March 14th, 2011 at 5:13 pm
DALLAS – Texas Baptists has committed $25,000 to the Japanese Baptist Convention to help with the response effort in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated parts of the country.
Chris Liebrum, who leads Texas Baptists disaster response, said the funds will help Japanese Baptist leaders respond to immediate needs following the disaster. The funds will provide a way for Japanese Baptists to respond quickly and cost-effectively to the needs the see immediately. The Japanese convention is hoping to raise $100,000 to assist with the response effort.
Disaster casualties are still mounting, with latest media reports indicating nearly 1,900 people are dead and at least 3,000 people are missing. It’s estimated 450,000 people are living in shelters. Parts of the country do not have electricity or water. One nuclear power plant remains unstable.
“These funds are just the beginning of aid Texas Baptists hopes to provide to our brothers and sisters in Japan,” Liebrum said. “We are in regular contact with our partners working in the area, including Baptist World Aid, the Japanese Baptist Convention, Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. As advanced teams do their work, they will identify needs and service opportunities that Texas Baptists will seek to meet as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Texas Baptist Men stands ready to serve with two volunteers who are ready to travel to Japan to help serve as point people for Texas response efforts. Texas Baptist Men has committed $5,000 to help the Japanese Baptist Convention with its relief effort as well.
Yutaka Takarada, pastor of Japanese Baptist Church of North Texas in Dallas and member of the convention’s Executive Board, is communicating with Japanese Baptist leaders daily.
“Texas Baptists are truly blessed to have Yutaka Takarada,” Liebrum said. “His relationships with Japanese Baptists, his insight into Japanese culture and willingness to serve the convention already have proved invaluable in this process. We are grateful to him and for him.”
Mission opportunities will arise in the coming weeks and months, Liebrum said. As those opportunities become available, they will be posted at www.texasbaptists.org/disaster.
“When something like this happens, we all want to rush in and help,” Liebrum said. “Unfortunately, due to a number of issues, that cannot happen yet. Right now, the most valuable action any one person or church can take is to pray for those affected by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami and for those specialized workers who are serving in this initial phase of the relief effort. Beyond that, people can give financially to help support the relief effort.”
To give through Texas Baptist disaster response, visit www.texasbaptists.org/give.