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North Texan Heading To Japan Is Ready Get To Work

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News
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Policemen check cars in Japan on March 18, 2011. (credit: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Policemen check cars in Japan on March 18, 2011. (credit: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Four North Texas Baptists are flying to Japan Thursday morning to help assess the disaster damage 150 miles south of Sendai.  The magnitude 9.0 earthquake earlier this month destroyed 7 churches in the area.

One of the men, Gary Smith, is no stranger to disaster.  “I’ve been to Turkey twice on earthquakes. Been to Chile. Earthquakes are pretty prominent.  Northridge, California.”

If there’s one thing his wife Sydney knows about, it’s how to help him pack for them.  “I tend to be overly cautious and pack too much and he forgets a lot of stuff.”

Gary Smith is headed to disaster ravaged Japan with several others affiliated with Texas Baptists.  “We’re the point man team, the point man team that goes in and assess the situation and brings the resources.”

Though radiation is the current fear, Gary isn’t worried. Neither is Sydney.  “That’s where he’s supposed to be. That’s just what he does.”

“Our job is to show them the love of Christ and when we give a cup of cold water in Jesus name, that’s what we’ve been asked to do. We let them make the connection.”

Gary won’t be able to use his cell phone in Japan. He will keep in touch through his iPad and Laptop.  He has just about everything he needs, even a pastor traveling with him who’s fluent in Japanese.

Gary himself only knows one word, ‘Sayonara,’ but will soon learn ‘Konnicihwa,’ as he begins his journey to help.

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