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It was good to know that on Easter Sunday 2013 there were several churches in Ishinomaki (which did not even exist before the tsunami) gathering to worship God! Although it was freezing and snowing (which prevented an egg hunt for the kids) and we had an earthquake, it was a lovely Easter in 石巻!

Many in Ishinomaki and Onagawa were blessed with a visit from a professional, Christian musician named Tomoko from Osaka – she gave many performances at local temporary housing units and other places. Her wonderful concerts gave Christian volunteers a chance to reconnect with folks and enjoy fun coffee and chat times after each concert.

Shots from concerts

Volunteers chatting with residents

I was thankful that I stayed for a few hours after one of the concerts to chat with this sweet lady who lost 27 relatives in the tsunami. I had met her a few times and she just had the sweetest spirit! After the concert as we sat on this bench, I did not ask for any information but she proceeded to tell me what happened to her on that terrible day. Her home was located far in the mountains of Onagawa so it was not washed away by the tsunami, but the roof collapsed after the earthquake. She was not able to walk for a whole year due to a severe leg injury, but now she is able to walk again and profoundly thankful! She told me many sad stories of how friends and family members were lost without crying at all. I cried and hugged her, but I imagined that she’s already cried herself buckets of tears. She has a very open spirit and if you ask permission to pray for her she will not hesitate! I can’t wait to visit her again.

Tomoko and volunteers

Japanese people are deeply moved by music and it is always a joy to see them taking such pleasure in hearing familiar songs. I especially enjoyed hearing “Hana ha saku (flowers will bloom),” a beautiful song produced by NHK and written to encourage the victims of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. This is my new favorite song!