Japan AGMF Relief Efforts

Japan AGMF stands for Assemblies of God Missionary Fellowship and is made up of AGWM (Assemblies of God World Missions) missionaries serving in Japan. There are 31 missionaries and all have been accounted for during this time.

Give to JAPAN DISASTER RELIEF at the Assemblies of God website.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Five Month Update on Japan Earthquake

August 11 marked five months since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred, causing a tsunami of gigantic proportions and a nuclear crisis at Fukushima Dai Ichi Nuclear Plant. Since then, much relief and now rebuilding efforts have taken place. The Japan Assemblies of God created the following video as a report:

2011.08 Report of Japan Assemblies of God for Earthquake and Tsunami

(The music in the background was written and sung by a pastor's two talented teenaged daughters.)

This summer has been hot as usual in Tokyo and southwards. However, the summer has been unusually hot in the Tohoku area. Already hundreds have either suffered and/or died this summer from heat exhaustion. On August 6, our missionary fellowship used U.S. relief funds to provide 266 fans to be distributed at Japan Assemblies of God church distribution center in Higashi Matsushima near Sendai to all 150 households. The local civic leader printed up vouchers and passed them out to each household, so the whole distribution went very smoothly.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Four Month Update

As of this week, Japan marked the fourth month since the Great East Earthquake occurred off the coast of the Tohoku region. Relief efforts continue. According to one pastor, his church's relief efforts have shifted to rebuilding. A need in neighborhoods is transportation for those who lost their vehicles to the tsunami. At both Koriyama and at Higashi Matsushima, we have been able to provide more than 300 bicycles using AGWM disaster relief funds.

Below are some photos of a distribution of bicycles on July 16 at Higashi Matsushima.

Fitting baby seats to bicycles for mothers and their children.

Unloading the children's bicycles.

 The new bicycles were delivered and set up in the park where the church distributed them.
 The adult bicycles came in three colors: blue, red, and silver.
This mother and her two children now have wheels.

This little boy has already picked out his new bicycle.
A couple of new bicycle owners ride off.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Latest News

It's now been over 3 months since the Great East Earthquake of March 11. Much relief work is now overlapped with rebuilding efforts. The nuclear situation has yet to come under total control while TEPCO (the managing company of the nuclear facility) and the government work out housing details and remuneration to those directly affected by the Fukushima reactor's meltdowns.

Please see photos of the status of clean-up efforts here.

Japan Assemblies of God churches and U.S. Assemblies of God missionaries continue to work together to reach out to those most affected by the disasters.In the city of Kooriyama, the largest number of evacuees remain in the evacuation shelter. (See the article.) Kooriyama Christ Church has been reaching out consistently to meet needs. The pastors started a non-profit organization in order to help whole families set up households. Most recently, our missionary fellowship has been able to use AGWM designated funds to provide bicycles for families with whom Kooriyama Christ Church's NPO has connections and has determined have a need for cheap transportation.

In Higashi Matsushima, ongoing efforts to reach out to the community through clean-up and feedings continue. Teen Challenge Japan has been involved with Izumi Fukuin Christ Church cleaning a park. Now they are holding services in the park after handing out cooked meals. This is an amazing breakthrough because in the past Christianity was viewed as unnecessary and irrelevant to the Japanese people. But now they allow the pastor to pray for the meal and for them.

In May a few teams came from the U.S. Convoy of Hope sent a couple to work with Assemblies of God churches in Kooriyama and in Higashi Matsushima. This week another couple will come to take their place. Also, this month two relief teams from the U.S. will arrive to help wherever they are needed. Please pray for these teams and for missionaries Shelley Carl and Bill and Carol Paris as they lead the teams. Pray for their safety, for favor, for divine encounters, and good communication with the church leaders and community.


This summer Japan is saving electricity. In Japanese this is called "setsuden." There are posters everywhere in stores, on the trains, in the stations, announcing the need to conserve energy. Here are some excerpts from the above online article.

"(T)he government's decree to cut electricity by 15% starting July 1 in the Tokyo and Tohoku regions—or face blackouts—has been adopted widely."

"But setsuden does have its dark side, literally and figuratively. Elderly Japanese—those over 65 years old who make up about 23% of the population—have complained about walking up the steep steps of escalators that have been stopped in subway and train stations. Mothers with young children are frustrated, too." (Note: Mothers have to carry their children in their strollers up the stairs.)

