Tuesday, March 22, 2011

hackers, earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, fire, nuclear explositions, radiation poisoning, and volcanic eruptions

How many disasters can one country suffer in a week? I think we have a world record here.

First of all, I would like to apologize if anyone got an email from me saying I'm in Spain and need money. A hacker took over my google account, changed my password, and sent out an email to everyone in my address book. Since my blog account is through google, I couldn't blog about it to warn everyone. I got it back today, only to discover that this hacker deleted all my emails. All of them. Just goes to show you, don't keep important information there. Fortunately, I at least had the intelligence to have copies of all my important stuff on my computer. But suffice it to say, I will not be using Gmail anymore.

Now on to far more important things. To save time, here's the article I wrote about it for more reliable paper media (The Owasso Reporter):

Japan is a land of contradictions. It seems so strange that only two weeks ago I was enjoying the first hint of spring with the plum blossoms and proudly singing the Japanese national anthem at an International St. Patrick`s Day celebration. Of course, I had always known the possibility of disaster, and since my second day in Japan nearly two years ago when I felt my first tremor, I had an “earthquake plan.” It involved a safety kit, hiding under my table, and hurrying to my church as soon as possible to help distribute food, supplies, and hope.

But when the largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history struck Tohoku area 350 miles north of me so that I barely felt it, at first I was paralyzed to do anything. Though I was thankful for my life, I worried about my suffering friends. How could I possibly help them? As the after shocks continued, walls of water over 30 feet high swept away entire cities, infants and elderly became frozen corpses without electricity, fires raged, nuclear reactors exploded, and the death toll rose from 1,000 to 10,000 in days, I nearly despaired.

Thank God for organizations like CRASH Japan! Within hours they prepared rescue workers, supplies, donations, and havens for refugees. China and America responded immediately with Special Forces, and all over the world, politicians and celebrities have been donating money, advocating Japan, and asking people to pray. In my area, many people are eager to help because they survived the Kansai earthquake of 1995 that killed 6,000 people. The entire city of Kobe was leveled, but with the help of thousands of volunteers, it was completely rebuilt to safer specifications in just a few years.

Most surprising is the reaction of the victims. While natural disasters are often followed by panic, crime, and severe shortages caused by greed, the Japanese have handled it with their characteristic peaceful attitude. They form organized lines in supermarkets, wait patiently for transportation to leave affected areas, and extend helping hands to neighbors in need. At every train station, students stand outside in the snow with signs and donation boxes, chanting “Let`s help our people!” Things are not as bad as the Western media is portraying. Even the nuclear reactor leakage, while terrible, is nothing close to “the next Chernobyl.” Recently we held a meeting at the church to discuss what we could do to help the disaster victims. One man expressed the Japanese spirit perfectly when he said, “We must stay calm and positive to set a good example for the children. Someday this will happen again, and when it does, they will remember the actions of their elders and be ready.”

You too can help. Many refugees who lost their homes need temporary places to stay. If you would like to host, please join Japan Crisis Housing-US at http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=39809. For donations, some reputable organizations are the Japan Red Cross: http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/index.html and CRASH Japan through JEMA (Japan Evangelical Mission Association) http://www.jema.org/joomla15/index.php/ ... -donations. Currently, material donations and non-specialized volunteers are not being accepted from abroad due to difficulties transporting them to affected areas. Please DO NOT send supplies to Japan yet or go to help until it is safe. For updates on relief efforts, visit http://crashjapan.licquia.org/index.php. With everyone`s help, the Land of the Rising Sun will rise again.

End of article.

Please pray that the earthquakes will cease. Pray also for the buildings that survived the initial shock, but are being hammered by the aftershocks. Many buildings still stand, but were weakened, and because of this strong aftershocks are very dangerous.

Pray for those who have lost their loved ones. Pray for those who are trapped and injured, as well as those who are missing friends and family.

Please pray that relief teams will be able to reach these areas and help those who are suffering before more death occurs. May God grant them safety, strength and stamina.

Pray also for the weather. With radiation being diffused into the air, wind or rain could carry it into populated areas and expose people. Pray that any wind will carry radiation out to sea rather than into populated areas. What's more, bitterly cold night-time temperatures could prove life-threatening for those who are trapped.

Pray for those who are stranded away from their loved ones at this difficult time.

Pray for the power plants and water facilities to be able to resume their work, and pray for those who do not have these essential supplies.

Please pray for those who had to evacuate far from their homes, and all who are having to stay in public shelters.

Pray for the Christians of Japan, that we would be able to mobilize relief efforts and provide for people's needs, both physical and spiritual.

Please pray also for the other countries affected by the tsunami.

Praise: Three friends I worried about, girls I met at a Christian conference in Nagano just last month who lived near the Fukushima nuclear power plant, are safe. Two are coming to stay with me and one is returning to the Philippines. Thank God!

Until next time, keep praying and loving, no matter what the cost,

L.J. Popp

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