LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - As cleanup continues in Japan, two local ministers representing three Lexington churches are on their way to help with the massive relief efforts there and this isn't their first trip to the tsunami-ragaved country.
Paul Bishop from First Baptist of Lexington and Dave Bindewald from Lexington Presbyterian say the 11 day journey is a calling they heard after seeing the devastation and feeling empathy for their home away from home.
"My heart sank and felt so much compassion for these people who we know and love so much," said Bindewald.
It is a personal journey back to a place the two know and love - both have been missionaries in Japan.
"It was an overwhelming feeling that there were people we knew and cared about who were hurting and struggling," said Bishop.
Just moments before the two boarded a plane, a small prayer circle formed in the lobby of Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
"We are happy to go not only in the name of the Lord, but all the Barr Road churches." said Bindewald.
Lexington Presbyterian, First Baptist of Lexington and Calvary Chapel together raised $28,000 for the trip.
"I have great peace about it," said Bishop. "The way God has put it all together and my wife and church's support and three churches working together is evidence that this is the thing to do."
Even though they face tremendous danger, "the safest place in the world is in the hands of the Lord," said Bindewald.
They are taking radiation detectors with them and will meet up with a group from the "Mission to the World" organization for disaster relief.
As the two head into harm's way, they are not asking for much. "Prayer is the main thing," said Bindewald.
Both men are fluent in Japanese and Bishop is a licensed counselor, and hopes to offer those services there while in the area.
While in Japan, the two ministers will be blogging. You can follow their journey here