Japan East Coast (Tohoku) Earthquake Report May 11, 2011

Cleaning up destroyed homes
Cleaning up destroyed homes

Two months have passed since the disaster. The devastated areas are beginning to settle down over this time but many families and children are in still in emotional distress because of their experience and current conditions that include aftershocks every two or three days. We need to focus on meeting immediate physical needs as well as providing emotional support and spiritual care.

Repairing damaged homes
Repairing damaged homes

Youth for Christ is meeting these needs through a response we call the “Manna Project”. It began slowly but is now very effective, not only in providing direct aid to those in need but also fulfilling God’s mission. Our focus is to respond to the physical, mental, social, as well as, spiritual needs of each person we meet. We are focusing our attention in three different but complimentary ways:

Manna Focus 1

A happy family with a way to get around.
A happy family with a way to get around.

We have provided bikes and trailers to our volunteer workers to bring supplies to those in need or bring in tools to help clean up in the devastated area. The trailers and bikes are working amazingly well – going into places that are inaccessible to other vehicles.

We are now also providing bikes and trailers to families in need. Many families were struggling last month – living in temporary shelters and not receiving enough food. Now they have begun to move to temporary apartments or return to live in their half destroyed homes.

The children have a way to get to kindergarten.
The children have a way to get to kindergarten.

Even small children have started to return to kindergarten but many families have lost their vehicles in the devastation and need to take their children to the kindergarten on foot. We seek out such families, with the help and cooperation of the local pastors and Christian volunteers, and provide them with bikes and trailers. Not only do they use them to take their children school but also to have a fun time with their children – something that is also dearly needed. We regularly follow through with these families to ensure that have the support that they need.

Manna Focus 2

The damage to Toyoma Junior High School.
The damage to Toyoma Junior High School.

We visited five Junior High schools in the disaster area and met with the Principals to pass on the 10,000 friendship cards from young people in Hong Kong that Youth for Christ organised, along with some additional gifts for the schools. The Japanese students were overjoyed that foreign teens were praying for them. We trust that these cards will also help break down the wall between Japan and China and help young people to have an international focus.

At Yoshida Junior High School with principal Takahashi holding cards to be distributed.
At Yoshida Junior High School with principal Takahashi holding cards to be distributed.

We also gave each school a cargo trailer to aid in their cleanup work for which they were very grateful. All this was only possible because of the gifts of people just like you.

An outcome of this support to schools is that the school administration has now allowed the placement of the Manga Messiah in school libraries. Manga Messiah is a biblically based retelling of the Gospels in a very Japanese form.

Manga Messiah now in school libraries
Manga Messiah now in school libraries.

We believe this is a good start in ministering in these schools and hope that God uses us and the practical needs you have provided to show Himself to His people.

Manna Focus 3
We believe that the first two projects are mercy ministries and are demonstration of God’s generosity to His people but we want to continue to make the love of God known and God’s insight and leading are very necessary. This will be very challenging because it is difficult for families and individuals to see the love of God in the midst of these very tragic circumstances but I believe that they can – just like Job did. Please pray with us as we continue to look for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of these needy people by sharing God’s love with them.

Our Prayer Requests

  • The cards and gifts from teens in Hong Kong will be used well.
  • God touches the hearts of the people we met.
  • We should follow His plan and release His power among those in need.
  • The people in the disaster area know how gracious our God is.