Today held its mix of ups and downs for the guys up north. They continue to battle the challenges of poor communication in doing immediate relief work – being asked to deliver supplies to a given church, getting there, and discovering that someone else has already done just that. But then there are God-given moments….
I didn’t catch all of background of this, but Eric and Peter spent the day together today. Kent was with another group delivering a water purifiers. At one point they pulled off the highway, and they were making a phone call to a pastor contact. The pastor asked where they were at the time, and they realized they were within just a short drive from the pastor’s church. So Eric and Peter drove over and met with this pastor. He owns a large campground next to Sendai in a town called Rifu. This is a possible location for a staging ground for relief crews to come in and stay in the months to come and assist the greater Sendai area with cleanup. Part of Eric and Peter’s job is to identify possible locations and begin discussions with the staff for doing this.
When Eric got out of the car, the pastor seemed to recognize him, but they couldn’t make the connection. After a few minutes, though, the pastor asked if Eric’s wife’s name is Sue… and then it all came together. One of his church members had married Hiroko (Hi-chan, as everyone calls her) – she had been the staff we had worked closest with during our two years at Sendai L’Abri Church. After we had moved down here to Sanda, Hi-chan had been “matched up” with a member of this pastor’s church, and Olivia, just a baby then, and I had flown up for the wedding, held on location at this church where Eric and Peter were.
The pastor wanted to surprise her. Hi-Chan came out a few minutes later, and gave a formal greeting to the guys. Then she looked again and realized it was Eric and showed such great joy. It was a great, surprising, reunion. We have realized that this friendship could serve as a great connection as Eric and Peter and their team continue trying to set up an infrastructure potentially through Hi-chan’s church that will allow for many teams to come and facilitate in the clean-up process. I love how God does things like this! (Eric and Hi-chan are on the right of the photo below). Hi-chan recognized the car, as well… the car they are driving was our first car when we moved to Japan, and Hi-chan had spent a long time helping us get it registered. Nine years and several missionary families later, it has returned to its home of origin and is chugging around town bringing relief and love to those who need it.
After another family visit to the doctor (can you say exhausting? – one parent; four children in the waiting room and then together being tested in the doctor’s office; then repeat this whole scenario in the pharmacy)…, Annie is officially diagnosed with the same strain of influenza as me. The others are put on one dose of Tami-Flu instead of two a day. I feel like I sort of nose-dived a bit in terms of recovery – my throat and my head have been very achey today rather than feeling better. Praying for a good day tomorrow and more fully returning to health!
Last night after getting in bed I had a strange night of sensing spiritual oppression in our home, even in my room, that at first was so strong it was paralyzing. Finally I got up and prayed over our children and managed to go back to sleep. I am wondering what that was about. I was reminded of the truths of Ephesians 6: “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” I believe these are important times where God is calling us not just to action but also to prayer. Keep us near your heart, O God – the safest place in the world.