"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Sunday, March 27, 2011

HEROES: Missionaries, pastors, bus driver, volunteers

     Higher Ground by Jamie Dean is a good summary of what Christians have been doing for the remote pockets of Japanese survivors in Sendai. Read about the separate efforts of missionaries Luke Cummings, Matt Clark, Woody Lauer, and Michael Oh--plus an anonymous kindergarten bus driver.
     Remember early on when I wrote about CRASH: Christian Relief, Assistance, Support, and Hope? I told you Christian volunteers, trained to mobilize and respond to disasters, were already on the ground in Sendai, helping their neighbors. I encouraged you to donate money to CRASH for things like satellite phones during the interruption in communication and services.
     Apparently they were deluged with offers of help because they posted a request to stop volunteering! They were so busy with the emergency itself they had no one to answer questions or sign people up. More recently I noted that their website seems to have been abandoned, probably for lack of time to respond. I started to wonder whether they hadn't had sufficient base to do what needed to be done on the scale required, wondered whether I had steered readers wrong in suggesting you support them. 
    So I was relieved to read in Dean's article, "One key local focus for relief efforts in Sendai is CRASH . . . The group maintains a network of 1,400 churches across the country, and . . . volunteers are working with 40 churches in the disaster zone to deliver supplies to needy populations. Less than a week after the quake, the group established a base in Sendai."
      Dean goes on to say, "That base has become a hub for other Christian groups and churches working in the area: Samaritan's Purse delivered 93 tons of supplies to the CRASH headquarters at a local school in Sendai. Other Christian organizations—including Churches Helping Churches, World Compassion Network, and Acorn International Ministries—sent staff to the CRASH base to assist. Feed the Hungry announced it would donate 500,000 meals for distribution through the site."
     That is so encouraging!
     Read the rest of the article for the accounts of the individual heroes named above. One of those wanting to continue humanitarian and spiritual outreach to survivors is Korean-American missionary Michael Oh, who heads both a church and the Christ Bible Institute south of Tokyo. His people recently purchased a 9,600-square-foot building for ministry space. Now they're exploring the possibility of turning it into a shelter.
     "In one sense, I would say the general populace is not aware of its need for the gospel," said Oh. "But when the ground beneath you shakes, and the air that you breathe may contain nuclear radiation, suddenly all the technology and financial wealth that you may have relied upon becomes unreliable."

From worldmag.com: Today's news, Christian views


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