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Christian relief organizations prepare to respond to Japan disaster (Updated Tuesday)

Update Tuesday, March 14: Small world: Sudanese church prays for Japan earthquake victims. And, Japanese students at Oklahoma Christian University heading home soon.

Update Monday, March 14: Facebook group focuses on prayer, relief for Japan earthquake victims. Also, Bobby Moore, executive director of Bread for a Hungry World, reports that the humanitarian aid organization will take donations to help in Japan. See more details in the comments section below.

Disaster relief organizations associated with Churches of Christ are preparing to respond to the powerful earthquake and tsunami in Japan that killed an estimated 10,000 people.
Healing Hands International is accepting donations for Japan relief. The humanitarian relief organization reports on its website:

Healing Hands International is currently in the assessment phase and has been in contact with missionaries who have been in that area. They recently returned to the U.S. so they were not there when the earthquake hit. They are, however, trying to contact friends in that area. At this time most communications are down but as soon as we have a report we will pass that along to you.

WFR Relief Ministries of the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, La., also is exploring how Christians can serve the people of Japan. Former Director Don Yelton, now the ministry’s American ambassador, said in an email:

As you know, it is HOPE that people need during these tough times, but offering funds when a family looses a home, etc. sure helps. How to use those dollars that our brethren might give is another matter. That’s why my opinion and practice has always been to just lift up the hands of local Churches of Christ. They will find the most appropriate way to help.

Image from a Japanese television station of the devastation from the earthquake and tsunami.

Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City reports that eight long-term exchange students from Ibaraki Christian University had planned to return home Saturday. However, their return has been delayed.
Oklahoma Christian hosted a special prayer service during its regular chapel Friday. Josh Watson, a university spokesman, said:

Our students, both Japanese and Americans that have studied in Japan, are very concerned about the destruction there.

Oklahoma Christian is providing regular updates on its website:

All of OC’s students from Japan have now made contact with their families. They are all safe.

The Abilene Reporter-News in Texas reports:

Abilene Christian University senior Maya Ohori spent hours overnight Thursday and Friday morning trying to contact her family in Fukushima, Japan.
“They’re OK,” Ohori said of her relatives Friday afternoon. “Last night, I was sleeping and my boyfriend called and asked me how my family was. I didn’t know what he was talking about. He told me to turn on the news.”
She said her family’s home was damaged, but still livable.
Ohori said her hometown was struck hard, but perhaps did not sustain as much damage as other areas.

Staci Driskill Maloney is an Oklahoma Christian graduate serving as an English teacher in Mito, Japan. She told her mother, Karen, in an email Friday:

We have had about 30 earthquakes throughout the night. They aren’t bad. We have heard helicopters, ambulances and public announcements all night. All the tile from the roof is in the parking lot. There are many cracks on our walls, and the kitchen is a disaster. Also, the floor buckled slightly. We are very lucky. Schools look worse.

In a later Facebook post, Maloney wrote:

Thank you all for your messages of encouragement. We are now staying at a friends apartment. We have water and electricity at this apartment, but not at ours. (Still no gas.) Mito looks pretty good, it could be a lot worse. Please be praying for our friends in Sendai, they are going to have a difficult time putting themselves back together. Again, thank you. I love each and everyone of you. Romans 8:31

Kent Hartman, a missionary in residence at Oklahoma Christian, was an hour from landing in Tokyo when the earthquake struck. Hartman was flying to Japan to visit Paul and Stacey Herrington, a Helpers in Missions couple serving in Haruna, about 100 miles north of Tokyo.
Bob Carpenter, a professor of missions at Oklahoma Christian, reports:

I don’t have the whole story, but I talked with (Kent’s wife) Nancy Hartman last night, and she said that Kent spent a total of 31 harrowing hours on the plane, counting from the time he departed the U.S., without being able to get off. The plane was relocated once or twice after first landing at an air base in Japan. Paul Herrington and Obata-san, the preacher he works with, spent some 20 hours in their car trying to locate Kent’s whereabouts and also navigating their way there, sleeping in the car overnight.
As of the time I spoke to Nancy last night, Paul and Obata-san had finally met up with Kent at Narita Airport, which had reopened in the meantime. They were making their way to Haruna.

Elsewhere, Tim Shiroma, a leader of the Maui Church of Christ in Hawaii, shared this news with Christian Chronicle Editor Lynn A McMillon in an email:

Although Kahului harbor had the highest surge of all the Hawaiian Islands (6 feet or so) there was no damage at all to the Church property! That is remarkable since the surge came in up to 1/3 of a mile inland in parts of Kahului. Thank God! Thank God! Thank God!

The Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama reports:

Faulkner University’s softball team was getting some much-needed rest Friday morning at its hotel near Waikiki, Hawaii, where they are staying ahead of several scheduled games next week.

Shortly after a massive earthquake struck off the coast of Japan and spawned a tsunami, warning sirens blared in Hawaii.

The first alarm was sounded about 11:30 p.m. in the hotel, said Ryan Bartels, Faulkner’s sports information director.

NewsChannel 4 in Oklahoma City interviews Hiroka Kajiyama, an MBA student and Japanese language instructor at Oklahoma Christian.
The Christian Chronicle is interested in other church connections, relief efforts and needs related to this disaster. If you can provide such details, please leave a comment. Also, please feel free to share prayers and notes of concern.

  • Feedback
    I am so grateful to be part of a world-wide family of believers who love and care about each other. This is one of the times I realize how blessed we are to be part of God’s family. Has anyone heard from the church in Asan, Guam?
    Lisa Carter
    March, 12 2011

    william Tengani @ P.E
    March, 12 2011

    I served on a Church of Christ mission team in Sendai Japan from 2002-2007. Currently, we are using a facebook group to try and streamline relief efforts from the States and elsewhere and connect them with our network in Japan. Please check out the facebook group: Working and Praying for Japan earthquake victims.
    Thanks and God bless!
    Jonathan Straker
    Jonathan Walter Straker
    March, 12 2011

    Our Prayers to all the members of the body of Christ- The Churches Of Christ that have experienced this catastrophic Events.
    San Antonio, Tx., Churches Of Christ are United in prayers for all of Japan and the rest that need grief and counseling for their lost and loved ones.
    May God intervene in all aspects.
    In Christ always,
    The Coutino Family and The Benavides family with all of the rest of the Members of The Churches Of Christ World Wide and its Missionaries.
    In Constant prayers for everyone.
    Lic. John C. Coutino (Minister)
    March, 13 2011

    Dear Brothers / Sisters
    Greetings to you in the Precious Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We were very much worried about the disaster in Japan. We the Churches of Christ in India are Praying for all the support need to be taken care of.
    Love & Prayers
    In His Service
    david martin
    david martin
    March, 13 2011

    I’ve tried to find more information about the conditions at Ibaraki Christian University and wonder is there is a web site that has more specific information on the school.
    Robert Mills
    March, 13 2011

    I received this information from Bobby Moore, executive director of Bread for a Hungry World:
    Bread for a Hungry World is taking donations to work in Japan. We are partnering with MARCH for Christ in the Philippines. We have partnered with MARCH for over 20 years. As always 100% of disaster funds go straight to the ground. Here is an email from Chito
    Dear partners and supporters,
    Pls. take note:
    a. Send a team of two or three (with 1 medical doctor)as soon as the clear sign is given for us to go. This means no definite date, but we can leave as early as March 20. Working on visa this week.
    b. Working for us to go with a Philippine government relief team that is being organized–if this is approved, we can be in Japan as soon as the Narita airport is opened. If not we will go on our own using commercial aircraft.
    c. We are trying to coordinate with missionary contacts on the ground. Unfortunately they seem to be just thankful to be safe, and are still overwhelmed by enormity of it all. Our major role will be to partner with them and organize them so they can be channels for relief distribution, etc.
    d. Or we can just send goods and/or whatever money we have and can raise to our missionary contacts, if we are not able to go.
    2. WHAT WE CAN SOURCE COST-EFFECTIVELY IN PH & SEND TO CHURCH OF CHRIST RELIEF ORGS WORKING IN JAPAN- We can buy cheap medicine and first aid items. I would imagine that there would be a prevalence of respiratory and water-borne diseases. Altho they could be cheaper in Cambodia and Vietnam.
    I am trying to get contacts from Philippine Airlines to give us free freight for at least a ton of goods from the Philippines in anticipation of any purchases made from here. Should you have contacts in Delta Airlines, they have flights from Manila to Narita (altho this has been suspended till the airport is re-opened).
    Here are some other items which we can cost-effectively source from here:
    a. Sleeping bags (100-200 units)—
    b. Camping Tents (100 units at most)
    c. Propane lanterns, stoves, LED flashlights and batteries
    d. Air beds
    e. Thick woolen blankets
    f. 14-18″ McCullough brand Chainsaws
    g, Charcoal fed single stoves
    h. Water purifiers are too expensive from here but can be sourced
    i. Hand tools –
    j. Light Construction materials
    k. Tarpaulins
    l. Rice and noodles, cookies, biscuits, and flour
    m. Plastic containers and PET bottles
    n. Soap and toiletry products
    o. Heavy jackets and clothes
    p. Picture books and coloring/activity materials for children
    q. Many more
    Of course it will be more cost effective to send relief workers from the Philippines. There is a big Filipino population in Japan whom we can tap.
    3. NOT NEEDED – This is tough.
    a. Our presence and psychological processing/debriefing especially for children
    b. Food, shelter (temporary housing) and clothing, WE DID TEMPORARY HOUSING UNITS IN JOGJAKARTA & ST. BERNARD, LEYTE.
    c. Medicine and medical care especially for the elderly
    d. Funds to source what can be bought on the ground
    This is all for now. Please let me know how else we can help and be part of this great effort to bring relief and the love of God to those who suffer in Japan from this tragedy.
    Your fellow servant in Christ,
    M.A.R.C.H. for Christ
    You can help us realize our desire to help by sending to:
    MARCH for Christ, Inc.
    Bank of the Philippine Islands
    Legarda Branch, Baguio City
    US $ S.A. No. 8124005117
    Swift Code:BOPIPHMM
    For Tax deductions in the US you can send funds to Bread for a Hungry World
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    March, 14 2011

