Heading out to Tokyo this morning.

I woke up like any other morning last Friday, March 11th. Except when I checked my mail on my iphone…I had bunch of interesting messages.

“Just heard from my wife’s brother that her family is safe in Tokyo. Hope the same is true for your family over there.”

“Hope you’re family and friends are safe in Japan. It’s terrible what is happening over there, will continue to pray. Hope all is well!”

My first thought occurred as a sick feeling was growing in my stomach…I need to get on cnn.com to figure what is going on.

And so we all watched as the images of the tsunami began to stream through the internet. It seemed like we were watching some Jerry Bruckheimer movie about the end of the world. Buildings surrounded by water…crumbling like sand castles. Cars, trucks, and large fishing vessels being tossed around as if in a child’s bathtub. The reality of these moments was difficult to grasp. And then there was the scare of a potential nuclear reactor leak.

And in the week that followed, ridiculous images filled my mind and my heart was slowly broken for what was going on over there. Though I am Japanese American, I don’t speak any Japanese. I’ve only visited once, and the whole time there, I knew that I was in a foreign land. And yet while looking at the images of these foreign people, in a foreign land…I couldn’t help but to think-

“that elderly woman looks like my late grandmother”
“that boy looks like my nephew”

and so on…and so on.

And so I was hoping and praying that Churches Helping Churches, the organization that is still helping Haiti recover from their earthquake, would get involved with the earthquake and tsunami relief work in Japan. I was fortunate to take three trips to Haiti (check out a previous blog post) with Churches Helping Churches and I know they are a reputable non-profit, looking to maximize donations to benefit the greatest amount of people.

Saturday, March 19th…I will be boarding a plane for Tokyo with CHC. I will be returning to the States on Wed. And while I am a wedding photographer in Chicago, I am thankful to be able to serve and utilize my photography skills and equipment to help capture the stories of the Japanese people in their hour of struggle.

Will I be safe? There many people who would love the opportunity to serve in a regions of disaster. However, the nuclear radiation concerns have kept many away and have complicated relief efforts. France has even begun evacuating their citizens from the country. There is no simple answer with regards to the radiation concerns. I have kept abreast of the situation and CHC has their experts to help advice our course of action. We will be based out of Tokyo…which is over 100 miles away from the nuclear reactor in Fukushima. We won’t be going to the hardest hit areas as the relief work their is still intense and we don’t want to get in the way. So the short answer is: I feel safe enough to go.

I appreciate your support in prayer as we head out to Japan to survey the scene, assess the situation, and to partner with CRASH Japan in serving the needs of the people. Please pray for safety…and for my job as a videographer, that I would be able to capture the stories that the world hasn’t heard.

with love and by His grace,

Kenny

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