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Texas Baptist Men Back From Japan… For Now

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Members of the Texas Baptist Men are back from a mission to disaster ravaged Japan.  “It was a good trip but it was a long, hard trip,” Gary Smith said.

But there was something about the destruction in Japan that was very familiar to Gary Smith, who with the Texas Baptist Men, has been to many disasters.

“A lot of the debris looks very similar to a massive Category 5 hurricane,” Smith said.

But there was plenty of uncharted territory this trip because of the threat of radiation.  Smith kept track of it with a dosimeter. He isn’t worried.

“No. Really not. Part of that is because we really didn’t receive that much dosage total what were were told it’s kind of like receiving a CAT scan,” Smith said.

The Texas Baptist Men gave Japanese Churches $10,000, food and supplies. But without the proper Japanese licenses, the Japanese government will only accept so much help from outsiders.

“What we’re hearing is they will not let us operate the machinery without a license from a Japan authorization,” Smith said.

Hindering food distribution, is the lack of gasoline.  “Right now, it’s extremely high in the impact area.  I think over 8 dollars a gallon,” Smith said.

The self sufficient Japanese have resorted to things like installing solar powered vending machines in some destroyed areas.

Smith wants to help them more.  “That’s what makes it worthwhile,” Smith said.

The team from the Texas Baptist Men are awaiting test results for their radiation exposure just to make sure they’re safe.  They haven’t set a date just yet for their return to Japan.

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