When the Earth Shakes

When the Earth Shakes


   The whole world is in solidarity with the people of Japan today. As we witness the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan, our hearts and prayers are given freely to the dead, hurt and displaced. It will take time to sort out the casualties, but we know that lives are changed when the earth shakes.

   It was a little more than a year ago that the devastating earthquake hit the nation of Haiti. Tens of thousands died and many more were hurt. Today, over a million people have no permanent home and live on daily subsistence of charity. We also remember Indonesia, Thailand, China and the many other places that recently experienced major earthquakes, tsunamis and loss of life and property.

   When the earth shakes and waves come ashore, we witness how vulnerable we are as a human race. Even when we are half way around the world from the impact, we grieve and sympathize with our fellow man and woman.

   Some predict more severe earthquakes in the days ahead and note that the frequency and intensity of quake activity has increased in the last several decades. Some believe that these events are prophetic and clues to the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the days.

   And the earth can shake us all in many different ways. The people of Southern Sudan are being shaken today by raids of militia who are trying to steal their land, oil, and lives. The earth is still shaking today for the people of Egypt and Libya who long to be free of oppression and tyranny. The earth still shakes for the homeless veteran in the United States or for the abducted teenager from Eastern Europe forced to live a life of human slavery.

      Let us all be mindful of the silent tremors of need and hurt that exists in our own communities and in parts of the world where no reporters or cameras chronicle events. Life shakes us in many ways; and to many, they don’t need to experience an earthquake to know how fragile life really is. 

   Perhaps the earth shakes us all so that we are moved to our knees to seek the refuge, safety and comfort of the God who gave us life and life eternal. May God have mercy and grace upon all who hurt and have been shaken this day from whatever cause.

   Earthquakes and tsunamis show us in real time how lives change and how we need to respond immediately to assist others. Let each of us pray today for Japan and for the responders and leaders there. Let each of us give a small gift to the relief efforts. Earth-shaking events can unite the world in ways nothing else can. And we should strive to let our common humanity crush our geo-political differences as we aid one another.


   Here are some organizations and relief groups you can consider donating to today to help the people of Japan!

In response to the quake, The Red Cross has already launched efforts in Japan. Visit Redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.

Save the Children has also responded. Eiichi Sadamatsu of the organization released a statement, saying:

"We are extremely concerned for the welfare of children and their families who have been affected by the disaster. We stand ready to meet the needs of children who are always the most vulnerable in a disaster."

The organization is currently organizing efforts and donations to its Children's Emergency Fund will support outreach.

International Medical Corps is responding to the health needs of the disaster's victims. Nancy Aossey, President & CEO, International Medical Corps said in a statement:

"We are putting together relief teams, as well as supplies, and are in contact with partners in Japan and other affected countries to assess needs and coordinate our activities."

To donate or learn about other ways you can contribute to its medical response, visit Internationalmedicalcorps.org. Also, text MED to 80888 from any mobile phone to give $10.

The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund was launched at GlobalGiving.org to garner funds that will be given to a variety of relief organizations helping victims of the earthquake. It has already raised over $100,000, particularly from concerned Twitter users around the world. The project page explains:

We are working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other organizations on the ground to provide support. Our partners on the ground are working hard to provide immediate relief.

Salvation Army personnel are organizing efforts in Tokyo and will soon send a team to help the severely damaged city of Sendai, Japan. To contribute to earthquake relief, text 'JAPAN' or 'QUAKE' to 80888 to make a $10 donation or visit SalvationArmyUSA.org.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is sending two three-person teams to the Iwate and Miyagi prefectures in Japan. To learn more about the organization's efforts or make a donation, visit Doctorswithoutborders.org.

Other relief organizations are also sending representatives to disaster sites, including AmeriCare and Shelterbox.

MercyCorps is gathering donations for its overseas partner, Peace Winds Japan, which currently has personnel on the ground distributing emergency relief in Japan.

Along with an appeal for monetary donations, Operation USA has also announced efforts to collect bulk corporate donations of health care supplies. If you are interested in donating bulk medical items, visit OpUSA.org.

For any who have loved ones abroad, Google has stepped up to help. Along with a tsunami alert posted on its front page, Google has launched the Person Finder: 2011 Japan Earthquake to help connect people that may have been displaced due to the disaster. Google has also launched a crisis response page filled with local resources and emergency information.

Judy Chang, head of PayPal's nonprofit group, announced that transactional fees incurred by money transfers to US 501(c)(3) organizations (or charities registered with the Canada Revenue Agency) between March 11 and April 10 will aid relief efforts in Japan.

World Vision has announced global mobilization in response to tsunami warnings. Geoff Shepherd, the organization's humanitarian and emergency affairs director for the Asia-Pacific region, released a statement on World Vision's website.