Day 1 – Aizuwakamatsu Chapel, Fukushima Prefecture
After years of praying, dreaming, planning and saving, the members of the First Baptist Church of Fukushima were proud to finally be able to gather together in their own brand new church building, near the coast of beautiful Fukushima prefecture.
But their joy was soon replaced with bitterness as their whole town became part of the radiation exclusion zone due to radioactive fallout from the nearby nuclear reactor disaster after the March 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.
After the disaster the church members despaired at their immediate concern – where could they go now they could not even enter their homes or town? They were a church family, and wherever they were going to go, they were determined to go together as a family.
One church member remembered another church building that had only finished construction the year before. It was in Aizuwakamatsu, in the far west of Fukushima. She attended this church years ago – would they be able to help?
Yes! The pastor of Aizuwakamatsu Chapel welcomed them with open arms. Perhaps it was God’s providence that the church was completed for such a time as this?
The church members at Aizuwakamatsu Chapel all pitched in to settle the 61 evacuees as best as they could in the cramped hall. Local residents even helped by lending their mattresses. What a great opportunity to show love to a brother and sister in Christ in dire need!
That was five year ago. The church members from First Baptist Church of Fukushima have since resettled in various places throughout Japan. Sadly, despite their church standing in near new condition – it remains unused and abandoned. Perhaps is may never be used ever again.
Despite the city of Aizuwakamatsu being quite safe and unharmed from the nuclear fallout, the effects of the radiation have still been felt. One by one church members have felt the need to live somewhere far away from Fukushima – and so one by one the church has been losing members. What was once a growing church is now down to 10 members.
Would you pray for Aizuwakamatsu Chapel to be remain faithful to God’s Word despite the low numbers? Would you pray for God to send Christians to come and help this church continue it’s vision to reach the lost in it’s local area? May every “lost” church member be replaced with someone has been “found”.