March 14, 2011
First Report of Disaster Situation
Tohoku District District Moderator, Kazuhito Takahashi
Praise be to God
I give my heartfelt thanks for the immediate response – the many warm words, sympathy and kind offers of help, as well as visits from afar – following the disaster caused by the massive earthquake and tsunmai. With a large area of this district cut off from any means of communication, and the life lines inoperable, we were not able to get information from the disaster sites or to send you a report sooner.
Finally I am able to give you a report about the situation, though somewhat incomplete. Some church buildings were damaged severely, but many churches at this point have suffered small-scale external damage. However the aftershocks continue. We still have people that we have not been able to contact and there is still much cause for concern.
Yesterday, the UCCJ Moderator and 5 others went to investigate the disaster sites and churches in northern Miyagi Prefecture. We were speechless at what we saw of the disaster and are at a loss for words to describe the tragic reality. These areas are still in the midst of the disaster and we are not able to grasp the full extent of the damage, but we must as a church respond quickly and also make plans for the long term.
Specifically, we the UCCJ, Ou District and Tohoku District are working together to start up and proceed with relief activities. We will inform you of details as we progress, and ask for your cooperation.
We need your prayers and cooperation. We will put our utmost strength to the task at hand and ask for your support.
We pray that God will hear our cries and give strength to those who are weak in body and spirit due to anxiety and fear.
UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center Established at Emmaus Center on March 15th.
We at the Emmaus Center have been discussing how best to gather and provide information and offer disaster support. On March 15, along with Emmaus Center Director Matsumoto, and Student Center Director Jeffrey, we arrived at the conclusion that Emmaus Center will be the focal point of this support. Based on this, along with District Moderator Takahashi who had returned from a meeting at Ou District, we agreed to establish the UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, housed at the Emmaus Center.
We do not know how much we will be able to do, but supported by your prayers, we have decided to begin activities to stand with the people who have suffered.
We will continue to provide details.
We give thanks from the bottom of our hearts for remembering the disaster stricken areas and for your prayers.