Monday, February 4, 2013

Back in November...

Well, I thought I had already posted about this, but it appears that I have not!  The last week of November I went to Sendai in northeastern Japan as a volunteer.  I went with a group of 7 others from around the JBC to help in any way we could.

Northeastern Japan (Tohoku) is where the earthquake and tsunami hit in March of 2011.  That evening when I got home, I sat transfixed in front of the TV with my computer facing it so that my parents could also see what was happening through skype.  We watched as waves pushed and pulled cars, houses, buildings and people.  I listened to, and translated, stories of people who escaped or who were looking for their families.  (Click here to read some thoughts I wrote a few days after the disasters.  And click here to read about a song our gospel choir director wrote before 3.11 but which took on much more meaning after the disasters.)

Over 18 months later, I finally had the opportunity to go and help.  The physical labor of clean up is basically finished in the area where we volunteered.  However, the emotional labor of clean up continues.  That was our basic goal in going.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I am going to tell my volunteer story in pictures and just captions when words are needed.  Please continue to pray for Japan!

The first day we helped a farmer, stacking pallets.

We also planted seeds, by hand, one at a time.

The water line on the outside of his house
Inside the house-it was going to be torn down and rebuilt.
Notice the calendar... March 11, 2011

It wasn't as cold as we make it look by our clothing!

The first floor of all the buildings and houses in the area
near the farmer's house were destroyed.

Where the tsunami came from

The cross from Seaside Chapel
Literally the only thing left standing

Practicing hand massages for cafe time the next day
An elementary school that can no longer be used

Items collected in the area, cleaned, and categorized
This area is a collection of children's school bags

One of the temporary housing units
Our group after cafe time and hand massages

A cement building police station that was pushed over in the tsunami

A small temporary housing unit up in the mountains

This church was badly damaged in the tsunami.
Now, several churches are working together to minister
in the area, using this church as their base.

The CRASH Japan van with Coco, Mitsuha, and Becky

Making Okinawa soba

Rolling out the dough
Hearing the story of God's love in the midst of pain

Eating at a restaurant which serves vegetables grown by the farmer we helped.