Japan Quake Rpt: Hysten Mar 29 ’11

Report from Ken and Etsuko Hysten – March 29, 2011

It has been now a little over two-weeks since the great Tsunami and Earthquake devastated the Kanto and Tohoku Region, in the eastern shores of northern Japan. In many ways it is very surreal how quickly life in Japan has been altered in such a brief period of time. Although only a couple of weeks, so much has been occurring within this brief span of time—it certainly feels like it has been much longer.

While so many in Japan have been working at a feverish pace to restore some semblance of order, Japan’s recovery will take a long time. It is apparent for so many; the aftereffects have and will continue to far succeed the aftershocks that continue to shake Japan. The largest of such quakes recent occurred, on Monday, a 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck near the epicenter of the Kanto Region. It was reported due to this seismic activity, that it might generate further tsunamis that would impact the already affected areas. Thankfully, no tsunami came.

The figures from the recent tsunami and earthquake continue to show a rise in the total of confirmed deaths. There are at present count over 240,000 refugees in need of food and shelter. Many have fled the northern areas. The news in Japan continues to be further darkened by the looming fear of an invisible umbrella cloud of radiation that continues to filter from the nuclear power plant disaster in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima. Japanese officials continue to exhibit guarded optimism in an attempt to calm the fears so many express over radiation poisoning that could potentially bring about exposure to people and contaminate food and water.

Because of a loss in capability to generate energy normally fueled by the nuclear power plants, there is an exacerbated energy crisis that is plaguing Japan. I am sure you have been hearing, seeing and reading about the shortages back in the United States. Thus, the Japanese government has initiated something they call “Rolling Black Outs.” These “Black Outs” are designed to share in particular electrical energy and is a sacrifice being divided among neighboring cities. Each affected city in turn, beginning from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., receives a three-hour black out so that the cluster of cities impacted, can continue to function.

Many of the trains in Japan are beginning to run again; however, due to the gasoline shortage, reaching certain areas continues to be problematic. In talking with the brothers in the north, the lack of gasoline has been that which is the most cumbersome. Many of the ministers have been trying to visit their church members on foot and on bike. One of the ministers in Ibaraki has been using his bike to get to church; it takes him two and a half hours one way to get to the church building.

Our immediate family continues to be in good health – God has graced our lives!

This weekend we are planning to travel to Ibaraki Prefecture to help Etsuko’s parents by way of bringing rebuilding supplies (materials are getting harder to find) and in helping repair their home. I have been in contact with many in Ibaraki with the intent of seeing what supplies we can bring and in what ways we can be of service to the brothers and sisters there. We have been coordinating with churches in the Shizuoka, Tokyo, and Ibaraki areas concerning relief efforts. Overall, with the help of the various church congregations, we are continually assessing how we can have a greater impact in helping, within our capability to do so. For certain we will be providing what resources we can; concurrently, continuing our efforts to do what we can to plant seeds to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout Shizuoka City. We are praying the disaster will provide a door of opportunity for us.

On Sunday we joined efforts here in Shizuoka City in the purchasing and sending of supplies directly to the Sendai Prefecture. Sendai is one of the areas most deeply impacted by recent events. In view of the gasoline shortage and shortages of food, water, diapers and other commonly used goods/materials, it would appear for the moment the most effective way we can help is to work closely with local, national and international relief organizations. The gasoline shortage is of primary concern. Due to some individuals attempting to bring supplies from great distances by car, many of the hardest hit areas have found that what fuel supplies they have, are being depleted by well intentioned “do-gooders”. Unfortunately, this has impeded the efforts of some of the organizations better equipped to accommodate the needs of the areas most devastated.

It appears through the coordinating I have been doing with the brethren here, we will be able to mobilize as a group more effectively in the near coming weeks. In the meantime, we will continue to what can for those in need. In the midst of it all, we continue to strive to win souls to the Lord in Shizuoka. As you may well imagine, many of our conversations with our readers are about the devastation that has so deeply impacted Japan. Although the times are gloomy, we continue to encourage and evangelize those whom we are trying to reach for the Lord and others previously won. Please continue to remember in your prayers the nation of Japan and those of us here who are striving for the cause of Christ in Japan