Touhoku HELP Administrative Office
Towards the End of Touhoku HELP's First Year
Dear friends in Christ;
Touhoku HELP's administrative office will end it's first year on June 30th.
As general secretary, I would like to inform that after June 30th, we will close the current Touhoku HELP administrative office but start our new office with a new system from July.
"Touhoku HELP" is also the name of the " Sendai Christian Alliance Disaster Relief Network" and was started on March 18th, 2011. In the beginging, Rev. Syouei Abe (The Japan Church of the Nazarene, pastor of Sendai Tomizawa Church) and I, Rev. Naoya Kawakami, (United Church of Christ in Japan, pastor of Sendai Citizen Church) were in charge of the office management of Touhoku HELP.
In April and May 2011, two international ecumenical conferences were held in Korea regarding disaster relief for Japan. Representing Touhoku HELP, Rev. Takashi Yoshida (Reform Church of Japan, pastor of Sendai Church) attended. At the conference, the importance of setting up a local office was suggested and confirmed. The National Council of Christ Japan (NCCJ) set up Japan Ecumenical Disaster Relief Office (JEDRO). We were also encouraged to work with JEDRO and to keep our local office in Sendai open.
Our original intention had been to close the office of Touhoku HELP by June 2011. However, through prayer and requests, we decided to not only continue the office but to further expand of our relief activities. It was a huge task to minister to those in the disaster affected areas, but with the help of God and with the help of the many people who supported us, we did our best to continue and move forward. Therefore, in July 2011, we officially agreed to keep the office in Sendai going. "The Incorporated Foundation, Touhoku Diakonia" was established and its fiscal year was set from July 2011 to June 2012.
People and organizations from inside and outside of Japan supported our decision. We have been especially grateful to NCCJ and NCCJ's JEDRO for helping us receive funding for our project proposals.
Through donations, we were able to start a project called the "Grand House Project" which connects information, resources, and funds and distributes them in the disaster affected areas.
The main focus points of "Grand House Project" are as follows.
By following the above points, we were able to collaborate with 107 organizations, involve 57 projects, and supported 354,110 people.
At the same time, we established 4 long term support projects.
We have written up a report and put it on our Touhoku HELP website.
In reviewing this report, NCCJ advised us that Touhoku HELP appeal to our second year project proposal to partners overseas.Therefore, we would like to solidify the foundation for our application for funds with the following long term vision:
=> Results: We were able to be involved in 57 projects, support more than 5000 households in temporary houses, start up four our own projects, and support numerous people.
=>Index: Consult each project which Touhoku HELP is supporting and stop our support to the project when sustainability is questionable. For the independence of each project, disseminate information to inside and outside of Japan, invite supporters, and facilitate meetings to make bridges between different kinds of organizations.
=> Index: Make each project independent. In order to support these projects, we disseminate information, connect, and organize conferences. (We are making plans to connect to the WCC General Assembly in 2013 and WEA General Assembly in 2014)
We are now moving towards the day we conclude our first year.
Unfortunately, we are still not able to raise all of the funds needed to continue our new fiscal year even with the great efforts and support of NCCJ. We are thankful to God that a lot of people in Japan are still supporting us. But, we at the present time, do not have enough funds to start new fiscal year. The situation seems dire but we have not given up all hope.
We realized this sad situation in the beginning of June, so we recently made the following decisions:
In the process of reaching this conclusion, we continue to depend upon God's guidance and our friends overseas and in Japan. We have come to realize the great power of everyone's prayers.
We are encouraged by these words from New Testament,
"By faith, Moses considered abuse suffered for Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward."
We remember all those who are suffering and affected by tsunami and the nuclear plant accident. Even though we support them, at times we still only understand a little bit of all of their ongoing suffering and the deep pain in their lives. Sometimes we are in darkness and despair. But at the same time, we know God is with us. Our hope and support comes from the prayers that sustain us. We look ahead towards the future.
As the general secretary, I would like to ask you to pray for Touhoku HELP's mission and ways to heal the pain of the people in the disaster affected areas. It is only prayer that can be our shield and keep us from any kind of despair.
The work of God has just started with the work of recovery. Touhoku HELP can only continue and move forward with your prayers.
We are grateful for you to look at the report and consider our request.
In the hope and peace of Christ,
Rev. Dr. Naoya Kawakami
General Secretary, Touhoku HELP