Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Letter from an Air Force Family in Fukushima and Yokota

I am usually leery of "humanitarian aid" requests from anyone other than the well-known international agencies immediately after major natural disasters -- in my profession I am keenly aware of the ways scammers will take advantage of major events to prey on our good will.

However, in this case two personal friends are involved in collecting and delivering aid to the people of Fukushima that have been largely passed over due to the fear of radiation exposure.  I went to college with Michelle and Aron, and spent many hours serving alongside them at the Baptist Student Ministry.  I trust that what they are doing is legitimate.

Michelle's message follows:

Subject: Fukushima relief please forward
My name is Michelle Pena, a proud American, military wife at Yokota AB! My husband, Capt. Aron Pena, a United States Air Force officer is working directly in delivering humanitarian relief to the Japanese people through the C-130 Hercules. We are members of Yokota Baptist Church (http://www.yokotabaptist.org) and have collaborated with our friend, Wendy Iwamoto, director of Cross English School in supporting relief efforts specifically to the people of Fukushima prefecture who have limited resources due to the fear of radiation exposure.

As you may have seen via the media, many agencies are helping the victims here. We, too, are joining together in assisting our community. Here is information from our friend Wendy:

******************************************************Dear friends and families,

As you know, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the Northern Japan and it has sparked a nuclear crisis in Japan. Right now Japan is more in the life-saving, immediate-response mode. This has led to a delay in the recovering acts in the disaster-stricken area. Although lots of efforts have been put in to deliver relief goods to the victims in the devastated areas where hundreds of thousands of them are forced to stay in the evacuation centres, it is still not enough. As has been reported in the news, from the fear of radiation in Fukushima, very little aids and helps have reached the victims there. They have been bypassed although they are desperately in need of primary supplies such as food, medicines and water. Thereupon, a volunteering group under Global Mission Chapel in Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture has stood up and took a leading role in delivering the relief goods to the victims there directly with their own trucks and vehicles. Here at Cross English School (where I work), we are deeply touched and encouraged by their courage in showing their love by risking their own lives. In response to that, we have decided to show our support by setting up a relief goods collecting center here. What we do is, we let people who want to make their donation of relief goods know that they can bring them to us at Cross English School within operating hours. We will divide the goods according to their categories and have them picked up to be distributed to the victims in Fukushima Prefecture.

Information:
Operating hours: Weekdays (Mon-Fri 2-6p.m.) from 22nd of March to 8th of April.
Where: Cross English School
197-0024 Court Advance 202, Ushihama 128, Fussa-City.
(right in front of t he East exit of Ushihama station)
What we need: Food, medicine, baby products (diapers, wipers, formula, bottles, baby food etc), adult-diapers, blankets and so on.
Persons in charge: Wendy Iwamoto, Mami Otsuba
Contact: 042-539-2299

The flow of the distributing route:
Cross English School (Ushihama) →Tokyo Shibuya Gospel Church (Shibuya, Tokyo) →Global Mission Centre (Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture) →different evacuation centers, homes for the aged, hospitals and so on (the disaster-stricken areas)
For those of you who can send your relief goods directly to the following address in Shibuya, Tokyo, please do so. This will enable the distributing process goes smoother hence faster. However, please do not try to send them directly to Fukushima because all the delivery companies have stopped their routes there.
Tokyo Shibuya Fukuin Kyoukai
150-0036 Nanpeidai-Machi 6-17, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

TEL 03-3463-1364 
FAX 03-3463-1369 
E-mail [email protected]

Information on the volunteering group in Fukushima
Name: Global Mission Centre
Conducted by: Global Mission Chapel(Taira kirisuto Fukuin Church)
Director: Pastor Moriaki
Leaders on the spot: Pastor Ikarashi Yoshitaka, Pastor Abe Toshiya
Address: Amako-Mchi2-7, Taira Aza, Iwaki-City, Fukushima Prefecture.
What they do: Collecting and distributing the relief goods, Counseling, providing shelters and so on. Currently, they are in partnership with the city hall of Iwaki City as they carry out their activities there.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. May God bless you and be with you always.

In Christ,
Wendy Iwamoto
(School Manager of Cross English School)

***********************************************************************************************

How can you help? We are asking for monetary contributions so that items can be bought here. It would save money on shipping as it can be very expensive to ship to Japan. We can guarantee that 100% of the funds will be used for the victims of the Fukushima prefecture. A receipt will be provided for tax purposes.

Please send any money contributions via check to:

Yokota Baptist Church

C/o Michelle Pena
PSC 78 Box 3086
APO, AP 96326

Any questions, please contact me at 210-881-4360 (Japan time is 14 hours ahead of US central time), email at [email protected], via Skype name michellefpena, or Facebook – Michelle Flores Pena.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why I am passionate about Awana

I’d like to take a break from my generally technology-oriented postings to talk about something else I am passionate about.  I spend a great deal of my personal time involved in my local church – using my career skills to support our technology needs, yes, but also teaching youth Sunday School, and running our Awana kids’ program.

I heard someone say yesterday that once the Baby Boomers die off, so will religion. I disagree with his reasoning – that an “enlightened” new generation has discovered religion is merely a way of controlling the unenlightened – but embedded in his statement is a nugget of truth. Christianity is, always has been, and always will be, one generation removed from extinction. Faith in Christ is an intensely personal decision. My parents’ faith shaped me, but does not save me. My grandparents’ faith is a powerful example to me – but it is not my faith. I will one day have to meet Jesus face to face and make an accounting for my decision – not my parents’ decision, not my grandparents’ decision.

Whois David?

My photo

I have spent the better part of two decades in information technology and security, with roots in application developer support, system administration, and network security. My specialty is cyber threat intelligence - software vulnerabilities and patching, malware, social networking risks, etc. In particular, I strive to write about complex cyber topics in a way that can be understood by those outside the infosec industry.

Why do I do this? A common comment I get from friends and family is that complex security topics give them headaches. They want to know in simple terms how to stay safe in a connected world. Folks like me and my peers have chosen to make a profession out of hacking and defending. I've been doing this for the better part of two decades, and so have a high degree of knowledge in the field. Others have chosen different paths - paths where I would be lost. This is my effort to share my knowledge with those that are experts in something else.

When not in front of a digital screen, I spend my time raising five rambunctious teens and pre-teens - including two sets of twins. Our family enjoys archery, raising show and meat rabbits, and simply enjoying life in the Texas hill country.

For a decade I served as either Commander or a division leader for the Awana Club in Dripping Springs, Texas; while I have retired from that role I continue to have a passion for children's ministry. At the moment I teach 1st through 3rd grade Sunday School. Follow FBC Dripping Springs Kids to see what is going on in our children's ministries.