Over 80% of houses in the town of Onagawa were destroyed in the tsunami of March 2011. In order to better protect people from tsunamis in the future, huge areas of the town are being filled in with soil before it will be rebuilt. Mountains are literally being flattened in order to create new neighborhoods higher up. We have been coming to Onagawa to reach out to the people for over a year now. It is amazing to witness such a historic development unfolding up close. One of the first structures to be rebuilt in the center of town is the main train station. Right now, the only train station is Urashuku, at the entrance of the town. Trains coming from Ishinomaki will be going further into town once the new station is completed in the spring of 2015. The train station is being designed by the well-known Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. Ban also designed a neighborhood of temporary housing units in Onagawa. We recently went up on a hill to get a better view of the construction site surrounding the new downtown area. The new station should be built somewhere in the center of the area visible here:
It is exciting to see the progress being made. Not too long ago, these valleys were filled with debris and the horrible destruction was still clearly visible. It is our desire for the people of Onagawa to not only have new physical foundations in their town, but also new spiritual and relational foundations in their hearts.