A magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit northern Japan on March 11, creating the conditions for a tsunami, which followed soon afterward. The disaster left an estimated monetary damage of $309 billion and has cost more than 10,000 lives so far. Moved by the recent events, Southern students have started a fundraising campaign called Ganbare Nippon, which is Japanese for “Don’t Give Up, Japan!”
Campus organizations Asian Club, Campus Ministries, and the Student Association collaborated to create Ganbare Nippon. The campaign originally focused on raising funds for Kitaura Saniku Jr. High School, an Adventist boarding academy in Okinawa, Japan, but has since expanded to include to all of Japan. The money is being sent in $5,000 increments to the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, which is already heavily involved in relief efforts and can use the money as it sees fit.
Ganbare Nippon was launched at convocation on March 17 with a prayer and a moment of silence in honor of Japan. The following night, a documentary by Kristine Barker, senior film production major, was shown during vespers. It highlighted Japanese students at Southern whose family and friends were affected by the events. That evening, $1,133 was collected in offering from students.
“[The documentary] brings it home to us,” says Kristine. “Even though Japan is so far away, people will say, ‘Oh wow, there are students here who have been affected.’”
The next evening at Asian Night, a donation box was placed at the Japan booth for students and community members who wanted to make a contribution. Guests who donated to the campaign had positive things to say about the efforts.
“It’s great to see a Christian institution lead the example in mission,” says Monica Rivers, a visitor from California.
Angel Sager, a visitor from Maryland, agrees. “I think this is excellent! Christ’s love is being represented.”
Other efforts include the sale of wristbands, which are on sale for $2 in the Student Association office, and T-shirts, which are coming soon.
“My goal is not how much we raise, it’s how much awareness we bring to the disaster,” says Layla Suzuki, senior nursing major and one of the girls who’s family has been affected by the disaster. “By helping, we’re creating a connection between the Adventists in Japan and the Adventists here. It will encourage them.”
While money is important, Southern’s leadership realizes other needs exist. Sam Shin, Asian Club vice president, is organizing a prayer campaign for Japan’s relief and spiritual revival, as well as our campus’ own spiritual revival. The name, 10,000 Prayers A Day, was inspired by the desire to have Southern’s 3,000 students pray three times a day. Christianity is uncommon in Japan, where less than 1% of the 127 million people are Christian, and only 15,000 are Adventist.
“Pray for Japan,” says Sam. “Not only so they can recover quickly, but also so they see the need of a Savior.”
So far, students have raised more than $3,700 for Ganbare Nippon. If you are interested in giving, please visit southern.edu/give.