Japan Update: Trip to Akai and Ohtsuka03/30/2011 — World Challenge Missions
This is the fifth update from the directors of Teen Challenge Japan on the aftermath of the earthquake which hit Japan on March 11th 2011:
The Spirit of the Lord guided us all the way to Sendai and back last weekend. Thank you so much for your prayers.
We arrived at Sendai City earlier than expected on Saturday, put some petrol in the van on the way, and were able to meet with everyone we wanted to and distributed food, clothing, petrol and kerosene. We made our base at Izumi Gospel Church which is pastored by Pastor Hiroshi Itoh.
We went to see Gamoh which was the worst-hit area in Sendai City (see the photo of the house swept into the school), and made some inquiries to see if we can be of any help. However, we found out that there is a massive gap between those who experienced only the earthquake and those who were hit by the tsunami. The former was not so damaged and life will be back to normal once gas, water and electricity are back. On the other hand, the latter lost more or less everything and are living in the evacuation centres, and again there is not much we can do as their need is too great.
Then the Lord granted us extra petrol on Monday morning so we could go further north, and we visited Higashi-Matsushima City in which one of our member’s aunt lives. Six hundred and fifty-five people died and 400 more are missing — presumably dead — and 13,500 people are living in the evacuation centres in that city, but we managed to find his aunt and family alive, living in the upstairs because the downstairs is covered in mud. (see the photo of the street filled with cars and timbers)
One half of the city got electricity and water, but the other half has no gas, water or electricity since the tsunami. We gave some petrol, kerosene, rice and water, but we had to leave with a sense of not doing enough.
Yet, the Lord prepared the final surprise. When we were halfway home, a Christian organization called Bridges for Peace Japan (BFPJ) contacted us, asking for guidance to help the most needy. We found out they were driving back from Sendai too, so we had a meeting at a service area and directed them to go to Higashi-Matsushima! Hallelujah!
Pastor Itoh and a couple of guys as well as nine BFPJ volunteers went in to Higashi-Matsushima this afternoon and distributed food and water in the area called Akai, where 160 people live. Pastor Itoh met with the city officer and he was extremely grateful for the help, and asked us to help especially in two areas: Akai and Ohtsuka.
So we are leaving for Sendai again this evening in order to bring food and basic necessities to Akai and Ohtsuka. We will come back on Sunday night. We appreciate your prayers for our second mission.