The following was received as an email update from Neil Verwey of Japan Mission (japanmission.org). Bill Cook is one of Neil’s ministry partners who drove to Sendai with supplies and is there to lend a hand where needed. I thought you might like to read this personal, first hand account of someone in the thick of things in northern Japan.
Dear Prayer Partner
So many asks about Bill Cook, so I am sending you a few segments of one of his long reports of the earthquake-tsunami area.
It is impossible to describe what it was like to stand there in the midst that mass of destruction looking at what happened. It was like someone had taken a huge putty knife and scraped the surface of the earth. Then they took the towns and placed everything in a blender grinding it up into a paste. After that they took that paste and spread it back over the earth like icing on a cake. As far as you could see there was nothing but a waist deep pile of broken boards, cars, and whatever else constituted of what used to be a town. You couldn’t distinguish the difference between towns and rice fields. For miles and miles everything was evenly distributed over all.
We have all seen videos of people on bicycles or cars in the path of that moving wave. There was no escape. It was terrifying to see that tsunami coming on TV. But all over Japan there are much more people falling into the abyss of hell everyday unnoticed that we passively view as normal. The millions of Japanese who die annually are in far more terrifying danger than those who were swept away in the Sendai tsunami.
In any natural disaster zone there are three phases. The first is the immediate rescue of victims. In times of natural disasters, that time is measured in minutes, hours, or days. In many earthquakes, that period may be as long as a week as people are slowly being dug out from under the rubble. In a tsunami, like we just had, there are no survivors. There were thousands of people buried under all that debris, but there was no one yet alive.
The second phase is caring for the ones who escaped. That is a crisis lasting several days where there must be shelter, food, water, and clothing for those who have lost everything. That is the basic reason I returned to Japanfrom Thailand to help out in that phase.
The third phase is reconstruction. That defies imagination. I have absolutely NO idea how they are going to handle that. It involves over 500 kilometers of hundreds of cities and towns. The Japanese Government better soon come up with a blue print of what should be done!
This entire issue of humanitarian relief is something that we must look at in the light of eternity.
Jesus didn’t come to help us improve our methods for humanitarian relief. There was a tower that collapsed while Jesus was on earth, that killed 18 people (Lk. 13:4). There must have been many more injured. He didn’t organize a group of people to rush to the scene of the disaster to support the families of victims or assist those who undoubtedly were injured. All He did was comment that unless people repent, they all would likewise perish.
The victims of this tsunami disaster are pitiful. It is heart rending to hear stories of children and family members who perished. It would be less than human if we didn’t weep with them. Those in refugee centers are in bad shape. They have lost everything and need help. But far more than food and clothing, their greatest need is salvation.
As much as we want to see that people have full stomachs, what is that going to accomplish if the Blood that Jesus shed for their salvation is not answered with a grateful acceptance! Jesus didn’t pay the price of Calvaryjust to see to it that we have a more comfortable journey of self-indulgence. He came to bring us back to God. If that is not accomplished, what good is all this humanitarian relief? It must be a vehicle to bring Christ to the lost!
My heart is greatly exercised. Japan has an ASTRONOMICAL problem on her hands as to how to recover from this historic disaster. But it looks to me like the Church of Christ has an even greater challenge in seeing theKingdom of God come to Japan.
Let’s give all we have to Jesus and maybe He can use us a little;
Thanks for praying for the desperate need of the Holy Spirit transforming people as a result of this horrendous calamity!
Neil & David Verwey