"Because convenience stores and even some vending machines have switched off their bright lights, some streets are now much darker, giving rise to a wave of purse-snatchings. From March 11 to April 10, 180 bags were grabbed in Tokyo, up from 130 in the February 12 to March 10 period, according to Japanese media reports." (Note: Such crime is highly unusual for Japan.)

"Thankfully, temperatures in Tokyo have, on average, been hovering around a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit. But come late July and August, temperatures often exceed 100 degrees, with humidity levels of close to 100%. Last year was one of Tokyo's hottest summers on record." (Note: People are being encouraged to set their air conditioner temperatures at 28 degrees C (82 degrees F) or higher.)

Japan wants businessmen to shed suits, save energy

Japan's white collar business culture is typically formal in that men generally wear suits with ties and the women wear suits. However, in an effort conserve energy, business people are being urged to adopt "super cool biz" guidelines for casual and light business attire. For men, "(p)olo shirts, Aloha shirts, and sneakers are acceptable now under the environment ministry's relaxed guidelines. Jeans and sandals are okay too under certain circumstances." For women, "khakis, white pants and airy polyester dresses are all apparently acceptable."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Update on the Tohoku Region

It has been two months since the earthquake/tsunami! Life in Tokyo has pretty much returned to normal but we are still having aftershocks and the nuclear reactor situation in Fukushima is still not totally under control. Up in the disaster area a lot of relief work has been done, but there are still a lot of needs and 120,000 people are still in shelters, and there are still miles and miles of destruction. But God is helping the churches with new outreaches and ways to help their communities. Please continue to pray for the Tohoku area.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

An Update on Japan

The following is a compilation of information gleaned from newspaper articles concerning the present conditions in the Tohoku area.

Physical Needs
In general, the needs of Tohoku survivors have changed from basic necessities of food and clothing to household items as evacuees attempt to rebuild their lives. In the case of those who lost their homes, they continue to live in evacuation shelters. More than 100,000 continue to live in evacuation shelters. Prime Minister Kan has said that the government aims to provide temporary shelter by August for evacuees.

In the meantime, the conditions in evacuation shelters vary from luxurious to basic. Due to crowded conditions and lack of privacy, some evacuees have opted to live in their vehicles while others lived in government-provided tents. -Evacuees in tents not happy campers, Daily Yomiuri Online.

As for the nuclear situation, the government announced that evacuees from the 20-km radius no-go zone around the nuclear plant will be allowed to fetch valuables from their homes after the Golden Week holidays through early May. But their stay will be limited to up to five hours for safety reasons.

"Tohoku Shinkansen bullet trains resumed full operations between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori stations on Friday, but railway lines operated by East Japan Railway Co. and semipublic companies remain crippled nearly two months after the disaster.

"Plans for rebuilding the railways are in limbo because if the reconstruction of disaster-hit residential areas sees them relocated to higher ground, the railway routes might also have to change." In the meantime, buses are being used in place of local trains. -Quake-hit railway lines in reconstruction limbo, The Yomiuri Shinbun.

Mental and Emotional Needs
"Those who are suffering the most are the elderly, children, the handicapped and foreigners." Mental health care has become more important as people recover from the initial shock of the disaster and gradually start to get a clear picture of what happened and what situation they are in.

"As people start to look around, they begin to feel more clearly the sense of loss, and anxiety over the future. . . . Some may develop PTSD. . .Many suffer from numbness. Because they lost everything they had and they begin to wonder about the meaning of making an effort, making a commitment or loving someone." If such cases continue over a long period, then people need to seek professional help."  -Psychiatrists aid traumatized foreigners, Japan Times, April 30, 2011 Issue

"Since the March 11 megaquake, Japan has experienced more than 500 temblors registering magnitude 5 or greater. Some Tokyo residents are having bouts of quake vertigo, the sensation of experiencing a mild earthquake when none is occurring. This is, apparently, due to heightened anxiety and disruption of inner-ear function.

