Maggie is the wife of Rev Jonathan Iverson.
This is Maggie Iverson, Dan’s daughter-in-law, helping him keep up with the email tsunami. Again, thank you all so much for your prayer, involvement and support from afar.
- Team Continues to Bring Aid North: Building Community Through Common Purpose
- Common Grace in Japan: Situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Plant And Response to Crisis
- Finding Opportunities to Provide Water: Telling About the Living Water
- A Story of Hope: Pastor from the North Reunited With His Flock
Team Continues to Bring Aid North: Building Community Through Common Purpose
At present, the team continues to work tirelessly to send trucks full of supplies–food, water, gasoline, clothing, etc.–to the north. There are three teams–Chiba, Nagoya, Tokyo–who send trucks around the clock, 11 trucks so far! There are shortages of food, water and gas throughout the north and even in Tokyo and Chiba, due to panic. The fuel shortages throughout the country prevent distribution of goods and transportation to the places that need aid the most. Throughout this past week, many hundreds of Japanese have been bringing supplies, making rice balls, waiting in gas lines, working to expand the network and keep everybody informed. Even many non-Christians have come to offer assistance and donate items when they learn we are actually taking supplies north–many aid organizations won’t go very far north into the hardest hit areas yet. We are watching people draw near to our community and become a part of it through relief efforts.
A Story of Community: To get gas, we organized church members to stand for hours in the gas lines to fill up small tanks that we could transport north. One of our church members was talking with her neighbor. When her neighbor asked what we were transporting north, our church member mentioned gasoline. It just so happens, this neighbor’s husband owns a gas station. Since learning about what we are doing, her husband has given our church a large tank to transport fuel. He also comes each morning and fills all our tanks, kerosine to warm peoples houses and diesel for transport to take to the north. Of course we pay him, but he gives it to us straight from the truck, as much as we need! No more waiting in lines. He has been doing this for 2 days and will continue, praise the Lord.
Common Grace in Japan: Situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Plant
The plant workers at Fukushima Daiichi are working hard to contain the problem, often very close to the dangers there. Then have not left. We have been overwhelmed by the common grace displayed in this country:
People wait patiently in lines for gas, water, to make phone calls and receive supplies.
They take no more than they need, and at times, even take less in order that everyone might get some.
The workers at the plant are working day and night to contain the situation at the power plant, to their detriment, in the wake of much material and often family loss. They work around the clock with little sleep and without seeing family members on the outside.
In some ways, such a competent culture filled with such “good” people seems to have little understanding of human depravity and little need for the gospel. But we know the truth. We know that the hope of the gospel is needed in EVERY nation, now in Japan more than ever. Please pray for these broken-hearted ones to hear the truth of the gospel and be given soft hearts to respond.
An encouraging story: A Wycliffe missionary, supported by our church, Oyumino, has been helping out with the relief efforts and has been three times to some of the hardest hit areas in the north. He has traveled three times with our trucks, close inside the evacuation zones and braved the threat of radiation with our trucks and team. A team came from USA yesterday with a radiation detector and they checked him. His levels were zero. NO exposure. We are praising God for this encouraging news!
Finding Opportunities to Provide Water: Telling About the Living Water
We know that these people desperately need physical aid, but we also know that their physical need is profoundly overshadowed by the spiritual need and darkness here. These people are THIRSTY for living water and true life! One member of our team, Matt, who has been driving supplies North and distributing them recently wrote about delivering 1000 liters of water in Ueda, a town that had been without water for a week:
Our truck was completely surrounded with people teary eyed and grateful to receive whatever we could give. There were many elderly people, so I ended up carrying lots of water directly to their homes and talking with them. They bowed and thanked us endlessly when they heard we were from Chiba-(4 hours away) and part of the Christian church there. One lady said, “It’s so sad…the government says we won’t have water until sometime in April. Everyone has forgotten about us”. I told gently told her “We haven’t forgotten about you”.
As we finished giving out all the water we had, I couldn’t help but think of how Jesus said “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty again”
A Story of Hope: Pastor from the North Reunited With His Flock
There was a church of over 200 (one of the largest churches in Japan!) located just miles from the power plant. When the warnings of the tsunami sounded, these people fled with just the clothes on their backs. They have lost everything and they are scattered throughout shelters. 150 of them are still unaccounted for. Their pastor was in the Tokyo area for his son’s graduation when the earthquake occurred. He has been trying to get to his church members and get in touch with them, but to no avail. Finally, he was able to catch a ride with one of our teams taking a truck. Witnesses said that when the truck arrived, he jumped out and before one item was removed from the truck, he and his church members (those that are left) had a worship service. He opened the word to Is 37 where Hezekiah prayed to God in overwhelming difficulty. He said: “God established and carried our church through various difficulties for the last 60 years faithfully. Earthquake, tsunami, even radiation cannot shatter what God started.” They sang “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
Another team is planning to take supplies to Iwaki city, 20 miles south of the power plant to help a pastor who chose to remain in the area without escape.