March 18, 2011 News

Great East Japan Earthquake, Update 7—Lauers and Uomotos

[Note: Links to other "Great East Japan Earthquake Updates" may be found here.]

Friday, March 18, 2011, 4:15 p.m. EDT

Woody Lauer family
Woody Lauer family

Earlier today, OPC missionaries Woody and Laurie Lauer headed up north with supplies. Their son, Stephen, writes:

I just spoke with my parents, OPC missionaries Woody and Laurie Lauer (in Numazu, Japan, southwest of Tokyo). They asked me to write on their behalf asking for your prayers. They have been able to borrow and rent four large trucks and obtain the necessary permits in order to drive them North to the Sendai area which was affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Along with Woody and Laurie, David and Noriko Lauer (son and daughter-in-law of the Lauers) and a member of the Numazu church (where Woody serves as pastor) have stopped in Tokyo and purchased enough food and supplies to fill the trucks. Food is getting very scarce in some areas of the Northeast. They now hope to start driving North, and will probably be driving through the night. They are not able to bring any more help along with them due to the nature of the permits, as the government is trying to keep the number of people going into the disaster area to a minimum (i.e. every person is another mouth to feed, etc., if they get stuck up North). As they head out please keep the following points in your prayers:

  1. Please pray for safety during the drive, in particular as they were only able to get five drivers for four large trucks.
  2. Pray for good weather as it has been snowing.
  3. Pray for the local churches. They hope that some of the supplies can be given to the local churches to be passed out in the neighborhoods around the churches.
  4. Pray for the spread of the Gospel as it is shared along with the supplies and food. They are also bringing Bibles and Gospel tracts to pass out.
  5. Pray for wisdom and guidance from above. They don't know how long the trip will take until they get up there, and there is much that they will need to find out when they actually arrive and can better assess the situation. Pray that the food and supplies would be distributed where they are most needed. The Japanese government has been very slow in providing accurate information and organization for the relief effort.
  6. Pray that they will have enough gasoline. They are taking tanks of gas with them, and plan on taking enough, but gas is scarce up North in the disaster zone.

Abraham's story is the Lauers' story, which is also ours. His promises are their promises, which are also ours: "By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God." We are pilgrims, even foreigners (whether in Japan or the USA), who by faith lay hold of the eternal city, which "He has prepared... for them" (Heb. 11). While in this world, Christ calls us to feed, clothe, and quench the thirst of even the least of our brethren (Matt. 25). Their lives and our lives are bound up in Christ's life! By serving our brothers and sisters in Japan, we serve Christ.

And just a little while ago, we heard from Murray Uomoto:

Murray and Tsuruko Uomoto
Murray and Tsuruko Uomoto

Praise the Lord for water! Warm greetings from a crisp Sendai nighttime. I hasten to write a line or two. I don't know Facebook tech, so I hope this will fit. We need to get a few winks in before OPC missionary ... Woody Lauer, rolls in with a convoy of four 2-ton flatbed trucks loaded up at the Yokohama Costco and in Tokyo at a food shelter run by an Evangelical org. We already have a young Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) friend attending Megumi Chapel, Monica from the Seattle/Kirkland area, staying with us. Woody's group has 5 people including Woody's wife, Laurie, their eldest son David and wife Noriko, and a Mr. Iida recently baptized. One or part of a truck will unload here in our cramped Japanese one story house. So Sunday, when I lead the service and speak from John 12 about Isaiah seeing the glory of Christ in his famous vision of Isaiah 6, depending on how much of the foodstuffs and goods we are able to distribute by then—we may be holding service amidst boxes and crates. We are praying for the most evangelistic way to distribute the supplies and pray we can get the goods in the hands of believers, pastors, seekers, and needy neighborhood folk with which we have or will have ongoing relationships. Some of the trucks may be unloading at shelters, etc.

Izumi-ku (ward) is inland mostly so our area was not hardest hit. But people have had block walls topple, parts of inside walls, too, and many have lost lots of dishes and glassware. The Reformed churches have had some damage. Kita Nakayama Chapel, which was built by our own hands in 1989, has serious cracks apparently in the concrete step area leading to the front door which will not close so folk had to enter by the back door.

The Ishinomaki Chapel founded around 1960 by my father and OPC missionary Heber McIlwaine, sounds like it received structural damage by the tsunami being, only a little ways from the coast, like maybe about a km. They also had about half a meter of water on the first floor. Pastor Shiratsu and wife and maybe son are staying at nearby Hebita Elem. School for the time being. Their shelter had only enough rations for about one rice ball plus a small bowl of soup per person per day. Their younger daughter Kieko, a social studies teacher at Shokei Gakuin HS (Baptist run) frantically alerted friend Hiroko living maybe in NJ on Facebook who alerted Tsuruko who alerted OPC missionary Cal Cummings who was able to send visiting 4th and youngest son Luke with a vanload of goods to the rescue which was much appreciated by the Shiratsus and those with them there

Lines, lines, lines. I waited 2 hrs, Wed. morning in line, with Monica-san just ahead of me. We had to wait only 2 hrs in slightly snowing weather and were within about the first 20 at the local small Winmart suupaa (supermarket). They allowed each to fill a shopping basket which was wonderful. The gent in line right behind me told of waiting hours at Yamaya food store and being allowed to buy one pack of ramen noodles, the other day. He waited 5 hrs at Winmart from 8 to 1 the previous morn. What we all need is gasoline and kerosene. A lad passing by Fri. morn said he waited 6 hrs in Shiogama City on coast and still did not get any gasoline. But we hear of Idemitsu tanker ships now docked in Shiogama and tank lorries being sent from around the country.

PTL, we have water as of Fri. morn. Hallelujah! Seeker Mr. Ohyama says that Yamanotera 3 chome (district) still does not have water. What a great feeling to finally be able to wash dishes instead of covering plates with Saran wrap before putting food on them—so we need not wash them—and to be able to flush the toilet freely instead of melting snow in buckets and in the microwave which takes tons of time I found out. Coworker, Pastor Ogata, has so thoughtfully been hauling water from his son Shinya's home north 7 km. to our home in containers and in disposable garbage bags. We hear rumors that city gas may take from 1 to 3 months to come on. But we have health, food, shelter, and Internet connections...

Pastor Yoshioka's (Sendai Canaan Church in SW Sendai) wife and 2 small kids have evacuated to his wife's hometown of Kobe, I believe, and Pastor Yoshida's (Sendai Church) wife and 3 kids have evacuated to elsewhere, probably due to concerns over radiation, now. Sendai is probably about 120 km (about 80 mi.) from the thermo-nuclear plant that is melting down in parts, in the Iwaki area of Fukushima on the coast. March is the end of the school year time which made it convenient for kids to be evacuated for a while.

Please continue to pray that our Lord would be pleased to use both the ministries of Word and deed to draw many unto himself.

[Note: Links to other "Great East Japan Earthquake Updates" may be found here.]


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