Taken from Bruce’s March Prayer Letter:
On March 11 it will be exactly one year since the catastrophic 9.0 earthquake hit northern Japan, causing massive destruction. Looking over these past 12 months we see the terrible effects it has had in four areas—physical damage, emotional damage, nuclear damage and economic damage:
- one, the tsunami which was at some places 90 feet high, killed over 15,000 lives! And there are 3,320 still missing; it will take 245 billion dollars for reconstruction;
- two, emotional damage that resulted in increased suicides, depression and emotional stress (throughout 2011 earthquakes continue to shake Japan—there were over 19,000 earthquakes in the 3.0 category and 2200 5.0-5.9 magnitude quakes!)
- three, exposure to nuclear radiation and the shut down of the power plant which resulted in the loss of 20% of Tokyo’s electricity and the scare of contamination of food, water and the air.
- four, it was a blow to the all ready hurting Japanese economy by the loss of production and increased debt from having to pour money into repairing the infrastructure and care for the affected people.
Could there possibly be anything positive come out of such a tragedy? Yes, and let me tell you of four ways God is using this:
- the evangelical church has become unified in their efforts to work together to reach the affected areas.
- our Presbyterian denomination has committed to starting a presbytery of several churches in one of the least churched area of Japan.
- perhaps most notably, the reputation of Christians in Japan has taken a turn for the good. Many Japanese are impressed at the unconditional help and concern shown by Christians to those suffering from the tsunami.
- local churches have become visible in their community. Neighbors have entered churches for the first time to bring contributions to be sent north for relief work!
Pray that God will use the one year anniversary of the terrible tsunami in the ways listed above—that the testimony of the church would be a means for many to hear the gospel and turn from fear, apathy, loneliness, discontent to the Lord Jesus Christ!