Local News

Japanese in Raleigh pray for homeland

Posted March 13, 2011 3:12 p.m. EDT
Updated March 13, 2011 11:30 p.m. EDT

— The devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan struck hard in the hearts of a small congregation that met in a borrowed classroom in First Baptist Church in downtown Raleigh Sunday.

All members of the Japanese Baptist Church have family or friends living in Japan, where an 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami killed at least 10,000 people.

"It's sad because so many people were killed and are still missing," Pastor Simon Yokoi said.

"I know that my family is OK, but a few of my friends, I still cannot contact, so I'm worried about them," church member Hidehiro Segawa said.

Baptists in North Carolina aren't only sending prayer; they're also sending help. Missionaries and volunteers are already on the ground helping with relief efforts.

"You just pray that their situation is not going to get much worse. That's the only thing you can do," Segawa said.

Segawa, a graduate of North Carolina State University, recently accepted a job at a company about 100 miles from the epicenter of Friday's earthquake. That area is without water or food.

Despite friends' urgings to stay in North Carolina, Segawa said he plans to leave Monday to go back home for good. He will stay with his in-laws, who live in an area that wasn't devastated.

"I just feel so bad about it. It's like watching a movie, you know," Segawa said.