Japan Disaster Response Update

by David Nakhla, OPC Disaster Response Coordinator (January 2012)

About 3 months ago, I wrote to you, updating you on the status of the OPC's Disaster Response effort in Japan. I wrote of the need for construction workers to help with 2 projects in the Sendai area:

  • repair the walls of the Sendai Church
  • transform a former dental office into a Ministry Relief Center in the more rural town of Yamamoto Cho, just a little south of Sendai

Due to the fact that building material is twice the price in Japan as in the US, our intention was to ship the building materials from the US. Little did we know of the difficulties we would run up against in attempting to order, pack, and ship this material to Japan. Yet, God has been faithful to raise up just the right men to stand in the gap and help make this happen. We give thanks for the variety of gifts that are present in the church, coupled with willing hearts to answer the call and respond when those gifts are needed in service in the church.

  • John Voss (Deacon - Orland Park, IL) has labored countless hours in designing, developing the bill of materials and in ordering the materials.
  • Ron deRu (Deacon - Oak Harbor, WA) has contributed his company's warehouse for staging the material and packing the containers and has coordinated the shipping of the material…again countless hours!
  • Arthur Newton (reformed missionary in Japan) has contributed vast wisdom gained through the experience of shipping material and navigating Japan customs. Arthur has agreed to help coordinate the material on the Japan side. (Arthur's newly constructed house that he built was washed away by the tsunami. He actually lived in the area of Yamamoto Cho…the former dental office we are retrofitting was his dentist! He is one of the very few, if not only, missionaries directly affected by the tsunami. Thankfully, his wife, who was home at the time of the earthquake escaped the tsunami. Pray for them as they continue to recover from having lost all their earthly possessions.)

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

Through the efforts of these men and others, the 26 tons of building material have been packed into two 40' shipping containers and have been transported from the warehouse to the ship. Figuratively, we can say "the train has left the station!"

We again place before you the need for skilled workers to go and to carry out this labor. Lord-willing, the material will arrive at each work site by mid-February. So we anticipate the need for construction teams to go, as early as mid-February through the end of April. The cost to send a worker for two weeks is $2500. The CDM is willing to cover 100% of that cost, but wanting to leave the opportunity for friends, family and the local church to partner in sending these workers, initially plans to cover 50% of the cost. It will pick up the remaining costs for those who are not able to raise that support locally.

We plan to send teams of 5 who will work for 2 weeks time. They will fly out on a Friday and fly back 2 weeks later. This will give them 2 Lord's Days in Japan to worship with the saints there and will give them 9 workdays.

The work involves rough carpentry, electrical, plumbing, hanging sheetrock, finish carpentry, etc. If you have experience with this type of work and are willing to contribute a few weeks of your time, contact me!

Please let me know soon if you are available or interested or know of someone who might be.

And please, keep praying:

  • That the Lord would continue to bless those in decision-making capacities with wisdom.
  • That the Lord would enable the material to arrive make the trip without damage and on time.
  • That the Lord would raise up not only the construction workers, but also the staff needed to carry out the witness of the Ministry Relief Center.
  • That the Lord would give our missionaries in Japan added grace and strength as they are central toward coordinating all these efforts.
  • That the Lord would be softening the hearts of those in Japan who he will call to Himself through these efforts.

May the LORD build this Ministry Relief Center (physically, but also its ministry), that we not labor in vain!

Yours in His service,

David Nakhla