12 March 2011

The Japanese Tsunami - A Summary of Video, News Articles, Opinion, Biblical Responses and Charitable Opportunities

It all happened while we watched and gasped. Never before has the world been exposed to such vivid and comprehensive footage of a disaster of this magnitude.  The Japanese Tsunami is unique among all natural catastrophes in its power and exposure to the world. The images have been riveting but it is critical for us to remember they are indeed real. Real people were consumed. Real people were scrambling from those horrifying waters. Mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons spent their last moments in abject terror and were washed away in an instant. And because we watched it happen on computer and TV screens, it seems distant and unreal.  And the pain and suffering will continue. Radiation leaks, homelessness, disease, mourning, rebuilding and the fear of recurrence  - these will be the new normal in these coastal towns.

It is right for events like these to completely rock our sensibilities. It is right to mourn, normal to question, and good for us to respond in tangible ways. The following articles and links are provided for us to enter in to this tragedy in a way that is honest, human, charitable and hopeful.

In the end, comprehensive answers may elude us. But we can draw comfort from the God who holds our tears in a bottle (Ps. 56:8) and who was willfully crushed under the full weight of the world's sin and agony to deliver all of those who would trust Him into a place where tsunamis happen no more.
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:1–6)
From The Boston Globe's The Big Picture
News Stories - What happened?
Powerful quake, tsunami kills hundreds in Japan
- An AP article summarizing the events
Updates and Video of Japanese Earthquake’s Aftermath The latest news updates from the New York Times
Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet, shifted Earth's axis From CNN
Stone In The Pond: Charting The Path Of The Tsunami - animation of the NOAA model
The Japanese Tsunami - The Big Picture
Japan Floods Nuclear Reactor Crippled by Quake in Effort to Avert Meltdown - from the New York Times
Nuclear Experts Explain Worst-Case Scenario at Fukushima Power Plant This is provides a solid explanation of the possible meltdown (HT: my buddy Doug Dale)
In Minamisanriku, Heartbreak as 9,500 Remain Missing - Time Magazine. This is a town of 17,000.

Human Reaction and Biblical Answers - What are we to think?
Sympathy for Japan, and Admiration by Nicholas Kristof
A Prayer for Japan by John Piper. Here is a moving excerpt from that prayer:
O God, we humble ourselves under your holy majesty and repent. In a moment—in the twinkling of an eye—we too could be swept away. We are not more deserving of firm ground than our fellowmen in Japan. We too are flesh. We have bodies and homes and cars and family and precious places. We know that if we were treated according to our sins, who could stand? All of it would be gone in a moment. So in this dark hour we turn against our sins, not against you.

And we cry for mercy for Japan. Mercy, Father. Not for what they or we deserve. But mercy.

Have you not encouraged us in this? Have we not heard a hundred times in your Word the riches of your kindness, forbearance, and patience? Do you not a thousand times withhold your judgments, leading your rebellious world toward repentance? Yes, Lord. For your ways are not our ways, and your thoughts are not our thoughts.
From The Boston Globe's The Big Picture
NPR Interview w/ Piper regarding the 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean This is a remarkably helpful piece and one I have gone to time and again when faced with the inevitable questions that accompany profound suffering.

Charities - How can we respond?
Crash Japan A dear friend of mine in Hamamatsu City and Makoto Fujimara both mentioned this organization as a great place for disaster relief donations.
UPDATE 3/17/11
Thursday, 17 March 2011

In the days following WWII General Douglas MacArthur appealed for 1000's of missionaries to come to help rebuild the devastated nation. Unfortunately only a fraction of that responded to the call. Today we are appealing once again for Christians to come help Japan rebuild. These are some of the things that CRASHJAPAN, a national network of churches, missions and ministries is prepared to facilitate in Northern Japan in response to the disaster.

1.2 Water Supplies
2.2 Bulk Food/Meals
3.1 Provide Shelter for Victims/Evacuees
3.2 Provide Shelter for Relief Workers/Volunteers
4.1 Medical Equipment and Supplies
4.2 Basic Medical Care or First Aid
4.3 Non-Prescription Medicines
5.1 Provide Clothing, Bedding, Blankets
6.2 Personal Hygiene Items
7.1 Trauma Counseling
7.2 Spiritual Support
8.1 Debris Removal and Cleanup
8.2 Construction and Repair
9.1 Transport / Shipping of Goods and Supplies
9.2 Point of Distribution / Final Delivery
9.3 Provide Storage Space, Warehouse Facility
9.4 Transportation of People
10.1 Web Development, Web Support
12.2 Fund Raising
12.3 Financial Management
12.4 Volunteer Management
12.5 Manage/Mobilize Volunteer Networks
13.5 Language Interpreters

If you are able to help in any of these areas - please contact us at 213-457-3154 in the US at 050-5534-5729
If you are able to donate funds please contact pnethercott@crashjapan.com
If you are able to send a volunteer team please contact bthompson@crashjapan.com
If you are able to send relief supplies please contact yhari@crashjapan.com
Churches Helping Churches - these folks have done an excellent job leveraging relationships between churches to mobilize relief efforts in Haiti and now they taking what they have learned to Japan.

World Vision - World Vision is assessing the role they might have in aiding victims and is planning to create child-friendly space for children to play as a first step.

American Red Cross From the website of the American Red Cross:
Since early Friday morning, we have been in close contact with our colleagues in the Pacific region to offer our support and learn more about the humanitarian needs. The Japanese Red Cross has indicated that it would accept financial support from the American Red Cross for its role providing first aid, emotional support and relief items to those displaced.

On Sunday, the American Red Cross will deploy a disaster management expert from its Washington, DC headquarters to Japan for a week-long mission. She will serve on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross, which continues to lead the local earthquake and tsunami response.
You can donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting "redcross" to 90999 as well.

God have mercy.
How should we respond to the tragedy in Japan? from Summitview Community Church on Vimeo.


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