There has been a lot that has happened since the last entry. On Friday, the team worked a good part of the day planting rice in two fields near the Nozomi Center, which really brought the reality to us all of the hard work that people in this area are doing for a living. On Saturday, the team traveled north of Sendai City to Ishinomaki, one of the hardest hit areas from last year's tsunami. Grace Tohuku (Grace Mission) and Samaritan's Purse have established a long term relief effort there and it was a blessing to help them with cleaning out damaged homes so they can be rebuilt and hopefully can soon be lived in again. Some of our team members were able to work with college students from Missouri and it was great to work with the young men and women from the U.S. who are spending part of their summer serving others.
On Sunday, we had the privilege of worshipping with our brothers and sisters in Christ at a church in the town of Watari. The service was a reminder for us that we all serve the same Lord and Savior, and even though we speak different languages we have the same Holy Spirit working in all of us.
We have had some really wonderful moments connecting with people in the area who told us of their stories of the earthquake/tsunami and the times of recovery after that. In many cases, all they really want us to do listen to their stories, and even though we couldn't comprehend completely all they had experienced, we can still sense and see the immense sadness and loss that has affected so many people.
Overall, the team is working really well. At the end of everyday, we are all really tired, although encouraged and strengthened by the power and presence of our God who is with us. Continue to pray for us and the opportunity to serve and witness on behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace." Psalm 29:11
Written by Chris Olson, Team Member for Japan Team - June 2012 (Crosspoint Church - Chino, CA)