Category: ‘Tohoku Aid’

Hope for Tohoku

Posted by Bob On Thursday, October 27th, 2011

7/11-15 Thoughts from Bethany

Everyone in my family had already been to Tohoku before me, so when I went up there, I basically had already heard stories and seen pictures of what it was like there. However, I was amazed at how much progress was being made after only four months after the tsunami. Don’t get me wrong, there is still much more work to be done, but compared to the beginning of the disaster, there is a significant difference. Many roads are now cleaned up, while formerly the cars had to swerve around fallen trees and rubble. The people in Ishinomaki are beginning to smile and the children are starting to relax and play, while formerly only faces of desperation for basic needs were seen.

It was so encouraging to work with great volunteers working with Be One with the united purpose of being Christ’s hands and feet. Making relationships with the local people there and seeing them being extremely hospitable and thankful to our teams greatly inspired us all.
God is indeed working in Ishinomaki!

Hope for Tohoku

Posted by Bob On Thursday, October 27th, 2011

7/8-11 Thoughts from Shiho-san

I went to Ishinomaki from July 8-11.

The trip took more than 12 hours each way. The people in Ishinomaki would love to return to their normal lives, but so many can not.

Even during our short stay there, there was an earthquake that measured 4 on the Japanese scale and a tsunami warning was issued. We evacuated to higher ground with the local people. Though 4 months have passed since the big earthquake, aftershocks and tsunami warnings are now still a part of daily life causing instability and fear for those living there.

Though they face so much difficulty, the people are working very hard to put their lives back together. I feel a great respect for them. I saw the light of great hope in these people, and through that I was encouraged by them! I hope we will continue to do whatever we can and whatever will be useful for the people there. I want to say thank you to everyone who accepted us!

Hope for Tohoku

Posted by Bob On Thursday, October 27th, 2011

6/5 Thoughts from Keishi san

I went to Ishinomaki from the night of June 3. I left about 9pm and arrived at 11am. I went to a park that was recently cleaned up and gathered kids together to play with them and to pass out presents. These kids’ stationery goods along with their homes were washed away in the tsunami, some lost their families. We played volleyball, dodgeball, frisbee, badminton, and soccer! Many people came out for a barbeque and we had a wonderful time with them.

I have gone to this area many times now and have become friends with many of the people there. I feel the people of Tohoku have a closeness to Kansai people. Their sense of language and humor is very similar. They are cheerful and friendly people. They like Kansai-ben (dialect).

As I get to know these people and befriend them, I am struck by one thing.
Though they do not say this directly, this is what I believe I am hearing from their hearts. “We don’t want people to come here and help us just because they pity us. We want people to come who love our towns and who love the people who live here, or because they love the goods we produce here. When these kinds of people come to help us, we feel the strength to live again and realize that life is worth living again.”

On March 18, I met a man who formerly had a yakisoba (fried noodles) factory. He showed me around the area where the factory used to stand and the temporary factory that is currently under construction. His factory was 1000 tsubo (1 acre) , but now all that is left is the foundation but there is no trace that anything more was there – it was all washed away. The loss will surmount 1 – oku yen (over $1 million). Standing there with the old man, I couldn’t say anything. There’s no trace of anything ever standing in that region. Most would be dumbfounded, however, this old man began to see hope and he encouraged me instead! These are the kinds of people that I hope we can continue to support!

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.

Tohoku Aid-April 2011

Posted by Bob On Friday, September 16th, 2011

A Testimony from one of our team member from B-One

It sounds like our teams in Tohoku had a really good day today giving things to people and helping clean up some places. Through people that they meet, they are often told about someone who needs help, and today one of the places they were directed was the home of a 76-year old woman, who is living by herself.ツ Since the tsunami, she has been moving back and forth between the somewhat livable second floor of her home and an evacuation center. However, the inside of her home has not been touched since the tsunami! Because of the extent of the destruction, the government has basically said that everyone needs to get their own homes cleaned up・they will not help tear anything down unless everything is removed.ツ While some may be able to undertake this task, it is definitely a challenge for someone like this woman today! The team was also able to spend some time praying with her at the end of their time together. Loving with action and not just words is something we are getting a lot of practice at lately here!


In Osaka, we sent a carload off this morning around 8:15, and they were on target to arrive by 10 or so. Then the kids, grandma, two of our neighborhood friends and I headed across the city to our kids ministry barbecue.We had to postpone the camp we had planned for this weekend, but getting together today was a real blessing. At the end, our good friends, Chiaki and Yoichi, offered to take Josiah and Caleb home with them and their son, Kanta. Then, Chiaki came home with me to help out here at “Communication Central” for the evening!ツ We were able to get a lot done here and then finished off the evening with Jeff and his son, Caleb, coming over to fill up the truck with the supplies left in our house and garage.They will be heading up tomorrow, along with 9 other cars from different parts of Osaka! And amazingly, none of those loads will leave from our house! Phew! (^-^)

Tohoku aid

Posted by Bob On Thursday, September 15th, 2011

I left to Tohoku on the 18 March 2011.

Just a while ago, I safely returned to my home in Nishinomiya. Thank you everyone, for your prayers. We were able to deliver the supplies everyone helped collect for the Tohoku area. The one truck wasn’t enough to pack enough supplies in, so we quickly rented a car, and were able to bring two car/truckloads of supplies. We stopped at a church at Sendai, and then went up north to Ishimaki, where the Tsunami hit hard. Many people received us with tears. At the same time, we were able to see joy and laughter in these people’s hearts. We heard some remark, “It’s been quite a while since I’ve laughed this much!” The sacrifices, thoughts, and prayers in Kansai reached to Tohoku and have blessed many. Tomorrow evening, our third team will drive up to Tohoku. There are many people waiting! Please pray that we can continue shining the light of hope.

To continue this, it’s even in the news, but the disaster area is much worse than you can expect. It will take a lot of working to get it back to normal. In Ishimaki, electricity should come back in about one to two weeks, but it is hard to know for sure. The water situation is gradually getting better, but there will not be gas for a while yet.

The Tohoku area are out of most food, (bread, rice balls, obento instant ramen, etc.) so our food supply was gladly received. It sounds like there is some snacks at the stores, but that’s about it.

There are some baths, but not all of the people can enter, so we ran out of wipes quickly. We ran out of sanitary products quickly, too. There are still loads of mud and debris all over, so boots were greatly appreciated. It was still very cold, so underwear, socks, etc. were good, too.

For quite a while still, these people will need our help.

This was pretty simple, but here’s my report.