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Fukushima First Baptist Church

Yesterday a reader of this site sent me a link to an interesting series of blog posts—posts written by Pastor Akira Sato, who is the pastor for the Fukushima First Baptist Church, near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The email included this poignant paragraph:”Yesterday (Friday, March 18) one member who has been with us since the disaster had received an order from his company and left for work in the nuclear plant. (He is a leader of the plumbing job). As the family of God, knowing the departing pains of his loved ones, in tears we dispatched the brother with prayers. He left here with the Lord. Beside him, there are others, our precious members, who have been working hard at the plant. O, Lord, please protect them with your almighty hand! I beg you, please! ‘Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, ….that thine hand might be with me, and that wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me.’ (1 Chronicles 4:10)”

Here are several other excerpts from the pastor’s blogs:

[March 13] This has been triple disasters. Because of the quake, some member’s house was partially destroyed. I still haven’t been able to get in touch with the families who live near the beach. JR Tomioka station has been washed away by the tsunami. The city was utterly destroyed. You have already heard of the accident of Fukushima first nuclear power plant. All the residents were forced to evacuate, and my church members had to get on a bus without any belongings and sent to schools and gyms separately. It’s been hard to find out how they are doing. I heard that there were not enough blankets for everyone, and some couldn’t sleep all night because it was cold in the shelter. In some shelters, no water or food were distributed all day. I’m very concerned for Bro. Suenaga, 95-year-old, who was in a hospital due to pneumonia was forced to leave the hospital to evacuate. There are also people who have broken bones, in need of dialysis, with little children or children with disabilities.

[March 14] We have contacted 150 church members and they are safe. Hallelujah! One sister told me that waves approached her but she was able to swim to safety. My eyes fill with tears as I call members from a pay phone - fifty or sixty still need to be contacted.

[March 16] About a third of our 60 church members live close to the Fukushima power plant. They had to go through radiation checks, so we all gathered in the afternoon for a time of worship. I could hear people sobbing and saw that they had been through hardship. In the evening I went to a nearby hot spring. What a relief to have a soak after five days! People are so glad to find each other, which again led me to tears. Our nomad life has started. When I asked people whether they had any laundry, their reply was that there were no clothes to wash. All they have is what they are wearing.

[March 18] The most miraculous thing to me is that I never get asked questions like ‘Why did God allow this?’ or ‘I can’t believe in God. There is no God.’ From the 160 members I have been in touch with, all I hear are words like, ‘God is great. I want to trust Him as I walk with Him from now on.’ I marvel at the strength of their faith in the Lord.

[March 19] Day 3 in Yonezawa. I am grateful for the prayers and support of our brothers and sisters. People around me say they left home thinking they would only be gone for an hour or two. They literally have nothing with them. Brothers and sisters are bringing us food and clothing from all over Japan. I feel like Elijah, sustained by God with food carried by a raven. Our group of 50 is kept well by kind donations. Many of us are tired, and go to see the doctor. I have had a fever.

[March 21] Living with fifty people, cooking, eating, and sleeping with them is out of the ordinary. It has been ten days now and I can’t even tell what is ordinary and what is not. I am trying to accept it and go with the flow. By doing so, I might be charging my battery for the days to come.

Here is a photo gallery of shots taken at and around the church. You may like to read more at the source blog.