When the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, Mr. Minoru Y. witnessed the destruction of everything in his coastal city of Kamaishi in northern Japan. He spent two days at an evacuee shelter and was unable to contact his parents and other relatives for a week.
Soon after the disaster, Rev. Masao Yamashita, Japanese leader for Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI), sent letters to all listeners on the ministry’s mailing list, expressing concern for their losses, inquiring about their welfare, and assuring them of the prayers of God’s people. Letters of response made it clear that listeners were trusting God to provide, even as they looked for more words of hope as they face long-term recovery.
“Thank you for your letter,” Mr. Minoru Y. told Rev. Yamashita. “Now I know [my family] are all safe. I have never experienced such a big earthquake before. We are getting help, not just from Japan but from all over the world. I am very grateful.”
“The disaster area is vast,” said Rev. Takashi Yoshida, moderator of the Reformed Church of Japan. He contacted Rev. Bob Heerspink, BTGMI director, encouraging BTGMI to expand communication with people in the disaster area. “Many people here cannot watch TV but still listen to the radio.”
Rev. Larry Spalink, Japan team leader for Christian Reformed World Missions, affirmed this need: “Radio outreach has new life in this heavily damaged region, as other lifelines are down.”
At their April 28 meeting, the BTGMI board agreed to channel additional resources into broadcasting in northern Japan. BTGMI will also look for additional ministry partners in Japan to help fund increased broadcasting.
About the Author
Nancy Vander Meer is a staff writer with Back to God Ministries International in Grand Rapids, Mich.