Missionaries say their final good-byes to the people they've poured their lives into. They all hope to be back soon. (IMB photo)
Japan (MNN) ― Missionaries are being forced to relocate due to radiation threats from damaged power plants in Japan.
While the U.N.'s nuclear agency says there have been positive developments in stabilizing damaged nuclear reactors, the situation remains serious. As a result, all International Mission Board personnel north and east of Nagoya must move to southern Japan temporarily.
Missionaries are grieving over the relocation during such a dire time, not wanting to abandon those they have ministered to.
Mark and Wendy Hoshizaki have a ministry to the homeless. The couple is fearful of what may become of those they have come to know. Mark says food shortages that resulted from a recent 9.0 earthquake are severely affecting the general public, which means there is even less for the homeless.
"It's horrible. We are leaving," Wendy says. "They are even worse off because the homeless are always forgotten.
The Hoshizakis spent their last hours in the region doling out the last of their food to the homeless.
Another IMB couple spent their last day baptizing a city councilman and his wife. Mark and Mie Busby are having an equally difficult time leaving their home, but they admit that there is no real way for them to get to disaster victims. Government permits are required to be in the tsunami and quake areas, and no one is allowed near the nuclear plant, which is rumored to have slightly poisoned nearby plants and water.
The relocated missionaries will not be gone for good. They hope to be back as soon as they are able. For now, their safety will be more secure elsewhere.
Pray for these devastated, faithful believers. Pray that God would take away their anxiety regarding the ministries they have left behind, and that the fruits of their labor would continue grow even without them there. Pray that this would be an opportunity to be a witness for Christ elsewhere in the country.