Tohoku Aid-May 2011

Posted by Bob On Friday, September 16th, 2011

Testimony from B-One Leader

Hi everyone! Whew, it has been over a week since I last shared and so much continues to happen! Thank you all for giving me grace in letting my communications with you slow down. It has definitely taken a bit of the load off my shoulders, but I still have a strong desire to communicate and keep you praying!

We are so sorry to hear of the losses around the States this tornado season, and particularly in Joplin, where my brother-in-law, Chris, grew up. My sister just returned from going down to help with the relief efforts – the pictures of the destruction I have seen look so much like many of our tsunami pictures.

Though my communication has tapered off, the pace of work has not! We continue to send up teams and have had 4 groups go up in the last week, as well as five other teams that have joined us in Ishinomaki. We had a great overnight trip with our homeschooling group last weekend. Chad just headed back up this morning and we are now gearing up to send up our own family on Friday! The kids are really excited about finally getting to go to Tohoku, a place that has been on their own hearts and minds for the last two and a half months. Lora will join me and we will caravan up with my parents and our friend, Masa. Our family will be there until Tuesday. We hope to be able to spend time playing with neighborhood kids, visiting the nursing homes, evacuation centers, or wherever God leads us. “Clean up,” will also take on a new meaning after this trip, I think.

We have had some amazing people to work with through this whole experience, and our Asian Access friends have worked alongside us tirelessly. I would like to share two reports that Eric’s wife, Sue, shared about what they did in Ishinomaki over this past weekend. God is doing wonderful things!

“What It’s About” (May 22)

“It’s been an amazing day.” This is what Eric shared about their last twelve hours. They split into teams, and worked again on gutters, yards, and homes in the vicinity of the rental home that will become the ministry base. One of the ladies who lives next door to the rental home, Eric said, is a busy-body who seems to have a lot of opinions and knows everybody around. Today she was telling others how the teams have been cleaning and fixing up everyone else’s home but not their own… because they are Christians. What awesome gossip!

They set up groceries to give away in the garage of the rental home… about twenty different families/individuals came to pick up things. What was unusual about this set-up was that the team helped the community members carry their groceries home. ”There was just a sense of Christ’s presence working across the community. It was all for the Lord’s renown.”

“Unforgettable” (May 24)

Eric and our friend Nozomi got home at 7 pm from the long drive from Sendai. We have not had a lot of chances to talk, but

I have been so encouraged by the reports that they bring. I will share just about their day yesterday.

The dad of one of the young women who is a student at the karate center asked the team to come and do a barbeque on Monday for lunch. Eric and Peter and others had prepared last week for 500 people’s worth of food. They used half on Saturday night (see previous post) and then had half for Monday. Thankfully Peter went out Sunday night before his group traveled back yesterday and bought a lot more chicken – just in case.

They were going to an evacuation center about 45 minutes away where there were a lot of kids. When they arrived, the team discovered that they were serving an elementary school full of children! And this was instead of their school lunch – how awesome is that? But it wasn’t just one school; it was three. That elementary school has combined with two others that were destroyed in the tsunamis. As Nozomi said, it broke her heart to think of how many children are no longer at these schools – either they died in the tsunami or they are in an evacuation center somewhere… But the three schools’ populations have all been cut by one-third. For the kids remaining – so much grief they have experienced!

Eric was asked to meet with the three principals who were all there, and wanted to know why the teams were serving in this way. Eric said they were really fun and welcoming. As 230 kids came pouring out of the school, and then the teachers and parents from the nearby community, they realized that they were going to be serving many more than 250 people (what they had prepared for). Nozomi kept looking at the line and thinking, “We’re not going to have enough food! We’re not going to have enough food!” Hotdog, chicken, grilled vegetables, potato chips, juice, watermelon, apples, and oranges, and TONS of candy (Nozomi said they had to ask permission of the principal to give out the junk food – the principal said, in effect, “Bring it on!”) The kids filled their plates with SO much food that there wasn’t room for the candy; so the kids all came back and filled their shirts and pockets with American candy. In the end, there was food left over that they were trying to give away! Nozomi said it felt like Jesus feeding the 5000 – that He kept multiplying the food.

As the festivities were winding down, the three principals came over and wanted Eric to share. He was still cooking hotdogs, but they said, “Please go now and share!”  They hooked up a microphone in the gymnasium, and Eric found himself in front of three hundred people. He shared about being with Be One, and that the name says what the teams are seeking to do – that we are all in this together. ”We want to let you know that people from around the world are on this team – but we are all here with one purpose. We are a Christian organization, and we are all here for the purpose of showing God’s love. We hope through this barbeque that you get a taste of His love.”

After the lunch was done, the kids still enjoying candy, one of the moms from nearby came up with her younger son. He was sucking on a big blue lollipop from the U.S. that was dripping all down his chin and she asked, “Excuse me, but what flavor is this?” Eric apologized and told them, “blueberry.”

As Yasuko heard this story, she said, “You know – those kids are never going to forget about this barbeque today.” I pray that even if they forget about the yummy blueberry candy and the one time in their entire lives as students that their principal let them eat junk food during school lunch- that they don’t forget the taste of God’s love that they experienced yesterday.

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