Fresno churches offer prayers to people of Japan

FRESNO, Calif. Before regular services, members participated in a traditional Buddhist memorial service remembering victims of Japan's strongest earthquake in history.

Even those who don't have loved ones in the disaster zone say their ancestry makes the quake hit close to home.

Dell Araki says explaining the magnitude of destruction to his daughters is tough.

"Japan's a tiny country, but with a lot of people, and a lot of people have not just lost their lives, but have been displaced. You try to convey that to them as best you can."

Members of the temple say the memorial service is a way to show support to the victims across the world.

And also comfort those here dealing with the unknown.

"Some family members may be over there still, so as soon as possible, we'd like to find out," Rev. Nobuo Miyaji said.

Members of the north Fresno church Japanese Chapel also offered prayers to the people of Japan Sunday.

The pastor says his friend's congregation is located near the nuclear power plant. As of now, he's been unable to contact him.

"Please pray for them. The people, their rescue, their salvation. We need your help," Pastor Hajimu Fujii said.

In addition to prayer, both groups also asked members to donate to relief efforts. And as they reflect on the disaster, they are also looking to the future, beyond the devastation.

"It's very sad. And very unexpected. So we can learn many things from them. We have to prepare."

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