Crisis in Japan logoBryan and Janet Thompson continue to update friends and family on their activities helping with the relief effort in Japan.

In the past week they say they have seen a few “blessings in the midst of tragedy” including: the arrival of a 747 cargo plane with 93 tons of relief supplies, high school students raising $2,000 in downtown Tokyo for relief work and paper products appearing on store shelves.

Here are a few more updates:

March 18:

Today represents one week since the massive earthquake and devastating tsunami in the Tohoku and Kanto regions of Japan. At the CRASH relief command center in Tokyo about 80 relief volunteers gathered at exactly 2:46 p.m. to join the rest of Japan in moments of silence, followed by a time of prayer for the people of Japan in English and Japanese. Tears began to flow even before we started praying: Tears of sorrow, tears of exhaustion, tears of emotion as we face the enormous task ahead. We confessed our weakness in the face of such need and cried out to God to “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). We concluded by singing A Mighty Fortress is our God, so fitting for the task ahead: “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing, were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing.”

Thompson’s volunteer group of 10 people have received 2,600 offers for service from several organizations.

“We need more people to help us coordinate these efforts. We need wisdom to create a structure that allows us to prepare for many relief volunteers in the months to come while also responding to immediate needs. Please pray for us.”

‘It’s worse than you see on TV’

Two OMF missionaries from unaffected areas of Tohoku went out as an advance team to explore the needs in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami. We are hoping this will provide the necessary information we need to set up a CRASH relief base for future work in the area. When asked how the area looked, they said  ”It’s worse than you’ve seen on TV. People near the coast have a dazed look on their face.” “We visited a church near the coast that had been spared by the wave by 15 feet. This small group of 12 had considered closing the church, but now feel that God has a purpose for them: To help those suffering from this calamity.”

A CRASH volunteer also led an advance team from Operation Blessing to an affected area near Sendai. They produced several videos of the situation in the area.