Japan (MNN) — The death toll continues to climb following last Friday's earthquake and resulting tsunami. Those wishing to reach out with assistance are facing obstacles.
International Director of SEND International Warren Janzen says, "Gasoline is very limited. We've had a couple of missionaries out hunting for gas but were unable to find it."
Janzen says, "Water is scarce, and rice and bread are scarce. One of the groups who wanted to bring relief efforts up north rented a truck; they wanted to bring a whole truckload of water. They went out to find water, and they couldn't even find enough to fill up the trunk of a car, let alone a whole truck."
Now, the disaster is taking a spiritual tone. And Tokyo's governor has helped, says Janzen. "The governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, stated publicly that the disaster was a punishment from heaven because the Japanese have become greedy. To have a public figure of his stature make a statement like that opens up a public discussion on spiritual things."
Janzen's team members are seeing the change, too. "Some of our missionaries are going out on the street, talking to random people, talking about the earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear situation there. People are engaging in spiritual conversation with strangers. That's just not typical."
Janzen says it's a kairos moment. "The Greek word kairos means 'a time in between a moment in which something is going to happen.' We believe this an appointed time in the presence of God."
Regarding the safety of missionaries in Tokyo, there are questions. Janzen has talked to experts at the Firmi Nuclear Power Plant in Michigan, and he reports, "Yes, there are some elevated radiation levels reaching Tokyo. However, they are not a threat to our missionaries at this point. While we are going to be taking some precautions, we are not going to be issuing an evacuation at this time."