Posted by: whereintheworldismike | March 15, 2011

God’s grace amidst devastation

Mary Jo and I just had lunch with Pastor Sugaya and his wife. They pastor the church we helped start in Kiyose, a suburb of Tokyo. Sugaya and 3 other pastors are going to the epicenter tonight to help the devastated. Many relief teams are coming and Mary Jo is helping coordinate their activities. These are professionals. This is not a time for inexperienced helpers to come to Japan. You might get stuck like us. Don’t know if I will be able to return to the States on Thursday, March 17 as planned.  Here are up to the minute prayer requests:

·         At 2:46 PM local time, March 11, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan off the eastern coast of Miyagi, prefecture. This is the largest recorded earthquake ever to have struck Japan, and one of the five largest recorded earthquakes in the world. It has been days since the initial temblor, and heavy aftershocks are still being felt throughout northeastern Japan, with no way of knowing how long these aftershocks will continue. Some experts have said that there could be strong aftershocks of up to magnitude level 8 for six months. Please pray that the earthquakes will cease.
·         Pray also for the buildings that survived the initial shock, but are being hammered by the aftershocks. Many buildings still stand, but were weakened, and because of this strong aftershocks are very dangerous.
·         The devastation from the initial earthquake was compounded by heavy tsunami that hammered the east coast. Sendai City was hit the hardest, both by the temblor and the tsunami. Some towns were entirely obliterated by the tsunami. Please pray for the survivors and for those who are still stranded and missing.
·         The tsunami from the earthquake swept away entire cities, and there is still risk of further tsunami from large aftershocks. Please pray that the affected areas remain safe from further tsunami.
·         Due to the seismic activity, the ground level in much of coastal Japan actually sank, so sea water that came in during the tsunami is not receding. This is hampering relief efforts. Please pray that relief teams will be able to work safely in these areas.
·         In the wake of the earthquake, fires raged throughout affected areas. Pray for the victims of these fires and those who have lost their homes.
·         Hundreds of people are still stranded in damaged areas. These people have been without food, water, and heat in freezing temperatures for three days. Rescue is difficult due to tsunami water that will not recede. Please pray for their swift rescue.
·         Casualty reports are still coming in. The death toll estimates keep rising. There are over 2,000 confirmed dead. It is estimated that the death toll could exceed 10,000 in Miyagi prefecture alone. Pray for those who have lost their loved ones. Pray for those who are trapped and injured, as well as those who are missing friends and family.
·         In Fukushima Prefecture, two nuclear power plants are under a state of emergency. Three explosions have happened at the Fukushima Daiichi plant; one Saturday, one Monday, and one Tuesday. These explosions were caused by hydrogen build-up, and authorities assure that the reactors have not exploded. Those within 20 kilometers have been evacuated, and those within the area 20-30 km away have been advised to stay indoors to avoid radiation exposure. Please pray that the situation will get under control soon.
·         Pray also for the weather. With radiation being diffused into the air, wind or rain could carry it into populated areas and expose people. Pray that any wind will carry radiation out to sea rather than into populated areas. What’s more, bitterly cold night-time temperatures could prove life-threatening for those who are trapped.
·         Public transit systems in Tokyo and the surrounding areas are taxed to the limit by this disaster, and the transportation companies are no longer confident that the infrastructure can handle rush hour traffic. Please pray that this transportation situation can be resolved.
·         Millions of homes in northeastern Japan are without power. This has led to Japanese power companies arranging planned blackouts to conserve energy. Millions of people are still without water. Pray for the power plants and water facilities to be able to resume their work, and pray for those who do not have these essential supplies.
·         Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in the coastal areas and the area around the Fukushima nuclear power plants. Please pray for them, and all who are having to stay in public shelters.
·         Relief workers are working around the clock to rescue survivors, but reaching many victims is proving incredibly difficult due to the rubble and water levels. Pray for the relief workers, that God would grant safety and stamina.
·         Pray for the Christians of Japan, that we would be able to mobilize relief efforts and provide for people’s needs, both physical and spiritual.
·         Pray for areas where food, medicine, and drink shortages are occurring.
·         Gasoline shortages are starting to become a very large problem. Pray for gasoline for those who need it.
·         On Sunday afternoon, Shinmoedake volcano on the island of Kyushu erupted, spewing ash and boulders into the air. So far, no casualties have been reported. Pray for the safety of the people of Kyushu.
·         Please pray also for the other countries affected by the tsunami.
·         Pray for Japan’s economy. There have already been massive losses, and it is quite likely that the long-term impact of this disaster on Japan’s already-strained economy will be quite serious.


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