Friday, April 8, 2011

What is C.R.A.S.H Japan doing to respond to the disaster?

CRASH (Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope) Japan has been busy setting up four base camps near the heaviest-hit areas, and we hope to open at least one more. From those bases we would like to set up sub-bases, working as much as possible with and through the local churches. In some cases there are not local churches to work with, or the church itself has been destroyed.

Ofunato Church, damaged by the tsunami
Once the bases are operational we expect to send a steady stream of volunteers to work safely and effectively to do the work of recovery, which may include clean-up, furniture removal, minor repairs or construction, meal preparation, ministering to victim's emotional and spiritual needs, and serving the community in whatever ways are necessary. For example, many people have lost their cars and they cannot even get out to buy food. Children need safe places to stay and play while their parents are restoring their damaged homes or businesses. The "ministry of presence"is very important we we listen to their stories and pray with them. The needs are immense and ever changing, which is why we need bases in the field.

At the present time we are mobilizing teams from Japanese churches, as they are ready to go and already have the language and understand the culture. As we approach summer we hope to be able to accept teams from overseas as well. We've also been able to help some specialists to go as well, like the team of firefighters currently at a CRASH base.

So far about 100 people have gone into the field in association with CRASH. I'm volunteering at the CRASH Japan Headquarters in Tokyo, where some 300 people have come in to help over the past 4 weeks. About 30 tons of relief supplies have been distributed through the CRASH network.

CRASH Japan is preparing for a long-term recovery effort, to support the church as they reach out in love. We are grateful for the prayers, financial support and volunteer help we have received so far.

For information about how to be involved, see the website:

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