Japanese Christians in the U.S. spent the weekend trying to connect with loved ones in the island nation, but that hasn't been an easy task.
Hide Hiroshejwa is a Japanese student working toward his Ph. D. at North Carolina State University. On Sunday, his church's worship service was filled with prayer for his family and friends back home.
With telephone lines down, Hiroshejwa said it took two days for him to get word that his family was alive.
"They're safe and ok, but they are still out of power and water and cannot watch TV after the earthquake," he explained. "So they don't know what's going on and are still experiencing aftershocks."
In Los Angeles, Calif., Japanese-Americans gathered at a prayer service at United Methodist Church for victims of the earthquake. Rev. Gary Oba, the church's pastor, said the Japanese community has a special need to unite at this time.
"The tragedy has been so overwhelming in scope that people feel helpless in the face of it," Oba said. "There's a need to be around other people who have the same kind of sympathies."
Church members said talking through the tragedy and praying is helpful as they watch the aftermath of the disaster unfold from afar.