More than three months have passed since the series of big earthquakes hit Kumamoto and Oita prefectures on April 14, 2016. There are still many people who are barely managing their daily lives in stressful conditions without physical and emotional security. We keep praying that God’s love will reach them and comfort them.
Following the disaster, CRASH’s assessment team of two pastors was sent to Kumamoto to visit local churches and pastors, listen and pray together, and plan. Then we began our relief work in cooperative support of the Kyushu Christ Disaster Support Center (the Center), based in Kumamoto Harvest Church. We first sent a few specialists with experience in computer/information management, volunteer coordination and housing, and emotional care, to organize relief supplies and help accommodate the many volunteers who rushed to help in the disaster-hit area. At the same time, CRASH headquarters in Tokyo was busy contacting volunteer candidates within Japan and from abroad to prepare for their trips to the field, so that each volunteer could quickly begin hands-on work such as cleanup and relief supply deliveries with the heart of Jesus Christ. CRASH processed over 100 volunteer applicants – the peak of volunteer placement was during “Golden Week” (a cluster of Japanese national holidays between April 29 and May 8). Starting in June, volunteer registration and placement was delegated to the Center. so while CRASH continued to connect volunteers to the Center, our main activities became emotional care programs for disaster area pastors and their families, listening to their voices. covering the pulpit, and other assistance.
As part of the Center’s children’s emotional care program named “Kumamoto Smile”, CRASH is putting on a children’s science experiment festival on July 30th. As the work in Kumamoto is likely to be long-term, CRASH will continue in August and beyond to specialize in emotional care of workers, volunteers, and victims in disaster afflicted areas. We have also been blessed to see churches from around Kyushu getting involved, and we have been sending trained pastors to work as chaplains and holding training seminars for emotional care. As various organizations like World Vision, Food for the Hungry, and CRASH support the Center with each’s areas of specialty, we are learning how we can coordinate with each other in supporting local churches and be better prepared for when the next disaster strikes.
As the name “CRASH” implies, please pray that we can keep delivering hope in Jesus Christ, and that we would have the funds to effectively continue such work. Sincere thanks to each one of you who has prayed, donated and participated in volunteer work with much love for Jesus Christ.