As I have listened to Eric fill in for me how their days are filled – often from early until really late — a large part of the mornings and/or evenings are filled with helping load and unload shipments that have been coming into Sendai from Samaritan’s Purse, Food for the Hungry, and other countries who have been sending relief for distribution. Tonight Eric mentioned how much he has enjoyed watching the humility and wisdom of one of the Samaritan’s Purse staff, Ken Isaacs. Ken has flown into Japan to oversee the work being done, and his background in doing relief work has been really helpful. Eric told me that Ken went to Costco and spent 250 thousand dollars – he bought them out of underwear and other things that are needed up north right now. Then he went to bicycle shops and tried to buy as many as possible, since gas is hard to get this is one of the best means of transportation at this point. (Eric laughed that Ken cancelled his order for a bunch of Japanese rice cookers when he found out the premium rate of these appliances in this country!) We are thankful for the generous outpouring that has been coming in to help meet the enormous needs of the people here.
One of the needs that the guys have realized is helping to entertain the children who are spending all their days and nights in large gymnasiums/evacuation centers. Most have no toys, no school, no home. So Peter and Eric arranged to do some fun english games/classes today in one of the evacuation centers where they have built relationships. Eric said the two of them just went at it this afternoon for several hours with about thirty kids, and parents and other adults who would come and go with smiles on their faces. I think it was a highlight not just for the kids, but for the two guys as well! I think this kind of ministry is going to be crucial in days to come as parents/adults focus on cleaning, moving, rebuilding, but there are not safe places yet for children to play.
Chad Huddleston, a missionary colleagues who has been making trips up to Tohoku to do relief work, conveyed this story to his wife. I read it tonight and it touched me deeply.
Wow. I don’t even know what to say. Chad just shared with me the moment that impacted him most today. He met a young man as they were passing out food and supplies and asked him where he lived. The man said that his house had been washed away. They were living in one of the evacuee shelters. Then Chad asked him what the needs at the shelter were and the man answered, “Kodomo,” which means “child” or “children.” He went on to share that his four year old son had been washed away in the tsunami. His wife was there too, and as Chad and Kitani-papa talked and then prayed with them, they both just sobbed and sobbed. Unimaginable. Unexplainable. Yet we hold on to the truth that God is good. He has asked us to go. He wants us to love these people. So, we go.
Pray with me today for the tens of thousands of children who have been displaced from their homes; many who have lost family members. And pray with me for those families who have lost children, perhaps the most unimaginable lost. We have a God who knows what it feels like to lose a son. May His love sweep in tangible ways over those who need such love and comfort.