So much has been happening during the past two days that it feels more like a week’s worth of events! Yesterday our group of volunteers performed songs at two temporary housing units and it was absolutely wonderful! I played the keyboard for our band and we sang a set of nine songs, half Christian and half well-known Japanese songs. We were not the only group making rounds – two other Christian groups visited other temporary housing units and said it went extremely well! After playing music there also time to drink tea and talk with the people.
At the second place, an older woman started crying when we sang “You Were Born to Be Loved.” That made us all cry, too, and it was hard for me to play the song through my tears. We were deeply grateful to be used by God to bring smiles to people who might be feeling very lonely and forgotten.
Singing songs with folks who survived the tsunami
A Christian volunteer singing with two elderly women
Beth befriending two ladies
Temporary housing unit #1
Temporary housing unit #2
This morning we attended the Be One worship service and it was an extremely emotional time. A woman who often attends the service arrived wearing black as she is in mourning for her mother and sister (who was seven-months pregnant when she died). She shared that she is really suffering thinking about her loved ones’ final moments on earth as the waters rose higher and higher. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room while she was sharing. I was thankful that the other missionaries shared with her many comforting words and I saw her laughing and smiling later in the day.
Matthias and I were really thankful that our young friend (M.) came to both the morning and afternoon events and even invited a friend to the afternoon concert! M’s friend lost her grandfather in the tsunami so we hope and pray God used the music and testimonies to encourage M’s friend. M herself seems very open and we hope and pray we will have many more opportunities to spend time with her. We spent the evening with M at our friend’s cafe and had a really fun time.
In the afternoon, we attended a large concert attended by over 100 people. There was lots of lovely music and four people shared their personal stories. One man shared the story of losing his beloved wife in the tsunami. There were many tears, but at the same time, there was also a sense that God was there with us in a very powerful way.
A shot of the crowd
The beautiful, talented Migiwa-san performed a set of songs including “Amazing Grace” and songs she’d written herself.
The Kozawas shared their beautiful testimony of how God gave them complete peace when Mrs. Kozawa suffered a terrible accident last year. She lost her right eye, but she shared that “God is keeping my eye for me until I get to heaven.” She was positively glowing with joy as she shared how she had complete peace through the entire ordeal.
This man shared the story of losing his wife in the tsunami. He is a very gifted speaker and although folks were crying as they listened, many were encouraged through his heartfelt words. His daughter is standing at his side and through her tears she read a few words from a book that has comforted them both.
Throughout the weekend, it has been truly AWESOME to see so many Christian volunteers joining hands to bring hope and comfort to the people of Tohoku. There is a real sense of unity and solidarity in the work we are all doing here. We are so thankful that God is using His people to display His glory in the midst of great sorrow.
Please pray for Japan tomorrow. Speaking personally, we can sense the extreme heaviness that is descending over all of northeast Japan. A women who lost her 3-year old in the tsunami wrote me a message this morning: “My daughter hasn’t been able to sleep for two nights. She keep remembering the tsunami, how cold she was, how scary it was, how painful it was…please pray for my family.” People of God, pray for Japan!