Friday, April 15, 2011

Trip #4- Planting roots deep and sowing seed wide / 根を深く植え、種を広く蒔く

Wednesday was another prayer answered as the three teams joined into one group to witness the Lord move in two specific locations.
The group at our Sendai base, ready for the day!

As Pastors Chizuo and Pancho and Kevin from Okinawa went ahead to scout out the location in our main area of Ishinomaki for our afternoon outreach event, the rest of us went back to the Shuto residence in the port area of Ishinomaki (where Larry, Kiko, Takako, Richard, and Maxx had been the previous day) to make good on a promise. There was a parking area covered in dirt and mud that we had been asked to clean. We arrived and got to work, meeting the community leader Yamagata-san immediately and starting to grow our relationship in this neighborhood deeper and deeper.
Lots of mud to scoop out in that parking lot. Many of the team said this was one of the highlights of this trip, being able to something physical and real to help the neighborhood in a tangible and immediate way.  

Takako speaks to Shutou-san the grandma. In her hand is a flashlight Takako gave her with Scripture written on an attached tag. Takako explained the Gospel to her clearly and she listened appreciatively. One to one is where it starts, because this lovely lady will take the experience she just had with Takako and share it with her neighbors. Not every neighborhood is as close this one, which is why we feel the Lord has chosen this location to continue to build relationships.

Bob and Takako speak with Yamagata-san's wife. The Yamagatas own the soy sauce factory which is next to the apartment building in the photo, and the Yamagatas are also the landlords of the apartment building. Making contact and deepening relationships with these informal community leaders is absolutely essential to a fruitful ministry. And yes, Bob is really that big, though Yamagata-san is rather short.

An unexpected blessing for the men- we got to throw cars around! Yamagata-san gave us permission to move these two cars over the side of the lot so that we could clean up the dirt underneath. Oh, yeah!

After we moved those other two cars, another neighbor asked us to move a third car in a different area. You betcha!

The finished product. Through our almost three hours there, many of the neighbors came to watch the action. Many good conversations led to promises to return again for more projects identified. Praise the Lord for a real work begun in this area, which has received no government clean-up support yet.
The team then packed the gear and went around the hill to the other Ishinomaki area we have invested a lot of time in. Chizuo, Pancho and Kevin had found a location for the main outreach event, a BBQ with worship music and passing out of supply items.
Pancho on the grill and in the groove. We had hot dogs, shish-kabob cubes and steaks, as well as tea to offer the attendees.

In all, the outreach was a major success, mainly because we were able to coordinate all the elements of the event for the very first time. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating completely with us, being a little cold and very windy, and in the future prayerfully adjusting the timeframe and perhaps the location will allow us to provide this event in a sustained manner, and to let it grow as the Lord wills. As Pancho shared with us at the event's conclusion, God only desires our faithfulness to complete the work He accomplishes through us, and He does not wish us to focus on what we think the results should be. Praise the Lord that His burden truly is light, we were all so blessed by the day.


There are two other stories to share which illustrate perfectly what the Lord's vision is for Calvary Touhoku Relief at this time.

Meet the Shirade family. Before the tragedies of March 11, Mrs. Shirade had her own catering business. Like so many others, the family's home and shop were ravaged by the tsunami. The team met the Shirade's neighbor, Mr. Takahashi. We were driving down a street and saw him outside with his wife trying to clean their home. When we asked him if we could help him, he selflessly pointed across the street at his neighbor's home. He told us how the day before, he saw Mrs. Shirade in tears as she saw the state of her shop for the first time since the disaster. She was more than overwhelmed and didn't think it would ever be possible to clean or salvage anything inside the home. Mr. Takahashi asked us to please help her. We got to work with shovels and wheelbarrows. The amount of muck, trash and debris seemed endless. Four hours later, we were short on sunlight and called it a day. Praise God the whole team came together and was able to clear away the refuse! (see before and after pictures on yesterday's blog post)
白出さん一家です。311日の悲劇の前、白出さんの奥さんはご自分で仕出し屋を 経営していました。他の多くの家と同様に、この家族の家とお店は津波で破壊さ れました。チームは白出さんのご近所さんの高橋さんに出会いました。私たちは 移動中で、車の中から高橋さんが奥さんと一緒に家の掃除をしているのを見まし た。私たちが彼らの清掃を手伝えないか申し出たところ、自分のことはおいて、 近所の家を指さしました。彼は、白出さんが震災の後初めて自分の店に戻って来 て、その状態を見て涙を流していたことを話してくれました。彼女は打ちのめされ て、どのようにお店を片づけて、家の中にあるものを回収できるのか見当もつき ませんでした。そこで高橋さんは、彼女を助けるようにお願いしてきました。私 たちは、スコップと一輪車を使って仕事に取り掛かりました。泥やごみ、がれきを 除く作業は永遠に続くように思えました。4時間後、日が沈みかけたところで終了 しました。最終的に全チームが合流し、がれきを取り除けることができました!主をほめたたえます。(清掃前後の写真を昨日の記事で確認してください。)

