HENRYETTA, Okla. (ABP) -- Dale Huckabay has had a heart for Japan and its people since he was stationed in Okinawa in his early adult life. Now the pastor of Tulledega Hills Baptist Church in Henryetta, Okla., Huckabay was as shocked as everyone when he awoke to the news of Japan's earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
"I just stared in horror at the images," he said. "You know that something like this can always happen, but when it does it's just unreal."
Huckabay and his wife, Dana, visited Kanazawa, Japan, last November to explore a short-term missions assignment with Kanazawa Baptist Church . The town of Kanazawa is on Japan's western coast, miles away from the east-coast devastation.
Huckabay spoke with the church's pastor, Akinori Taguchi, just after the quake and tsunami hit.
"The church had a lot of connections with congregations and partners in the affected area," Huckabay said. Hours after the disaster struck, Taguchi had been unable to reach any of those partner churches.
"I'm not sure what the long-term effect will be for the people at Kanazawa," Huckabay said. However, along with his wife and 17-year-old son, Nathaniel, Huckabay is committed to a six-month missionary position with the church. They fly to Japan on June 18.
Currently, there are no English-language worship services in the town of Kanazawa. The Huckabays will work with Taguchi and the congregation to overcome language barriers and minister to the community.
"I can't wait to get started and to see how God will use us to shine His light in this community and throughout Japan," Huckabay said.
Lelia King is a freelance writer. This article appeared originally at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship blog .