Missionaries in devastated Japan pray for ‘divine wind’

TOKYO—Having endured the damaging winds of a tsunami, Baptist missionaries in Japan now are praying for a low east wind to carry any radioactive emissions away from their country without spreading to other population centers.

After the worst earthquake in Japan’s recorded history and a devastating tsunami, four nuclear power plants in Fukushima continue to deteriorate and release rising levels of radioactive emissions.

According to Lana Oue, International Mission Board missionary in Shibuya, Tokyo, “all efforts to get water into the cooling tanks have failed.”

Japan victim
(BP Photo)
“This (nuclear disaster) has the potential to directly affect a large part of the nation, if reactors continue the meltdown process and emissions blow directly over the land,” said Carlton Walker, an International Mission Board missionary in Narashino City, Chiba. “If the emissions rise to the jet stream, they will be carried as far away as Europe.”

Walker, a Richmond, Va. native, believes an east wind that stays low and out of the jet stream—toward the Pacific Ocean and away from Japan’s land mass—may limit the damage from high radiation.

Not only is prayer for an east wind critical to containing the damage, but Walker also noted the idea of wind is an intrinsic part of Japanese culture.

While best known for suicide attacks on Allied forces during World War II, the Japanese term “kamikaze” (literally, “god-wind,” or “divine wind”) originally refers to typhoons that saved Japan from fleets of Mongol invaders in 1274 and 1281.

“In the history of Japan a ‘divine wind’ has played a pivotal role in the survival of the nation several times,” Walker said. “Now is the time for Christians to arise and lay hold of God for a powerful east wind to protect this land.”

Walker added the east is the only direction without heavily populated land masses.

Walker also urges Christians to pray for the “wind” of the Holy Spirit to “blow with great power over this land and create a spiritual revival that will remake Japan from the inside out.”

Oue’s son, Richard, also an International Mission Board missionary in Kawasaki, reports that missionaries have been operating in crisis mode since the earthquake hit.

“What we’ve been dealing with this week is unprecedented in recent history—dealing with three major interrelated, catastrophic events at once: a major earthquake, a huge tsunami, and disasters at nuclear power plants,” he said.

Richard Oue says missionaries are “extremely exhausted” but thankful to be safe, and continue to request prayers as they reach out with Japanese Christians to share the gospel.

Jennifer Rogers Spinola is a former IMB staff writer and short-term missionary to Japan who currently resides in Brasilia, Brazil.

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