Saturday, April 9, 2011

Great Report from Japan

From missionaries in Japan, who were there before the earthquake...

So happy to see that Samaritan's Purse is helping with relief and helping the local economy!

MONDAY, APRIL 04, 2011

In praise of relief agencies...

I spent some time talking with an Asian Access missionary who has been in Sendai for the past two weeks. In his role he interfaced withSamaritan's Purse and Food for the Hungry staff and assisted in distribution of their supplies. Their experience with disaster relief has been invaluable, and their goods have been wisely chosen.

In the past two weeks since the first load from Samaritan's Purse arrived in Sendai, they have gone out of their way to obtain other things that become apparent as needs. They purchased large amounts of some goods from Costco here in Japan--is that why I can't find what I'm looking for? ;-) I'll gladly give those things up if they are being used for the relief effort in Tohoku!

Currently they recognize that people need transportation. So rather than bringing in bicycles from outside the country, they are going to the local bike shops to purchase the bikes. In doing this, they encourage the local economy and provide a basic need for people.

As my friend, Peter said:
Learned so much over the past two weeks. I love what is starting to happen. Samaritan's Purse is contracting with local businesses to supply goods that SP will give away. Instead of bringing in everything from far away, they will support local business in a time of great need. The businesses sell to SP and SP gives it to people who lost everything. Double win. Beautiful. So amazing. Needs change daily, one day they are ordering tens of thousands of pairs of underwear, the next they are buying bikes. All going free to people in great need. But the combo of buying local when possible and giving local is great to see, especially in expensive Japan.

I know that many times people want to do something tangible to help, and I am guilty of thinking that giving to a major relief agency is not that helpful. But I want to say that these agencies are doing a great job, and the financial donations people give are making a strategic difference in the lives of people.

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