March 28, 2011 News

Great East Japan Earthquake, Update 11—Lauers

[Note: Links to other "Great East Japan Earthquake Updates" may be found here.]

Monday, March 28, 2011 4:30 p.m. EDT

This morning we again heard from OPC missionaries Woody and Laurie Lauer in Numazu, Japan:

Woody and Laurie Lauer
Woody and Laurie Lauer

Friday, March 11, 2:46 pm. Earthquake 9.0 followed by tsunami off the Tohoku coast. Whole towns on the coast virtually washed away. Thousands missing, over ten thousand confirmed dead. Telephone, electric, and gas lines destroyed amidst the snow and winter weather. Food, gasoline, kerosene, and necessities quickly became scarce. Devastation here exists on a scale difficult for any man to comprehend.

One week later following the example of Luke Cummings and friends, six volunteers using four trucks left Numazu early Friday, the 18th, to collect food and much-needed supplies in Yokohama and Tokyo. Arriving Saturday 8 am, the party rested at Megumi Church and met with Murray Uomoto, Cal Cummings, and Hideo Ogata (RCJ cooperating evangelist) to discuss the best way to distribute the goods in the name of Christ which had been so generously provided through the diaconal offerings of the OPC. Two homes and five churches later, the caravan had distributed all to pastors and church members who themselves are on the front-line of the disaster and able to share these gifts with members and seekers. They are very thankful for these concrete gifts of love from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. After arriving back in Numazu at 8 am Sunday morning, we praised God for safe travel. We are grateful to our volunteers: Mr. Iida, Kita Numazu church member, our son David and his wife Noriko and our son, Jonathan.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Mukasa, another member of Kita Numazu, was organizing a collection of more supplies from our members and seekers while we were gone. She herself drove a truck to Sendai, arriving at East Sendai RCJ on the 22nd, and returning safely early the next morning. Praise the Lord for such a faithful servant!

On Wednesday evening, the 23rd, as we studied Psalm 22 in prayer meeting; we considered God's perfect foreshadowing of the suffering of the Christ to come through his servant David. Meditating on the excruciating agony which our Savior underwent, we were reminded that our sin had brought this upon him. We had to stop at verse 21 that night since time ran out. Immediately following the meeting, having gotten word from our Sendai missionaries of a continuing need, we rushed to complete preparations for a second trip to carry supplies on behalf of the OPC to missionaries and RCJ churches in the Sendai area.

Thursday A.M., the 24th, three trucks and six volunteers (including two pastors from the RCJ's Eastern Presbytery, Kita Numazu member Mr. Oomizu, and our son Daniel) embarked for Sendai. Again, we praise God for the OPC diaconal aid which made the acquisition of relief goods possible. Friday morning, several pastors and missionaries gathered at Megumi church to collect goods for distribution as well as gasoline for their tanks. We had the privilege of distributing directly at East Sendai Church (planted by OPC missionary George Uomoto) and Watari again as well. We enjoyed fellowship at all three churches and were truly humbled by the joyful service to us by those who themselves have lost so much in earthly goods. We pray the Lord will use them all mightily to bring the good news to this vast region that the Living God, their Creator, calls them to obedience and has provided a Savior, his own Son, for their sins. His mercies endure forever.

Now, just over two weeks after the calamity, although Sendai (pop. 1 million) has largely restored electricity and phone lines, authorities predict restoration of natural gas service will take several months more. Food preparation (usually gas burning stoves), hot water, and home heating are all affected by this. Rationing of both kerosene (affecting the same) and gasoline make daily life a challenge. Food is relatively still in short supply although that is improving as well. Many coastal towns such as Watari, where the RCJ has a church and kindergarten, suffered significantly worse damage due to the tsunami and face much greater challenges.

In the daylight, this time we were able to see far more of the extent of the destruction. Mile after mile of devastation: on the right side of the highway, we saw winter fields of stubble awaiting spring planting, on the left side of the highway in what used to be farm fields lay cars, trucks, uprooted trees, flattened houses, and all manner of personal belongings strewn in the winter fields now covered in mud and water left behind by the tsunami. It was breath-taking. Words cannot describe the sight. What comes to mind? Who was riding in that truck when the tsunami came? Who was standing in that home or field? In what or whom did those now departed souls hope? God's power has been declared to this idolatrous people. He is calling them to repentance. Will they listen as did the people of Nineveh? Will they heed his warning, believe in him, and be saved from the final condemnation to come?

Please pray with us that the Japanese people will be comforted by the words of Psalm 22 which we look forward to studying this Wednesday in verses 23-28: "You who fear the LORD, praise him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of im, all you descendants of Israel. For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Neither has he hidden his face from him; But when he cried to him for help, he heard. From Thee comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the LORD's, And he rules over the nations."

Please give thanks for these things:

  1. All RCJ church members in Tohoku are reported safe (although damage to homes and churches was incurred);
  2. The response of the OPC, RCJ, RPCNA churches and the South African mission;
  3. For the efforts of the RCJ's "Emergency Response Headquarters" team as they seek to help the brothers up north.

Please pray for God's mercy in these things:

  1. Provision of necessities for those in shelters;
  2. Safe resolution to the nuclear plant problems;
  3. Widespread sharing of the gospel nation-wide and the comfort which only God can provide;
  4. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit to the end that a vast number of Japanese come to know and love the Lord.

Grateful to belong to our God,
Woody and Laurie

Please continue to take these matters to your heavenly Father, who does indeed answer the prayers of his children.

[Note: Links to other "Great East Japan Earthquake Updates" may be found here.]



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