Befores and Afters

I only had a chance to talk with Eric briefly tonight – he and Peter are driving late tonight down to a Sendai train station to pick up a colleague Stu who is coming to help continue relief work.

This morning the groups all headed out into different directions to help families throughout the neighborhoods who were trying to clean out their homes.  Peter and the Sanda team went and helped a woman clean out her floors and throw out her piano.  She had lost five family members in the tsunami.  Our hearts break with hers.  So thankful that she has had a chance to see the hands and feet of Jesus loving her!

Eric was asked to stay back to do an interview with a Christian communications group.  After that, he and Chad went out to scout out a location to have the second barbeque.  They found a location in the midst of a residential area and set up the grills, tables, and other relief supplies that they had brought.  People kept coming and coming… all the hotdogs were eaten, and all but a few bags of the chicken.  Just as the volunteers were about to eat dinner after everyone had finished, a thunderstorm blew in and they scrambled like crazy to get everything into cars.

Here is what Chad and Jennifer wrote about the barbeque yesterday:

“It felt like life was coming back,” Chad said, in reference to the barbecue at the park today.  One of the teams headed there this morning to finish cleaning up and set up for the BBQ.  Another team prepared the food and made pasta salad at the dojo.  Three other teams headed out to nursing homes and other areas to distribute supplies, as well as do some cleaning projects in those areas. 

Though they fought some windy weather conditions, it sounds like the barbecue in the park they have been cleaning for the last two days was a huge success.  Many from the neighborhood came to help clean and then even to help cook.  Kids were all over the park, playing soccer, jumping rope and climbing on the play equipment.  Flowers that the team planted around the park seemed to give it that extra touch of life.  Chad said there was just a really good spirit there today.  Praise God!!

They were prepared to feed up to 1000, and though no one took an official head count, Chad said they fed probably 350 and plan to take what was left over and do another barbecue somewhere tomorrow.  They had lots of time to talk with people and at the end were able to pray as a group with those who were left from the neighborhood, including one of the leaders.

I was shocked to see a Google map photo of the park that they cleaned before the tsunami.  There is grass; trees; it looks like a beautiful place to hang out.  Here are a few of the photos of the park after the tsunami:

Here are two more photos of the park cleaned up:  (with some cars that still need to be towed) away:

Tomorrow Eric and the Sanda team will be driving back.  Please pray for their long drive, as well as for the teams remaining to continue relief work.  They are really tired, but I have sensed such joy that they have experienced in serving and giving.  Can’t wait to hear more from them personally.

On the homefront…
It was really fun to spend the night with Wendi and her kids last night- we all had a great time.  Then this afternoon we spent time and had dinner with friends from our community who we have been developing friendships with.  These both were great.  Here is a sweet picture of Ian with the 80 year old grandfather of our friends- they both took to each other.
But it has been a hard few days personally.  Perhaps tiredness – areas of weakness – too much Sue and not enough Jesus — some hard mom days.  (Annie screamed the whole way to  first grade on Monday morning.  Literally.  I had to drag her, with Ian and dog Molly in tow.  It was terrible.  She came home and was fine.  I’m still recovering).
The Lord really encouraged me today from  my reading by Charles Spurgeon, from our “favorite tsunami Psalm” 46:1 – “A very present help.”  Read it without the old English version and it is remarkable current!
… Believer, thou dost not make use of christ as thou ought to do.  When thou art in trouble, why dost thou not tell him all thy grief?  Has he not a sympathizing heart, and can he not comfort and relieve thee?  No, thou art going about to all thy friends, save thy best Friend, and telling thy take everywehre except into the bosom of thy Lord. … Dost thou deplore thy weakness?  He is thy strength; why not lean upon him?… Strip off thine own righteousness, and thine own fears too:  put on the fair white linen, for it was meant to wear…. There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for his people to make a show-thing of him, and not to use him.  He loves to be employed by us.  The more burdens we put on his shoulders, the more precious will he be to us.”
Thank you, dear God, that your strength really does cover my weakness.

2 thoughts on “Befores and Afters

  1. Sue and Eric,

    Our staff has been praying for you — for your family and for the relief efforts you’ve been involved in. The pictures you include here are amazing. God is indeed with you…even when it doesn’t seem like it.

    Sending hugs your way,


  2. Dear Sue,

    Don’t forget that in your “oneness” with Eric part of you goes with him. That may be a bit of why you are a little “off.” When you feel less than you usually are, lift Eric up and pray strength for him and the team. The feelings you are having may be very similar to what Eric and the team are experiencing. You may get relief as you intercede for them Father’s help flows from the thrown, through you and on to them! I will be praying specifically for the Lord to may His presence known in the midst of what you are going through!

    What a wonderful difference the teams are making! I’m praising God with you. I love the photo of Ian and his “grandpa!” He has a heart of love–you can tell because all the wrinkles are in the right places! Blessings!

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