Yesterday we had a totally northern-Japan experience… we went with our Be One staff and Nozomi ladies and their families up the mountain and had an imonikai party.  This is sort of a hot stew that you make over a fire with mountain potatoes, meat, and other veggies.  We made two different kinds with the local tastes — the Yamagata prefecture flavor (heavy on beef and less veggies, pictured below) and the Miyagi prefecture kind (lots of veggies and pork with a miso base).  I favored our current prefecture flavor, and our family enjoyed some Miyagi imoni leftovers tonight.

It was a gorgeous fall day – we haven’t had many like this — and so fun to be in the woods with lots of kids running around and people that I love so much.  Eric and Jonathan made two big fires upon which we cooked the stew in big pots.  Several of the women have had a lot of imonikai experience and lent their expertise to the flavoring.

One of the unfortunate incidents was my friend Chi.’s daughter ( a good friend of Olivia – I wrote about her family losing their home and their poodle in previous blog) who sprained her ankle while playing with the other children.  She ended up just sitting with her mom for the next hour or two, unable to put weight on her foot.  Finally her mom had to carry her to a vehicle to cart her up the hill to the parking lot and back home.  (Below you can see the back of her being held by her mom).

This morning I exchanged a few calls with her mom, and by the afternoon our fears were confirmed- she had somehow broken a bone in her ankle!  We felt so bad.  But her mom felt even worse… she said she has finally found a job that she loves so much and now she will have to stay home and take care of her daughter, who probably won’t be able to return to kindergarten for awhile.  She shared with me how much her new Nozomi job means to her  — she looks forward to going each day, and loves to listen to our sharing [from the Bible]  as well.  She had also told  me earlier that things have been particularly tight financially because they are now paying a double mortgage – one for their home that was washed away;  and the other for the new (smaller) home that they had built this past year.  She hadn’t realized how tough it was going to be. I realized that this job is important on a lot of levels.  She was really disappointed.

Part of our vision for the Nozomi Project is to find ways to help moms with kids – whatever that means.  So Eric, Jennifer and I worked this afternoon on the Be One guest house (a.k.a. the Nozomi Project Workshop), and we made a children’s corner.  We have been wanting to do this anyway since Ian is there most days and there are sometimes other children;  but now was the perfect time.  When I called Chi. back and told her that we had a place for Nodoka to come and hang out, she was thrilled, and said that they will both be there in the morning.  Ian will be happy to have a friend to hang out with!

One of the fun things that we have done  at the NP is to name each particular “line” after someone special in the lives of the Nozomi women.  Some have chosen to name a line after their mothers; others their daughters;  a few women have named a line of jewelry after someone they loved who passed away in the tsunami.  I will be sharing in posts to come about the different names and the stories behind the names.

Our “signature” piece — made exclusively for the Shards of Hope collection — is called the Nodoka, named by Chi. for her sweet daughter with the broken bone!  It is beautiful, like its namesake, and is on the high end because it features blue lapis stones and moonstones which accent the blue and white pottery  that is prevalent here.

Lisa, our jewelry designer, sent me a wonderful passage yesterday and she was so excited because it talks about lapis, and there are such wonderful promises in this passage for people from this afflicted city.  I love the promise of rebuilding; and the realities of God’s unfailing love.  And I am excited for Nodoka, who has been terrified of the ocean since the tsunami, to find and experience in the days to come  the peace promised by the Covenant-keeper.  (Isaiah 54:10-14)

10 Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a]
your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by the Lord,
and great will be their peace.
14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.


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