This is a posting from our good friend Rachel who is serving right now for a short period of time in Northern Japan where the disasters happened just a few short months ago. I asked her to write an update for our blog and she agreed. For all of you who are interested in what is going on now here is Rachel's guest post:
Last month I traveled to the areas of Japan hit by the tsunami. The word that comes to mind is surreal. I rode with two missionaries along the coast and saw several cities that had been affected. It was hard to imagine a wave so strong that it could carry boats several miles inland and destroy homes, businesses, and even entire towns. As we traveled some areas were making good progress in the cleanup but in other areas the cleanup was just beginning. The former were mainly larger cities with minimum damage but the later were towns along the coast that had literally been wiped out. We drove around and we prayed; we prayed for the people who were affected, we prayed for those who were cleaning up, and we prayed for the volunteer work that was beginning.
After several weeks in Tokyo I’ve returned to some of the same areas. For the first two days I worked in an area where the tsunami had come 7 km inland and was 5 km wide. The government workers were putting the debris into large piles of trash. Our job was to clean up a field; to clear it of trash and belongings. I came across broken dishes, books, and a piano sheet. In this area 40 of the 60 houses had been destroyed. The cleanup is underway but still has a long way to go. There are still debris and large piles of trash and then the rebuilding of cities.
Those who have lost everything are living in temporary government houses. A few weeks ago I watched the Japanese news and they interviewed people who live in government temporary housing after the tsunami. They are small homes that the government has constructed for the people and they are in close proximity to one another. Those who live in them have lost so much; family members, friends, businesses, and homes. The government has given some supplies and Christians are also helping out.
While in Tohoku, I’m working as a volunteer through Tohoku Care. Tohoku Care is under the International Mission Board. Tohoku Care has two base houses that houses volunteers from America, Japan, and other countries. For the past two days we volunteered through a local government volunteer center. Tohoku Care has vests with the name Tohoku Care and a verse on the back. The vests themselves are a powerful testimony and create a lot of conversation with people.
Please continue to pray for the rebuilding in these areas. Pray for those who are working in these conditions everyday. Pray for the Japanese who have lost so much and are living in the small government houses. Pray that the light of Christ would shine through Christian volunteers and Japanese believers. Pray that the Word of God would go forth in this area.