office:
The training program finished the day on schedule, and all attendees are spending the night at the JBC office along with the 5 attendees preparing to enter Seinan University's Divinity School who were already scheduled to spend the night. We will have a prayer meeting at 9:00am today, but after that, the rest of the program has been cancelled. We decided to have them check their transportation situations prior to their departures. To the churches, families, and Seinan University staff members who sent the attendees, we ask for your understanding in this situation.
※Also, if any attendees are unable to return home because of the situation with public transportation, we will have the JBC office ready for them to stay additional nights.
From the JBC office: We decided to share information regarding each church and mission point on this website.
Also, on the Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th (not in the morning, due to worship), and until the early morning of the 14th, staff will take turns spending the night, prayerfully gathering and sharing information.
March 12, Saturday, 24:15am
Rev. Naoki Noguchi of Yoshioka Mission Point contacted the JBC. He is not injured, and their church/pastorate is undamaged, but furniture is strewn about, and they are without electricity and phone connectivity. Aftershocks are continuing, so he sleeps in his car. He cannot reach other churches, so he is unsure of their condition, but he prays for their safety.