Missionaries Grapple with Leaving Japan

Wolfgang Langhans, a Tokyo-based field director for missionaries, calls the week since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan "the busiest and most stressful week of my life."

But when those twin crises created a third – the threat of dangerous radiation leaks from a damaged nuclear plant – the balancing act between living out a missionary calling and keeping safe became particularly difficult.

"That was and still is a great concern," said Langhans, a German Baptist who works for the group OMF International, which has some 100 missionaries in Japan.

"We constantly inquire about the latest news and advice and have prepared evacuation places in the west of Tokyo should radiation danger reach Tokyo," he said in an e-mail Friday between rolling power blackouts.

His organization has left evacuation decisions up to individual staffers. So far, seven have decided to leave Japan.

Across the devastated country and back home in the United States, missions leaders are grappling with whether staffers should ...

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December
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