    This is the letter that went out to WFR supporters:
    Emergency Request for Japan Disaster Victims
    The tragedy continues to unfold as the death toll rises and lives are forever changed by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated the coast of Japan and affected many other areas as well. We know that God is greater than any disaster and that we have been blessed with the means to help our brothers and sisters around the world. The need is apparent and extreme and we need your help to provide relief to these hurting people. Clean water, shelter, and medical needs top the priority list right now.
    With eyes on the ground we are becoming more aware of the tremendous need by the minute and we see a unique opportunity for the church to show the love of Christ to their neighbors. We have always been impressed and grateful for the generous, rapid response of the church in situations of great need like this and we pray this is no exception. As always, your tax-deductible donations will be put to work by maximizing the effort through the church to provide hope and healing for the devastated.
    Your response to situations like this in the past is a testimony of your heart for those who are hurting and your passion for making a difference in their lives. In our nation�s response to this disaster, may the church shine as a beacon of hope and may God receive the glory and praise. Amen.
    � � �
    In His service,
    Ben Adkins Director WFR Relief Ministries
    Don Yelton American Ambassador
    WFR Relief Ministries
    WFR Relief Ministries is an outreach of White�s Ferry Road Church of Christ 3201 N 7th ST, WEST MONROE, LA, 71291, 318-396-6000
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    March, 14 2011

    Were there any Churches of Christ devasted in the disaster zone? All souls to God are precious, especially those of the household of faith. If there is any information about their well-being, it is appreciated. May all not only pray but lend a helping, healing hand to the victims and their loved ones. Is Healing Hands International involved or otthers such as them? Our Creatotr has allowed this catastrophy to manifest His glory through the work of his church…may we each respond heartily…
    God Bless,
    Hermann, Kalamazoo,
    Hermann Bloch
    March, 14 2011

    Bobby Ross Jr,
    Thankyou for the opportunity to let our Canadian brthren know that the Bramalea congregation located at 750 Clark Blvd. in Brampton, ON L6T 3Y2, Canada is willing to collect funds and send them on to the Mito congregation where Joel Osborne, formally of Sendai, and sponsored by us will help in dispersing these funds in Japan. We had four young twenty year olds in our home while the earhquake happened. One of them is enrolled in a Law degree in Sendai at the present time. Each of these young ladies was able to contact their families and find out that they were fine physically.
    Two have returned home and the other two will leave on the 16th, tomorrow.
    Walter R. Straker, elder at Bramalea.
    Walter R. Straker
    March, 15 2011

    I have no words to express to those who is in the centre of this tragedy,by only saying,”Our God is alive”The world is watching an as a family,we are praying…..
    March, 17 2011

    Luke said;
    Personally I am very sorry to see the next situation of the earthquake of japan. But I believe that God specially loves the Japanese nation for their honesty and brave. Because if the disaster were happened in my poor country like Bangladesh. It would be the course of more & more dangerous than Japan. So, I want to say God loves every nation equally but more love Japan than us. I also pray to our all mighty Lord for the affected sufferer of those Japanese, If all of them can overcome the painful situation in order of the special love by our Lord.
    By the name of our all mighty Lord.
    [email protected]
    luke mondal
    June, 24 2011

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