Saturday, April 09, 2011

Hard Things & Great Things go Together
(part 3 of my trip to the devastated area in Japan)

As you know from my previous posts, this trip has made me realize that in great suffering there is also great blessing. (If you haven't read the previous posts, I encourage you to do so before reading more.) I have truly experienced both on this trip. With, and even as result of the hard things, there have been great blessings.

1. Hard: The town of Otsuchi was devastated. Out of the 10,000 people, 4,000 are dead or missing, 1,700 are in evacuation centers and many hundreds are digging out of their mud-filled homes.

1. Great: Teamwork among volunteers from different cities and different countries are coming together to help. More than 90% of the foreign volunteers that I have seen and met are Christians. We brought needed supplies, dug mud out of houses, dumped out damaged items, made 1,700 rice balls for people in evacuation centers, encouraged and played with the children there, and washed the feet of those in the centers while listening to them.Through the daily service of missionaries and other Christians, people in this area are beginning to have a favorable opinion of Christians in a place where there are almost no Christians at all. On the last day I was there we were greeted on the streets as the "volunteer pastors" with big smiles and thank yous. I can't wait to see how God is going to use the steady stream of CRASH volunteers for the next months and years to come!(Playing with the kids and making balloons for them at an evacuation center in Kamaishi City.)
Most say that this is the least reached area in all of Japan. Every house seemed to be deeply involved in Shinto and Buddhist beliefs. What a joy it is then to silently serve these people who are so much in need of God's grace.
This kamidana (god shelf) says, "Protect the inside of this house." This sea area is also "protected" by a large idol. It is clear that these "gods" are not too reliable. (Notice the big Buddhist statue in the horizon below.) More to come tomorrow...

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