Monday, March 21, 2011:
I’ve been in Tokyo for about a week now, volunteering at the CRASH command center. I feel like my role has been small, but it’s still been a privilege to serve here. Ever since the 11th, I had a huge burden to do something to help those who were suffering in the affected areas.
I ended up doing IT work at CRASH command center. While part of me would much rather have been up in Sendai, getting my hands dirty, delivering relief supplies and personally helping those in need, I realize that those going out need support from a well-run headquarters as well. One thing that impresses me about CRASH is that they are not simply sending a bunch of people into the fray, as quickly as possible, with no plan. A lot of help has been sent in a short amount of time, but the leaders of CRASH have a long-term plan as well, and aren’t sending relief teams in unprepared. They realize that there is going to be a lot work to be done for at least 6 months to a year.
God is blessing this endeavor. Good things are happening. Here are a few:
1. The command center has grown from around 20-30 people a week ago to over 100 this week, all of whom are volunteers or supported missionaries.
2. Samaritan’s Purse partnered with CRASH to deliver over 90 tons of relief supplies via airplane to Sendai. We needed 40 trucks to pick up and deliver the goods, and in a matter of hours the trucks were found and sent into action.
3. Besides Samaritan’s Purse, there are a number of other big American churches and organizations choosing to partner with CRASH because CRASH is Japan-based and knows the culture, the land and the language.
4. As of this morning we had one base in Sendai set up, with 5 relief teams on the ground. Within the next few months that will multiply to 5 bases with 80 sub-bases and a rotating cast of 1000 volunteers.
5. All of CRASH’s work is done in partnership with local churches in and near the affected areas. Our intel team has been on the phone constantly the past week with churches about what their needs and the needs of their communities are, and how we can work together to share God’s love with those in need. There is an amazing amount of unity in the Body of Christ as the Church responds to this crisis.
‘Greater things are yet to come…’