Hours after returning March 24, from Tokyo on business, James Domingo tackled another job – helping finalize plans for his congregation’s fund-raiser for Japan disaster relief through LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WR-HC).
Domingo, a member of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Solon, Ohio, said he hopes the March 26, benefit bake sale will serve as a reminder that several hundred thousand survivors continue to suffer two weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
“News in this country [about the disaster] focuses on the radiation concerns, while the [news] images I saw in Japan were of the devastation and of people breaking down because their family members are missing or dead, their homes are gone and they don’t know what to do,” said Domingo, a business consultant who lived in Japan for 10 years and met his wife, Junko, there.
“We can’t forget that needs [in Japan] are going to continue for years to come,” Domingo said.
Our Redeemer, with the help of 40 volunteers from the congregation and community, is hosting the benefit in conjunction with a popular Christian basketball program at the church, one of many ways LCMS members and congregations are reaching out to help the Japanese through WR-HC.
Instead of keeping proceeds from a pancake breakfast to cover the cost of church repairs, the elders at Park View Lutheran Church, Eldridge, Iowa, decided to donate the money to WR-HC disaster response in Japan.
“LCMS World Relief [and Human Care] does good work, and we know that, for the most part, Japan is an unchurched country,” said an elder who asked that his name remain anonymous. “If even just one soul can be reached with the Gospel, the money is more than worth what we have given.”
This week when former LCMS missionary Claire Halamka spoke to a women’s group at First Presbyterian Church in Graham, Texas, the ladies asked for a charity where they could send a donation in appreciation of her presentation. Halamka, who served in Taiwan with husband Ronald from 1960 to 1972, suggested WR-HC.
“After all that has happened in Japan, I felt that’s where the most pressing needs seem to be,” said Halamka. While many organizations sponsor relief effort, Halamka said she knows “when money is sent to [WR-HC], you use it for what you say it will be used for.”
Ever since the quake and tsunami, WR-HC administrative assistant Anna Lockwood has spoke with many donors who want to use their blessings to share Christ’s mercy in Japan. One such donor eagerly shared news from a friend living in a town near Sendai.
The donor told how her friend’s husband was unloading water for survivors when he witnessed Christians lending a hand. Their help made an impact on the man, who is not a Christian.
Lockwood said the donor asked WR-HC “to continue doing what we do, and to keep praying for the people of Japan.”
Thanks to generous donors and their gifts of more than $400,000 for Japan disaster response, WR-HC has made available up to $300,000 in initial grants to Japanese Lutheran church bodies while additional assessments are being made.
To contribute toward the Synod’s response to the Japan earthquake and tsunami:
- mail checks (noting “Japan Disaster Relief” in the memo line) to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
- call toll-free 888-930-4438.
- give online at Disaster Relief Fund for Japan.