Newfound Faith Fallout from Japan's Nuke Crisis?

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FUKUSHIMA, Japan - More than 90,000 residents were evacuated in Japan due to the dangerous conditions after the March earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis.

For some, the reality of never returning home is now starting to sink in. But in the midst of their fear and sadness, Christians have been helping.

Depite the danger of deadly radiation, workers at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant still go to work.

For at least seven men, it's a daily test of their faith in God's divine power to protect them from harm.

Akira Sato pastors Fukushima Daiichi Seisho Baptist Church and helps the men.

"Some go there bravely, but they are also fearful," he said. "But they have faith in God and our church is supporting them with prayer."

American missionary Scot Eaton used to teach English at the church, whish is just a few miles away from the plant.

He knows one plant worker who ran away in fear and found refuge at the church-run shelter with his family. The man came to Christ and decided to go back to the plant.

"I used to teach his wife and daughter in the English class. And I've been praying for the family for quite a while," Eaton recalled.

"In the time he was with the church, he became a Christian and felt God was telling him to go back and share this message with his co-workers," he said.

Many members of the community evacuated along with the church to the outskirts of Tokyo.

One group of refugees channel their despair and anger into drumming. Yokoyama, the leader of the group, said the drums are therapy.

"Everything I had, my business, my house, I built with my own hands... my family and I had to leave everything behind," he said. "When I am at home I begin to panic, but when I am playing, I have happiness even for a short while."

Eaton hopes that one day the men will play the drums not as an act of defiance, but as an act of worship.

"My vision lifelong is to see this used in praise of God," he said.

While Pastor Sato's church moved far away from their community, many evacuees stayed near their homes. Despite the danger, they hope someday they will return.

In some areas, children aren't allowed to play outside because of the danger of being exposed to too much radiation.

A Christian church in the area helped some 2,500 refugees by giving "life starter kits." Each kit includes basic needs like kitchenware, appliances, and even some furnishings.

Pastor Toyomi Sanga of Grace Community Service said the kits bring hope to the evacuees.

"We met a mother and her daughter and both are single moms. They contemplated on committing suicide together, but when we met them, they said they realized God is alive," Sanga said.

"As we meet the needs of the refugees and pray for them, they ask why we do this. And we tell them the Bible says we need to love in action," he said.

Workers recently started filtering radioactive water at the Fukushima plant, hoping to ease the amount of contaminated water from the facility and reduce the need for fresh supplies.

*Originally broadcast on June 17, 2011.

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Lucille Talusan

Lucille Talusan

CBN News Asia Correspondent

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