Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 6, March 16: Earthquake relief effort under way

Serving at the CRASH Japan earthquake relief command center has been an incredible experience so far. I've never been a part of such a chaotic, urgent and difficult task, infused with the patience, grace, cooperation and mutual support that I believe can only be found in the body of Christ.

Although we have made significant progress in just 3 days, the enormity of the task can be overwhelming and exhausting as we continue to get reports of the devastation in so many communities.

Our spirits were encouraged to meet the leader of the team of experts with Samaritan's Purse who arrived yesterday. The scale of their operation is beyond anything our command center can handle, but we want to cooperate with them as much as possible.

Four advance teams went out on Monday. There is a moving report from one advance team here:

By the way, the place Mr. Foxwell talks about is where we have taken our summer vacations three times, and were intending to go there again this summer. At this point there is no way to know if we will be able to go.

We now have about 500 inquires from those who would like to volunteer to help with the relief effort. As leader of the volunteer coordinators' team, I've been recruiting more coordinators each day to handle the ever-increasing numbers of volunteers; two more today to make a total of seven so far. Another one coming tomorrow.

Another advance team will go out tomorrow. They have received the necessary authorization to travel on the freeways and to buy gasoline along the way. They will go loaded with water, the biggest need at present in the affected areas.

CRASH Japan hopes to have a base for relief operations up and running by Friday of this week in the Sendai area.

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