But the real quake vertigo is emotional, as many of us are experiencing mood swings that range from fear and anxiety to guarded optimism and even giddiness, delighted with the arrival of warmer weather, blossoming flowers and life in Tokyo approaching normalcy." - After March 11, Japan Must Consider Its Energy Options, Japan Times, April 24, 2011 Issue

Blame is now being placed on TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company), the company that owns and manages the Fukushima nuclear plants that spewed radiation after the tsunami destroyed its backup generators. TEPCO is expected to provide compensation to those affected by the nuclear reactor failure. Prime Minister Kan has also insisted that the government should be held accountable for the nuclear situation since it has advocated nuclear power as an energy source.

According to an article in The Japan Times, it is expected to take 3 years to remove disaster debris. It could possibly be delayed due to a lack of temporary sites for disposal for the gigantic amounts of debris.
     The following are taken from Metropolis Magazine's weekly The Small Print column.
    • A geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey said that aftershocks related to the March 11 earthquake may continue for 10 years.
    • Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kan was quoted as saying that the evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant might be “uninhabitable” for as long as 20 years. He quickly retracted the claim.
    • The government has confirmed that 23 foreigners were killed in the March 11 quake. That’s 127 fewer than the number who died in the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Helping Tohoku Pastors Get Crisis Intervention Skills Training

    From Monday to Wednesday, April 18-20, AGMF missionaries participated in a PTSD Seminar (Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder) held by the Japan Assemblies of God and Central Bible College for about 80 pastors and church leaders involved in the Tohoku relief efforts. AGWM relief funds were used to provide housing for the guest speakers, Rev. Nathan Davis, his wife Dr. Beth Davis, and Dr. Hiroshi Horikawa, as well as provide transportation and housing for four Tohoku area pastors and their families.

    For those who could not attend in person, the course was also made available via live Internet streaming.

    Nathan and Beth Davis are AGWM missionaries who travel to many nations conducting crisis intervention seminars with missionaries, national pastors, and even nationals.

    Rev. Nathan Davis: The eldest son of US Assemblies of God missionaries Dr. and Mrs. Jim Davis, born and raised in Kobe, Japan. He served for 29 years in the Unite States Air Force as a psychologist. He leads practical training seminars on issues such as interpersonal relationships, crisis intervention, spiritual development, and stress management. In addition, he gives one on one counseling to over 50 missionaries a year. Nathan has a been recognized as a counselor by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation(ICISF).

    Dr. Beth Davis: She has worked as a missionary for over 25 years in Vietnam, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Belgium. She now serves as director of Caring Connection, an arm of the U.S. Assemblies of God which provides emotional care to missionaries around the world. Like her husband, she is also recognized by and is a member of ICISF.

    Dr. Hiroshi Horikawa: Pastor Horikawa, who will oversee the interpretation of this seminar, is certified as a clinical psychologist studying at Hiroshima University School of Engineering, graduating from Central Bible College of Japan, studying at Vanguard University Graduate School, receiving a master’s degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and completing a doctorate (in clinical psychology) at Yasuda Lady’s University. He is currently the pastor of Mitaki Green Chapel (Hiroshima Christ Church) as well as contributing to the community as a chaplain and school counselor.

    First AGMF Relief Team to Tohoku

    The first relief team we coordinated through the AGMF (Assemblies of God Missionary Fellowship) is home and safe in Tokyo now. It was an awesome week (April 18-22). The six volunteers from Saipan are school teachers at an Assemblies of God Christian school. Five of them were from America and one from the Philippines. Also, one believer from ICA (International Christian Assembly) Tokyo, a doctor from Singapore went. One JAG pastor drove the van. Plus 3 AGMFers (Joyce, Amanda, and Shelley) completed the team. Two guys from Yokota ICA also joined a JAG pastor to drive a truck filled with water and suitcases.  Another carload joined us for orientation and went to a different location. Bill and Carol Paris came up with another ICA Tokyo believer for one day to make a delivery of goods from Convoy of Hope. 

    We received a great victory when we arrived back to the campus last night. I was told by the JAG Relief Committee Chairman that the team from Saipan did not have to pay to stay in the JAG lodge because they were here as volunteers! This is an awesome victory and will help us in the future as more teams arrive. We have many more registrations coming in and are now looking to send the next team up to the Sendai area during Golden Week. It costs nearly $600 in gas and tolls alone to make the roundtrip to Sendai.