21 Jun 2011

Hi CTPC friends,

I’ve been in Tokyo for about a week, but already so much has happened!  I am volunteering with CRASHJapan, a Christian organization in Tokyo that is helping coordinate earthquake relief efforts.  CRASH’s work ranges from manual labor to fundraising efforts to emotional counseling for earthquake survivors and those disaster victims whose homes were located near the nuclear plant accident site.  Although being in headquarters is an office environment, this place is unlike any office I’ve ever worked at – every day at 9am there are devotionals!  It’s so encouraging.

Praises: God provides!
Last weekend we volunteered at a gospel benefit concert whose proceeds will go to CRASH.  Church choirs came from all over Japan, and there were performers from Fukushima (who had been forced to evacuate due to radiation) and from Sendai (whose homes were destroyed in the earthquake).  One woman spoke with a quavering voice about how they had lost everything, but in the midst of it all what they remember the most is how blessed they were by the outpouring of help.  Disaster victims spoke about how although they were in a dark place, God has been so good to them and the concert was a celebration of His goodness.

I initially had very little idea of what to expect when I came here, but I have felt incredibly blessed every step of the way.  I came here worried about not knowing anyone, but God has provided and I feel surrounded by wonderful friends who I will miss when I leave.  They come from all over the world and all walks of life, but the love of Jesus Christ binds us all together.

Prayer requests:  Cultural sensitivity/unity, Remembrance
Since CRASH is comprised of people from all over the world, navigating cultural nuances to work together can be challenging.  Please pray that our organization would be unified in our identity as children of God, and that the love of Jesus Christ would cover over any misunderstandings or conflicts that arise from cultural differences so that we can do our best to help those in need.  May we remember to focus on God as the reason why we serve!!

Being in the office, it can be tough to remember that three months after the earthquake, families are still living in shelters and still trying to locate family members.  Let’s all continue to pray that God would comfort and provide for those in need, and that CRASH volunteers would represent the name of Jesus Christ in a sensitive and loving way to hurting disaster victims.

Tomorrow I will head up to a base camp in Sendai, the epicenter of the earthquake.  We will be helping to clean up the wreckage of the earthquake, and I actually don’t really know what to expect but I am certain that blessings await.

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