After seeing the massive devastation caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunamis in northeast Japan this past week, I understand why this is being called the most expensive disaster in the history of the world.
Many international aid organizations have been struggling to figure out how to best respond to the victims of this disaster. This is always a challenge following a major disaster, but in Japan it is especially challenging because Japan is a highly developed country, and most international aid organizations don’t have relationships with local organizations in Japan.
Before arriving in Japan this past week, I had been in regular communication with Pastor Shimizu, the leader of the Japan Covenant Church (NSKK), about how they were responding to the disaster. Through their networks in Japan, CWR has been able to get donations and supplies to some of the neediest areas.
One example – Pastor Shimizu is involved with ministries to homeless people in his local community, and through a national network the NSKK has been able to partner with the Sendai Night Watch Group, an NGO that has been ministering to the homeless for years in the name of Jesus. Pastor Imai, the leader of this NGO, drove us to some of the most affected areas where we delivered supplies and spoke with victims of the tsunamis. He knows the area – he has relationships with community leaders – and the Sendai Night Watch Group has the staff, volunteers and infrastructure to respond to those most in need.
When responding to major disasters, it is who you know that is very important. I am very thankful that CWR is able to partner with the Japan Covenant Church and with others in their network. I am also thankful for all the ECC churches and individuals who are giving so generously. You can give here.