We just finished a very very full day of relief work in Ishinomaki. I spent several hours going through a neighborhood where we had teams working sharing with the residents about a barbeque we are doing tomorrow night, asking if they need help with home projects, and listening We met the full gamut of responses– one older lady who talked nonstop for 45 minutes about the in-fighting that has been taking place among residents when relief supplies are brought in (“some people lied and received two fans when my family didn’t even get any!”); to neighbors who would shake our hands and with tears in their eyes thank us for coming. I will post photos once I am home, but wanted to share very briefly one story from our traveling up to Ishinomaki yesterday:
A highlight of my time so far has been meeting Subaru (on left). He showed me the scars on his body from the tsunami waves and debris, and shared about the death of his 16 year old sister when they were washed out to sea. Their home is gone, his sister girlfriend, and closest friends killed. But he is strong and going on with life. He asked me to share his story so people will never forget Japan. Tomorrow is a memorial at his sister’s high school to remember Mae and the other 20 or 30 killed. Please keep praying for Japan, and for Subaru and his parents. We hope to meet him again on Wednesday when we go to Sendai….
In the onsen last night, a friend Roberta and I were sort of pulled over by a woman who wanted to thank us for coming. We talked for awhile and then she introduced us to her friend who is living with her now. Her friend shared that both of her parents were killed in the tsunami. The sadness is almost too much. But people are going on. Thankful for small opportunities to bring encouragement, hope, and love.