Thursday, July 25
Communities in northeastern Japan continue the physical, spiritual, and emotional recovery from the devastation triggered by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and ensuing tsunami that swallowed towns and communities. These two natural disasters resulted in a third, man-made catastrophe—a damaged nuclear power plant nestled on the coastline of the agricultural and fishing region in Fukushima. The fallout has contaminated surrounding communities, rivers, and farms in an 80-kilometer radius.
National and governmental agencies were criticized for being slow to respond cohesively to the myriad disasters, and traumatized survivors report that the bureaucratic process is too complicated. Small nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, including church partners in Japan, have filled this gap and provided a safety net through their quick and meaningful responses.
Partner organization Asian Rural Institute (ARI), located in neighboring Tochigi Prefecture, was damaged by both the earthquake and radiation. As an organic farm training rural leaders from Asia and Africa, the safety of ARI’s soil, air, and water is integral to its ministry. Its efforts have been focused on learning from this natural disaster as an open classroom and serving as a cleanup model to farmers in the surrounding community.
Serving as the regional base for the United Church of Christ in Japan, the Emmaus Center and area churches in Sendai serve as host centers for volunteers. The YMCA has also been providing hospitality to volunteers. Rev. Taku Kusakabe, a Presbyterian pastor from Seattle, Washington, returned to his homeland of Japan and accepted a role leading day camps for children and helping coordinate volunteers and relief work.
In the aftermath of the disaster, migrant workers and residents in northeastern Japan were moved by the generosity of Japanese neighbors who shared portions of their food despite uncertainty about where their next meal would come from.
—Sarah McAliley Oba, former PC(USA) mission co-worker, Tokyo, Japan
Let us join in prayer for:
United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyodan): Rev. Tomeyuki Naito, general secretary, Rev. Makoto Kato, executive secretary on Ecumenical Ministries, Mr. Teruki Takada and Ms. Marina Sugiyama, dedicated staff
Korean Christian Church in Japan: Rev. Song Wan Hong, general secretary
The Reformed Church of Christ in Japan: Rev. Takashi Yoshida, moderator, Rev. Ken Iwasaki, vice moderator
National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ): Rev. Kouichi Kobashi, moderator, Revs. Kano Yoshitaka and Makoto Watabe, vice moderators, Revs. Wataru Arizumi and Hiroko Hiraoka, secretaries, Rev. Shoko Aminaka, general secretary
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Elder Gary W. Luhr, APCU
Erika Lundbom, PPC
Let us pray
Holy God, heal our broken world. May our responsive prayers and actions be rooted in your love and help rebuild lives and communities. Lord, bind us together in your hope and peace. Amen.