"The Calling: A Venture Of Faith"
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. Ⅱ Corinthians 9:10-11
Two days before the disaster in Japan I had a dream while in Uganda. "I was in my house with my daughter Yoko and our house was shaken so violently that the walls cracked." The 9.0 earthquake hit the northern part of Japan at 2:46 pm, 14 mins later, 9 am local time in Uganda, Yoko logged onto "Yahoo Japan." That's how we learned of the news. So, I skyped my wife Mari to find out how she was doing. She told me that the piano shifted and a chest fell over in our house in Tokyo but she, and my oldest daughter Hannah were OK. Then she made an interesting remark, just before the earthquake hit, she was on the homepage of a church in Sendai which we had visited years earlier. Neither one of us realized it then, but that church would ended up hosting our first relief team. From Uganda, we watched the infamous video clips of the tsunami's arrival and devastation. A few hours later, we flew out of Entebbe Airport in Uganda to Narita Airport in Japan. The airport was empty and we were the only ones in the terminal. We praised God for getting us home safely.
The very next day, Sunday evening, my heart was stirred to go north. To my own surprise, I verbally announced, "I am going to head up to the Sendai area." Once I said it, I thought, "Wow, am I really going to head up to north? I guess so!" Monday morning, I started calling some people I know personally in order to ask for support with food and clothes. Tuesday, I called Maxx, a United States Marine who attends our church, and left a message saying, "Do you know something about Relief?" However, because of my accent he thought I said, "Do you know something about belief?" He assumed I was calling to checking on his doctrine! Once we cleared up our miscommunication, he agreed to join me in the relief effort. Tuesday evening, after searching a number of rent-a-car companies in the city and coming up short, I finally found a rental truck available in Chiba, the next prefecture over from Tokyo. Wednesday, I had the chance to share at a Bible study in Chiba. I told them I was heading up to the Tohoku (Northern) area and asked them to pray. Even though I didn't mention any help or support, they collected a donation and handed me an envelope with just enough money to cover the truck's rental fee. That was one of many confirmations in this venture in faith for Relief work in Tohoku.
I realized that as I was stepping out in faith and trusting the LORD, He was bringing together the provisions necessary to do what He had put on my heart. I was able to get in touch with a Japanese sporting goods company that wanted to help. They donated $150,000 worth of retail priced clothing items. They gave us brand new jackets, pants, t-shirts, sweat suits and shoes from top designers. We were amazed. Soon after, a women who attends a monthly Bible study I teach in the Chiba prefecture of Japan had fallen sick. I had been praying for her recovery. When I returned from Uganda, I was able to get in contact with her and she mentioned that one of the other ladies in the study is married to a CEO of a bread company. My friend offered to call the woman and see if there was any help her husband's company could offer. I was able to talk with the CEO directly and soon thereafter, we had 7,000 pieces of individually wrapped bread items to take with us to Tohoku. Confirmation after confirmation that the LORD was providing as we walked by faith.
Once we were on the road heading north, Maxx and I prayed many times and asked God to give us divine appointments. We made contact with one local family and desired to reach out to them again. When we reached Ishinomkai City, I got lost trying to find their home. We ended up driving around an extra 30 minutes wasting time and gas... or so I thought. As the LORD would have it, we arrived at their home just as they themselves were returning home. Any earlier and we would have missed them!
We started posting what the Lord was doing for us and through us on this first trip. Many people started to respond to the testimony of God's work and faithfulness. Soon, Pastor Rick Barnett from Calvary Chapel Okinawa arrived with two guys in tow to help us in this first phase. Now this week, Pastor Jack Bell of CC Kamakura brought his son and another guy from their church for the second trip. Also, Joseph and Amy Tostis joined our team. Since we venture the first trip in faith, the Lord put on our hearts the city of Ishinomaki where tsunami damage is severe. On Sunday, the day before we were to leave, I was watching a TV News program and they said, "A guy in Ishinomaki heard someone crying out for help from the rubble. Many police and firemen searched for the man crying out out but they couldn't find him." This report immediately grabbed my heart. I believe it was a cry for the people in Ishinomaki.
When the LORD put Calvary Tohoku Relief on my heart, we had nothing, zero, no money... Only a desire to go. I knew what the LORD was speaking to my heart so all I could do was step out in faith and believe that where God guides, He provides! The LORD honored this step of faith and quickly brought resources together and shortly thereafter, provisions in bounty followed. I'd like to encourage those of you reading this to seek after the LORD and walk by faith. If the LORD is calling you or stirring your heart to come and work alongside Calvary Tohoku Relief, we'd love to hear from you and encourage you to step out in faith. Let the journey into the unknown be an opportunity for you to see how amazing and faithful our GOD is!