Workers visit devastated Japanese communities

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Struck down but not destroyed

An MB Mission story

How do you respond when disaster strikes your friends or family? The recent earthquakes and tsunamis that pummeled Japan were devastating for millions of children, men and women. Yet, for Wendy Eros, MB missionary to Japan, they were also an opportunity. 

The group arrived after driving for 10 hours, but there was no time to rest. They immediately went to work at the Japan International Food for the Hungry distribution centre in Sendai. Sorting through unending boxes of donated items, they began creating order from chaos. Shell-shocked families came in to pick out some clothes and household supplies.

Driving through Ishinomaki, the women were speechless. The roads were vacant. One elderly Japanese woman stood still, overwhelmed by the rubble. “As we drove we prayed out loud that God would comfort the people here in the north,” says Eros. 

In Ojika Penninsula only two houses remain out of 65. There is nothing left except a small school up the hill that was high enough to escape the tsunami. 62 people currently live in that school.

The second day, Eros and her friends joined 100 other volunteers (mostly Christian) in a massive, city-wide clean-up effort. Mr. Takahashi’s grass lawn was covered by beach sand. The women worked hard raking, loosening and hoeing the sand. 

Later they swept it, bent over a short broom. After several hours of tough labor, the owner was thrilled to be able to see his grass again. “We were encouraged to see a rainbow forming in the sky behind us,” says Eros. “God was watching over us!”

Of the homes left standing, most are unlivable. In Mr. Matsumoto’s home, the water rose to the se

cond level.Floorboards needed to be removed and lime spread in the basement. Walls were covered in filthy layers of mud, seaweed and sand. Even the bathroom was filthy. “It took almost five hours," says Eros. "I was glad I had an extra toothbrush to scrub with!” These acts of compassion really impacted the homeowners. Some had never received this kind of unconditional, practical love.

Eros and her team returned home safely. They now ask for your prayers. The disaster is by no means over. Eros says, “Seeing the devastation first-hand was like watching a movie with 3-D special effects! Yet it’s real, not fiction."  

Please pray for families working to rebuild their lives. Pray for safety for volunteers who continue to help sacrificially. Finally, pray that God’s heart of love will continue to shine through the work of the MB Mission team members – Wendy Eros, Doris Goertz and the other MB churches in Japan.

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