International Ministries
May 2016

American Baptist International Ministries

(IM) is working with the Japan Baptist Union (JBU) to respond quickly to the earthquakes and aftershocks that rocked Kumamoto, Japan.  
Forty-two people have been confirmed dead, more than 1,000 are injured and 11 are still missing, according to BBC News

An initial $5,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) emergency relief funds is being sent to IM partner the Japan Baptist Union (JBU) to help with the relief efforts.  IM's missionaries in Japan, Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang and Shigemi Tomita, live in Yokohama, which is not close to the site of the earthquake.  This morning, the Rev. Leslie Turley, IM area director, received the following message from Tomiji Yamamoto, JBU general secretary:

"Thank you so much for praying and for your kind words. As of Monday April 18th at 9 PM (Japan Standard Time), there were three major earthquakes with 43 people confirmed dead and nine people missing. Over 3,000 homes have been seriously damaged or destroyed. Since the first earthquake there have been over 500 aftershocks affecting the people of Kumamoto.  "The JBU leadership met on Monday, April 18. Our organization has no direct work in Kumamoto, but we have a strong sister relationship with the Japan Baptist Convention, which has seven churches in the area. The local churches seem to be in a bit of a state of confusion and the JBC hasn't been able to have complete confirmation of the state of the churches.  "Of the seven churches, there has been damage to two churches, with several church members having been hurt by the earthquake. There has been no word from one of the churches. Another church is now being used as a place of refuge for those left homeless after the earthquakes. The JBU will send $5,000 to the JBC to help them in assisting those affected by the earthquake. [This is in addition to the $5,000 being sent through OGHS.] We don't know if there will continue to be earthquakes, so we continue to ask for your prayers. Please say thank you to the American Baptist Churches for their assistance."

According to BBC News, the earthquakes were the biggest to have hit Japan since 2011, when a 9.0 magnitude quake caused a huge tsunami, leaving more than 19,000 dead and missing.