Japan Quake Rpt: Mar 26 ’11

This report is from Sasha Ingle, apprentice missionary with the Mito church.

To our Brothers and Sisters,

We would like to give an update on our situation in Mito, clarify our plans and intentions and let you know of our gratitude for your prayers and generosity.

As we deal with a crisis that continues to tax us physically, emotionally and spiritually, we want to let you know of our situation so that you can cover us in prayer.

In the Ibaraki area there are still some places that have not had running water restored. There is also a serious shortage of gasoline; this along with other damage from the earthquake has caused many problems for the public transportation system. Damage to roads and businesses have made it difficult to travel to work and perform everyday tasks like buying groceries. Despite all of these challenges the members of Mito church and the people in the community of Mito are working hard toward restoring some form of normalcy. However, the reality is that the process will take a long time, even in this area which suffered much less damage than those cities to the north.

There have been over 750 earthquakes/aftershocks since the 11th of March. And as the ground continues to tremble beneath us it is easy to see that the spiritual and emotional stress of our situation is weighing heavily on our members. Due to the gasoline shortage and other challenges, it has been difficult for many members to even make it to worship on Sunday morning. Those of us who have any free time left after comforting and caring for our families and friends, waiting in line to buy basic things like gasoline or food and helping to restore order to our homes and workplaces are working to help clean up the damage in the homes of members of our church who are unable to clean their own homes or volunteering in the city emergency shelter. We are doing our best to contribute to the stabilization of our church community and the city of Mito.

It is true that, compared to many other Churches of Christ in Japan, Mito Church is in a better position to be the base of operations for some kind of relief effort. Since the day this disaster began, we have been receiving many offers for help in many forms, several suggestions on how best to deal with the needs that have arisen and many requests for information about what are we are doing to serve those in need. However, it is important for those assisting us in these efforts from outside Japan to understand our situation, intentions and limitations.

We are not a relief organization with a previously decided plan of action for a major disaster, but it is possible that God has been preparing Mito Church for this time through our focus this past year on Acts 1:8 in which Jesus instructs his apostles to go out, upon to receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, to be his “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. In terms of evangelism, we have been focusing on reaching out first to our families, then to our friends, then to the wider circle of our community and then to reach even farther out by sending Christians out “to the ends of the earth”. In the first few days of this disaster, we mainly focused on the needs of ourselves and our families; we now are giving our attention to meeting the needs of all the members of Mito Church, and we are beginning to find time and energy to serve the needs of our community and those who have come here seeking refuge; we believe that God will continue to build our strength and ability to reach out farther into Ibaraki and the other damaged areas to the north.

In the next month, our intention is to gather leaders from several area churches in a committee to create a plan for how we will use the financial support that we have begun receiving. As our local community stabilizes, we need time to gather information about opportunities to help beyond. We are grateful for the support that people are sending, so we want to take a little time to consider prayerfully how to use that support. We also will need time to gather and organize volunteers, vehicles and other necessary resources. We want to move carefully with the Lord’s guidance, because we are very much aware that this disaster will require a long-term relief plan that will demand a lot of wisdom and endurance. We want to find the path that the Holy Spirit will open for us to be involved in the physical, emotional and spiritual rebuilding process, because we know we will fail if we act without his guidance.

Our request is that you continue to join us in covering our decisions and actions in prayer. We believe that you have been led by the Spirit to help us, and so we hope that you will trust us to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in deciding the best way to use the blessings that you have shared. We will strive to be transparent and honest in the ways that we use the donations that we receive, but we ask that you be patient and understanding of the constraints on our time. We fully intend to give the glory to God because of the ways he is moving in His world-wide church to care for his children in Japan.

In Christ,

Sasha Ingle

Mission Apprentice, Mito Church of Christ

on behalf of the leadership of Mito Church of Christ