Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 30, 2011 Why I'm going to help in Japan

On March 11, 2011, northern Japan suffered a devastating earthquake followed by a tsunami, and radiation releases due to damage to nuclear reactors. As you know whole cities were washed away by the tsunami, and estimates of the eventual total of the dead range up to 20,000. In a time like this we all feel the urge to reach out in some way, to help.

My sister, Sandy Rogers, and her husband Brent, who formerly ministered in India and here in Pittsburg, have lived in southern Japan for 15-20 years, operating an English school for children and adults, as a doorway to outreach. Their adult children live in the States. People in the Japanese culture, although they may be disillusioned about their traditional religion, are yet very resistant to making a dramatic change. In spite of discouragement and health difficulties they have continued to labor for the Lord without giving up as you or I might.

One day last week I mentally compared the trauma our country faced after 9-11 to what Japan was experiencing. Particularly, I remember that period for several months where people’s community spirit and openness to talk about things that really matter came to the forefront. There was a window of several months where we all shared a common sense of shock followed by a recognition of our dependence on Almighty God. People gave and accepted words that lifted up their spirits.

When I put these together—the sometimes lonely ministry of the Rogers—with the possibility that right now the Japanese people might be more open to talk and reflect, I realized I needed to make myself available.

God didn’t even give me a chance to find an out. Our kids are grown and on their own. My passport is good for another year. In spite of Mary dealing with continuing health issues, she wanted me to go, and her temporary seasonal job gave us enough for the plane ticket. My work had just enough room on the schedule to get me off, and they worked with my leave balances to make it happen. I was able to quickly obtain an international driver’s license. The plane ticket for April 1 is already purchased.

Brent couldn’t talk when I tried to tell him what I was thinking about. Their hearts are very heavy with what Japan is going through. The need, because of breakdowns in the logistics of moving supplies, seems greater than what the government can handle. They are in contact with a couple of Christian relief organizations that are already on the ground in Japan. In their part of the country, needed items are available, so they are working on ways to put together a shipment to drive to the North.

Please pray for Japan, the Rogers, Mary, and me, as I am ready to be used in any way I can for the next seven weeks. In His service,
Ken Hougey