Tonight we had our monthly prayer and praise time to gather as a local body of believers. Called the Watanoha Family (Watanoha is the specific area in Ishonomaki where we are all focusing our work), we represent different churches and denominations but since the beginning have made a concerted effort to cooperate. There have been some challenges, but overall it has been a joy to see the bonds of friendship and kindred hearts join together for the purpose of reaching out to this area where God has called us.
This evening’s time together was especially timely as we were all reeling from an horrific accident that happened to one of our members. Akemi, a member of the Presbyterian group Grace Mission Tohoku (GMT), was up north in a wiped-out area working with a team of about six in helping to clean up a lot. She was trying to get a very stubborn bamboo shoot out of the ground. It finally dislodged suddenly, and the end of the shoot went directly into her eye. She was rushed to one local hospital, which didn’t have the means to help her, so they took her by ambulance to the larger hospital here in Ishinomaki. By late Friday night, we received word that they had had to remove her eye. Fortunately it had not injured her brain, and the muscles around the eye are intact and will be able to help move the artificial eye. It was shocking and heartbreaking for all of us.
Tonight, Akemi and her husband skyped in to our prayer time from the hospital. She had half of her face bandaged, and she showed such bravery, beauty, and faith in Jesus. Before the surgery, she said to her husband, “pray that no matter what the outcome is I will continue to praise The Lord.” She is still praising Him.
We spent most of tonight in a special time of prayer for this couple and for the GMT mission, who have had a few different mishaps recently. We heard reports that the carpenters and workers who were with her at the time are having a hard time sleeping because of what they had experienced. Please pray with us for Akemi’s quick healing and adjustment to the many changes ahead; for God’s protection and guarding over all of us, and that God would continue to unite us as a body and use this synergy for His amazing Kingdom purposes. We are thankful that God has called us to join in His special work of displaying His love to the people of Ishinomaki.