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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lutherans in Japan and the Earthquake and LCMS Resources

Areas Affected by Earthquake in Japan

As anyone who has access to world news knows, Japan had a devastating earthquake of 8.9 (some reports upgrading it to 9.1) yesterday 11 March 2011, predominately affecting the city of Sendai. More destruction was caused by the tsunami and now the Fukushima nuclear power plant is facing difficulties with reports of radiation leaks and an explosion. While the death toll is officially low for a disaster of this magnitude, officially at this time around 1,000, reports of 10,000 or more people missing are now being reported.
Whirlpool created by tsunami after earthquake in Japan
At this early stage of the diaster, the situation can change rapidly. The LCMS has missionaries in Japan and there are a couple of Lutheran churches in Japan, one of which the Japanese Lutheran Church (NRK) is a partner with the Missouri Synod. Yesterday, we determined that our missionaries were safe as is the staff of our partner church (read the report from the LCMS website).

Yesterday, we had an hour and a half conference call led by President Harrison with LCMS staff located worldwide (with a good portion of the staff who respond to disasters located in the Dominican Republic for the 5th anniversary of the LCMS' mission work there.) President Harrison began the meeting with prayer for those affected by the earthquake in Japan, for LCMS missionaries, and for our partner church and other Lutheran churches in Japan. He pledged to assist Lutherans in Japan as well as their neighbors as appropriate and according to the ability and capacity of the LCMS. Below is a bulletin insert suitable for use in church from the LCMS.

Pastor Makito Masaki, a Lutheran pastor and President of the Kobe Lutheran Theological Seminary in Kobe, Japan, reported by email:

First of all, Kobe is located far enough from the northeast Japan
where the earthquakes and tsunamis hit repeatedly yesterday.
I have been busy gathering information whether my friends are safe or not.
There are few people who have not responded to my e-mails, but there
can be situations that they lost their access to the internet

Towns and villages, and even good size of cities have been destroyed
and wiped away because of the earthquakes and tsunamis.
It is said that the earthquakes that we are still experiencing since
yesterday are very rare and unusual ones for its size and

At least three big earthquakes occurred consecutively, that made the
coastline as long as 300 km has experienced the vast and fatal damage.
We now know the nuclear power plants in that area have problems of
heat and burst, and people around the area have been evacuated.
So, the suffering is just started and even the earthquakes are not yet settled.
We are working on gathering ideas of how we can help and encourage people there.
Pray for congregations in the area that spend the first Sunday after
the Ash Wednesday tomorrow.

Makito Masaki
The Japan Lutheran Church (NRK) is the partner church of the LCMS in Japan. 


The mission of the Japan Lutheran Church officially began in September 1948 when The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod World Mission installed the first missionary to Japan and declared the start of the Japan Mission. In 1968, the self-governing Japan Lutheran Church was established and it became self-supporting in 1976. The JLC maintains a close relationship with LCMS through joint projects based on mission cooperation. JLC celebrated its 50th mission anniversary in September 1998. (From the ILC Website). 

The President of the Japan Lutheran Church is Rev. Yutaka Kumei. The church has about 3,000 members and 30 pastors. It is based in Tokyo.

President Kumei, who I had opportunity to meet in Korea in Fall 2010
Here is a webpage that provides more information on Lutherans in Japan.

To donate to the LCMS Relief Effort in Japan, please click here.

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