Japan Update by Phil & Debbie Melton

Japan has a long history of dealing with both earthquakes and tsunami…

[津波–from “tsu” meaning “port” or “harbor” and “nami” meaning “wave.]

…but none quite so large or as devastating as the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that followed on March 11.  In general it was less of a wave and more of a spilling over of the ocean onto land in a massive influx of seawater that knocked out farms, ripped houses from their foundations, and tossed around cars like toys.

Whole towns were wiped out.  3.8 million households lost power.  Thousands are now in shelters fighting the cold with little more than blankets to keep them warm.  Gas and kerosene and food shortages in the stricken area are rampant.  Houses are sometimes found floating in the ocean–some of them almost intact–alongside capsized boats or deposited on riverbeds, open fields, or even where other houses used to be.

The earthquake is actually reported to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet, and the 9.0-magnitude quake seems to have shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches. It was the most powerful to hit Japan in recorded history and it has since triggered more than 160 aftershocks in the first 24 hours–141 of them measuring 5.0-magnitude or greater–as well as likely being the instigating factor for at least three other separate earthquakes nearer to where we live since Friday.

And then there is the nuclear power plant crisis that has all of Japan and much of the world in an uproar.

The tidal wave easily overflowed the 25 foot tsunami wall by at least 4 feet, and the 7.2 earthquake proof reactor was no match for the 9.0 earthquake.

Whole towns were wiped out.  3.8 million households lost power.  Thousands are now in shelters fighting the cold with little more than blankets to keep them warm.  Gas and kerosene and food shortages in the stricken area are rampant.  Houses are sometimes found floating in the ocean–some of them almost intact–alongside capsized boats or deposited on riverbeds, open fields, or even where other houses used to be.

Resulting economic uncertainty has caused the Japanese stock market to lose 17% of its worth in two days, and erased a reported 65 billion dollars in wealth almost overnight.

And that is where Japan finds herself today–in desperate need of love and an assurance for the future that she does not have.

Through it all, we desire to see God glorified, people comforted with the evidence of the love of Christ in the hearts of believers, and a sense of hope that can only be found in a relationship with Christ evident in the lives of Japanese people in a way never before seen.

Debbie left for the states today for our regularly scheduled three month furlough.  I am remaining behind to care for some remaining ministries.  Stephanie and  the three grandkids left today, too, for a visit with family that has been planned for over a year now, and should be arriving in Detroit at any moment now.

Please pray for Japan.

Thank you so much for your love and concern for us and for our ministries.  Both are doing GREAT at the moment (although we fully realize that an earthquake could also just as easily hit our area in the not too distant future).  Thanks for your prayers.

Phil & Debbie Melton

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