Note: This post is from pastor Yutaka Takarada who is currently in Japan ministering alongside Texas Baptist Men volunteers in the wake of the recent tragedy. Takarada pastors the Japanese Baptist Church of North Texas. To support the ongoing ministry efforts of Texas Baptists, click here.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
At 6:45 a.m., we gathered at the lobby and went to our favorite café to have breakfast. At 7:50 a.m., we moved to the convention office. There the wife of the pastor who is staying at the church in Koriyama, Fukushima and their members and children were loading their luggage in the executive director’s minivan. When they got ready, we departed for their hometown in two cars. After three hours of driving, we arrived at the church in Koriyama. There we examined the building with minor damages by the earthquake, and then we joined the meeting of how this church can serve the community in Christ’s love.
The report from this meeting will be presented by one of our members at the next committee meeting planning next week at the convention office in Dallas, because I don’t have time left to do much my final report. It is already after 5 o’clock in the morning, and I have not packed my stuff to return home this evening yet. So, I am sorry but I have to make this report short and start getting ready for today.
One thing that I want to share with you today is the story that I heard from the pastor of the church in Koriyama. When the earthquake hit, he and some of his members were inside the auditorium. Soon after that, they all went out to the parking lot for their safety. In the next moment, the pastor realized that his son who was in the room on the second floor wasn’t there, so he immediately went up to the room search for his son. He found his son under a small table crying in fear, the house was still shaking and his son could not move, so he stretched his hand and gently held his son’s hand and stayed there with his son until the building stopped shaking. He said that at that moment he determined no matter what would be happened he stayed with his son. After a while it stopped, and he and his son walked out of the house to the parking lot where people were waiting on them to come out of the building.
This father’s love reminds me the love of God demonstrated toward us: He gave up His life in order to deliver us from the final judgment. Because Jesus voluntarily came down to this troublesome world knowing that people would reject him, because He willingly gave up His life to die on the cross on behalf of us sinners, we now have peace in God and no matter what might trouble our hearts, we don’t worry about tomorrow. Even today Jesus is with us holding our hands saying “Son, I am with you always.” My prayer is that people who are in trouble out of this tragic event to come to know that Jesus is searching for them and calling them out saying “where are you?” If anyone says, ”I am here Jesus. I am scared,” then I am very sure that Jesus will approach those who are crying out to him and stretches His hand out and hold his hand and say, “Do not be trouble, my son, because I am here with you and I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
It is now after 6 in the morning, and we will have the last meeting with the executive director at the convention office at 8 a.m., and after that we will get ready for the trip back to Dallas.
So, we will see you all in Dallas soon. This is the end of my reports of the disaster relief team here in Japan. At the same time, this is the beginning of our long relief effort for Japan. Let us join our hands together and keep praying and let us give donations freely and willingly with love in Christ to save as many people as possible from this tragedy and ultimately introduce them to the eternal happiness that can be found only in Jesus the son of God who die on the cross for our sins.
On behalf of the disaster relief team, I want to say thank you for your prayers and support, and also thank you for your prompt response on our requests that we have made for this relief effort to become successful. Together we can built a good relationship with the Japan Baptist Convention and bring all the glory to God.
In the wonderful name of Jesus,