Julie Tam, NBCDFW.com
Pastor Yutaka Takarada just returned from a week-long trip to earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan. Now he's calling on his congregations to help disaster victims.
A North Texas pastor has just returned from a week-long trip to Japan to help the victims who have lost everything in the recent earthquake and tsunami and are dealing with radiation concerns.
Pastor Yutaka Takarada was back in church Sunday morning to show his congregation what he experienced firsthand. It was his first service at Japanese Baptist Church of North Texas since returning from his home country. Takarada saw Japan as he's never seen it before.
He took pictures of cars and other debris scattered as far as the eye could see, a mangled bicycle, a truck thrown into a school, a house knocked clear off its foundation.
"I met several people, listened to their stories, and that broke my heart," said Takarada. "They don't know where to start to clean up. And then seeing the people coming from all over the world trying to help them gives them ease in their heart, and they really appreciate it."
Pastor Takarada and other Baptist missionaries from Texas took boxes of supplies for the disaster victims, including food, Geiger counters to detect radiation, and gasoline because of the shortage. Filling up at a gas station can take as long as five hours.
Even knowing the risks involved, the volunteers put aside their fears and focused on lending a hand.
"They really need the love of God. That's what I learned, because they are really struggling spiritually," said Takarada.
Back in Dallas, his congregation is focusing on giving what they can and praying for those who need the help.