Eric, Owen, friends Paul (L.A. friend), Yumiko (another LA friend), and Yasuko are all up in Ishinomaki this week staying at the karate dojo. Eric said that they have had two very full, good days so far. Last night they had a BBQ for 300 people. Owen peeled carrots and onions for quite a while, a trade I hope he will continue to enjoy once he returns home as well! After that he played at the park with some of the boys from the highrises there.
Today the group spent the morning cleaning up in and around the Be One home – they finished cleaning some new floors that have put in and are excited to hold a worship service there on Sunday. In the afternoon a group of them went to a home and cleaned the tsunami crud from under the floor boards. Eric said he spent quite a while talking with and listening to the older man and woman who owned the home. They were so thankful for the work being done that they could never do. Owen and Yasko went with others to the park and pulled weeds, gathered trash, and continued friend-making. Owen told Eric later that it bothered him that the boys he played soccer with didn’t play by the rules of fouls, etc. – Eric said those boys haven’t had a chance to go to YMCA to learn all the good rules.
Yasko shared with me that the flies have been extremely bad this week. They were really bothering Owen yesterday. This morning Eric told Owen that it’s not so bad for them because they get to go home from the flies in a few days but the people who live there never get to leave. That’s why we are all helping – to get rid of the garbage and things that draw the flies. Later today, Owen said to Yasko, “those flies are nothing! They don’t bother me!” Yasko and Owen have decided to stay until Sunday after the worship service and then they will come back by bullet train. Eric and Paul will stay up until Tuesday, and then drive the car back.
Eric spent several hours tonight meeting with the dojo karate master. They have a special rapport, and Eric said it was good to listen and let him share some frustrations. Tomorrow Eric is planning to have those who are willing do a major clean-up of the dojo. So many people come and stay, and then leave, that it can quite quickly become pretty dirty. Keeping it clean is one way to help minister to the sensei and show him respect.
Thanks for praying for all involved in this relief work! There was another substantial aftershock tonight; there have also been a lot more injuries to relief workers in recent days which reminds me of the special need for covering and prayer. Tonight I am praying Psalm 91, and Psalm 23, for these workers. Last Sunday I showed our children the YouTube videos of Owen and Annie from four years ago or so when they had both memorized Psalm 23. They don’t remember the Psalm so well now, so I’ve challenged the older 3 to work on memorizing it and letting it sink into their hearts. It has been a good place for me to dwell this week as well in the midst of busy life and forgetting pool days and signing up for the wrong PTA things… “The Lord is MY Shepherd… I shall not want. He makes me to lie down….”