Today is five months since the disaster. I have been watching a news program that shows various aspects of how the tsunami has changed the lives of so many. As of late July, there are still 80,000 or more people still in shelters because their homes were destroyed by the tsunami/earthquake or because of the nuclear disaster. One man just interviewed said, “It’s pretty hard being in an evacuation center like this. In fact, it’s quite awful.” The government has been building more mass temporary housing that will at least give some privacy. In memory of the 20,000 some who died, and the upcoming obon holidays this weekend, eight regions across Tohoku are having fireworks tonight. Eric and others are up in Ishinomaki are hosting a barbeque, giving away supplies that are still in scarce supply, and ministering to many in the region who may be especially struggling this weekend. They gave away several bicycles as prizes, which are a huge hit!
One of the many unexpected ways that we have seen God at work in Ishinomaki is through our son Owen. We wrote in a recent entry about Owen’s trip up with Eric. We had met with his third grade teacher beforehand to get permission, since he would be missing two days of school. T. Sensei (teacher) thought it would be a good experience for Owen and was fine with his absences.
His return to school was a bit strange- he went back for a half day on Tuesday, and then Wednesday, which was to be the last day, was cancelled because of a typhoon that came through. But he said on Tuesday he shared a little about his trip (hard to know with boys details of any kind of sharing!).
We left the day after the typhoon for our vacation at a lake in Nagano prefecture. I got a phone call on my cell from his teacher – my immediate thought was – oh no- what did I forget to do now? But he said he wanted to talk about something personal – and that hearing Owen share about his volunteering made him want to go too, and would it be possible to join my husband on his next trip? The next trip (now) that we were planning for Eric fell perfectly in line with his vacation days (though Eric cut his trip a day short)- and now they are up there together. We love how God used the simple sharing of a third-grader to recruit more volunteers… and I love it that T. Sensei will experience Christian fellowship in such a meaningful way. Here they are at departure time yesterday. Our friends Ray and Lora also did the drive up with them.
Of course today’s lows at our family dinner table was all about Daddy being gone (I actually was chastised by Annie when I said my low was when I yelled at the kids after lunch. She said, “your low should be that Daddy’s gone. He’s your husband after all.” Yes, I explained, that very reason probably contributed to my yelling after lunch.
So you can pray for those up north, and for us. I think I have not recovered emotionally/physically from the activities of the past weeks, as good as they have been. We had an amazing two-day English camp, cooking class, coffee house, homestays with the Cerritos team… but I am tired, and trying to get caught up on life in general. Hoping for a fun and creative day full of patience and joy with our children tomorrow.