Today, Pastor Chizuo and Pastor Pancho had the joy of returning to the Shirade home and shop. They arrived just in time to meet the older couple and one of their relatives. The family had come back to the house in an effort to try and clean what they could. When Mr. Takahashi told them that Pastor Chizuo and Pastor Pancho were part of the group that cleaned the house, Mrs. Shirade began to cry. Mr. Shirade explained how they were shocked and almost fainted when they arrived at the house earlier. They had no idea the group had been there the previous day. The Shirade's shared how they felt like two tsunamis came through the shop; the first one destroyed it and the second one restored it. Mr. Shirade said he had no words to express his gratitude, he can only say, Thank You.
今日、知主夫さんとパンチョさんは白出さんの家とお店を再訪問して、喜ばしい ことがありました。彼らがちょうど到着したときに、老夫婦とその親戚に出会うこ とができました。その家族は自分たちのできる範囲で家を片づけようと戻ってき たところでした。高橋さんが彼らに、知主夫さんとパンチョさんが家を片づけた チームの人だということを伝えたとき、白出さんの奥さんは泣き始めました。ご 主人は、少し前に家に来たときショックで気絶しそうだったと話しました。彼ら は、チームが前日に来たことを全く知りませんでした。白出さんご夫妻は、津波が お店を二度襲ったようだ、と印象を分かち合いました。「初めは店を壊し、次は きれいに直していった。」白出さんのご主人は、感謝の気持ちをどう表わしたらいいのか分からないが、ただ「ありがとう」としか言えない、と話してくれました。

Praise God! May HIS love sweep through this land!!!
The second story involves another man by the name of Mr. Takahashi - a common Japanese suname. Mr. Takhashi is one of eight leaders at this low-income housing unit. Pastor Chizuo asked him if it would be OK to announce the scheduled BBQ to residents who had come back to their apartments. Mr. Takahashi gladly gave permission and even handed Pastor Chizuo a blow-horn to use in order to make the announcing easier. When finished, Pastor Chizuo went back to Mr. Takahashi's apartment to say thank you and return the blow-horn. He handed Mr. Takahashi a small flashlight with a scripture verse attached to it. It read, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12 NIV) Mr. Takahashi told Pastor Chizuo that he listens to the radio every Sunday and sometimes, there are Christian programs on in the morning. Occasionally he listens. He said he has this sense that there is one true God. He continued on saying that for the past 2000 years, religion has failed, but he believes that the one true God is just and righteous. He told Pastor Chizuo that he would like to discuss the One True God the next time they meet. Pastor Chizuo was elated since he had been praying for doors such as this one to open.

Meeting the spiritual needs of the people here in Ishinomaki is the most important work we have set before us. We pray that as we reach out in love, the people of this land would see Jesus and come to know His love, grace and peace. Please continue to pray with us!

We wrapped up this wonderful day pretty late with worship, sharing, and fellowship back at base (reason for the late posting). Only video was taken of the day, actually, and that was to wish happy birthday to Pastor Chizuo! So check out the video channel with the latest videos to view that one.

No comments:

Post a Comment