Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trip #3- Higashi-Matsushima, Ishinomaki, Onagawa 旅#3- 東松島、石巻、女川

Today was a full day of blessings and surprises for the team as we traveled into new areas and also familiar areas that had undergone some changes in the last week.


The biggest change to the Sendai area was that the gasoline supply has returned in full force- we have not yet seen any lines of cars waiting for gas...what a relief to the people here! This of course has resulted in increased traffic almost everywhere. There is also a big increase in gasoline available in the Ishinomaki area, praise the Lord!

仙台地方での一番の大きな変化は、ガソリンの供給が回復してきたことです。今回の旅ではまだ一度も、ガソリンを給油するために列を作っている車を見ていません。 ここの人々にとってなんという安心でしょう。これにより、あらゆる場所で起きていた渋滞が緩和されました。また石巻地方のたくさんのガソリンスタンドは、利用可能になりました。主に感謝です!

The second biggest change is the increase in many forms of relief and support to the people here. We have already seen many more earth moving machines beginning the immense task of cleaning up. Even more importantly, we have met more groups and organizations who are reaching out directly to the tsunami victims, meeting physical needs and in some cases even spiritual needs! Here are some examples below, and also look to the right for new videos posted of this trip.


In the town of Higashi-Matsushima, the team linked up with another Calvary Chapel team at an evacuee center of about 100 people, including many children. Here, Pastor Travis and Richey from CC Tokorozawa and Pastor Bill from Hawaii chat with a few of the kids. Also on hand at the center was a Japan Ground Self Defense Force team providing hot lunch, water, and hot water for baths for the people. However, at this time this center is not yet receiving other supplies from relief agencies, so it was a blessing to offer them clothing items and other supplies. It was also a wonderful chance to link up with another Calvary team who shares the same vision of reaching the least of the least in the disaster zones.


The flowers are beginning to bloom in Ishinomaki...hope among the despair, beauty in the midst of disaster. In the background the team is handing out relief supplies next to another team of volunteers from a college who is giving food to the neighborhood residents, many of whom come from the multi-story apartment buildings in the back. The site we had used in the past for these kind of outreaches is no longer available, and this site was a surprise blessing. Our groups' combined supplies complimented each other perfectly, and the Lord gave us chances to share our tracts and books with the Gospel message to those who gratefully received our supplies. We pray that the seed of the Gospel will soon bloom in these peoples' hearts like these flowers are blooming on the trees.


It is a wonderful blessing to meet specific needs. Robert hands this lady a portable gas stove, some fuel, and with those packages a book presenting the saving truth of the Gospel.


It was truly a day of discovery for the team. Chihiro-san, right, talks to a man who had led a group of middle school students from a Christian school into Ishinomaki to hand out food, supplies, and spiritual encouragement to the grateful residents. It is very clear to us that part of the ongoing ministry in this area is to connect with other relief groups as the Lord leads and share our vision of reaching the lost for Christ, looking for unity and understanding wherever possible. This team appears to plan to be in area for some time, and it is very valuable for us to be aware of each other's efforts.


Another group we served next to in Ishinomaki, not a Christian group but they are serving the people and that is a wonderful thing. Cultivating these relationships will only add to our ministry.


This team, also called "JC" (but it does not stand for Jesus Community!), really got along well with us, and having a group picture at the end of the outreach event was a real blessing for everyone.


After Ishinomaki and with some daylight left, we traveled another 12 kms north to the town of Onagawa, our first time to survey the area. We were in for another surprise, as the damage here is very different from Ishinomaki or Sendai. Here, the entire town was pulverized, the tsunami reaching above 50 meters in height. If you zoom into this picture, you will see cars on top of buildings, as they were washed from the site where the picture was taken which is a hospital parking lot, and then swept over there to come to rest on top of the buildings as the waters receded. Pictures fail and it is hard to put into words the experience of witnessing such terrible destruction first-hand.


Same vantage point, different view of the destruction in Onagawa. There are large evacuee centers in this area, and there are also some surviving homes on higher ground, but most of the population is gone, either dead or evacuated, and when will the evacuees return? The future is not certain for them, which is why it is so important for them to hear the saving truth of the love of Jesus Christ!

As we continue to pray for wisdom and guidance for how to best serve the needs of the Tohoku region people, we understand that physical needs will continue to shift as recovery continues, but the spiritual need to know Christ as Lord and Savior will always be there for the people of Japan. Please continue to pray for them and for Calvary Tohoku Relief as we seek out the Lord's will for His ministry here. See you tomorrow! God bless you.

No comments:

Post a Comment