Japan (MNN) — Saturday marks the three-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami that sent Japan into a tailspin. The disaster killed thousands, displaced thousands more, destroyed businesses, and left the powerful economic nation wondering where to turn.
Food for the Hungry has been helping the local church reach out to the victims of this disaster. Pete Howard just returned from Japan where he says this second trip was more sobering than the first. "I saw more fully and clearly the devastation and was overwhelmed by the situation on the ground — the physical devastation."
Howard was also taken back by something else. "Not only are there things you can see — the destruction you can see, but then there's this unknown nuclear issue. You can't see the radiation, but you know it's there, and that causes a lot of fear and anxiety."
While Japan has been in clean-up mode for three months, Howard says many Japanese are still in need. "Close to 200,000 people are still living in shelters and outside of their homes. Some of those people, especially those who live near the Fukushima Nuclear Plant, cannot go back to their homes."
Howard says the church in Japan has been phenomenal in providing relief. There are churches "who are coming to the region at some risk and just serving, hoping to clean and rehabilitate the area, hoping to get houses and churches back into shape, and then serving at the shelters where thousands of people still live."
FH is coming alongside the local churches who are helping. They're providing day care activities, helping with cleanup both houses and churches, and warehousing needs.
What's amazing is the bravery of the church. Howard says it's a move of the Holy Spirit. "Pastors and leaders are having dreams — dreams of Jesus walking through the rubble toward the Fukushima Nuclear plant. Some of these Christian leader see those dreams as a call to the church not to run away from the danger or the challenges, but to follow Jesus into the danger and into the challenges."
According to Howard, "Japan is one of the most advanced societies in the world technologically, and here we're seeing a problem that humankind can't seem to solve. So where do you turn? You have to go beyond us, and then that, of course, takes us to God. How can God step in and bring healing, redemption and hope?"
The prayer is that God will do it through the local church. Resources are needed to do even more. You can help. Click here.