TSUNAMI RECOVERY MINISTRYOn March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunamis devastated northeastern coastal Japan. The tsunami waves caused about 20,000 fatalities along a 300 mile stretch of the Pacific Ocean coastline.
In response, Dale and Ann moved to Sendai during 2012 in order to serve among tsunami displaced people and those who remained in their tsunami devastated towns. Sendai was where Dale had lived for his early elementary school years.
They based their one year of ministry out of Sendai on the concepts of long term sustainability connected with gospel proclamation and church planting. For further information, see Dale's www.japanquake.ca.
ONAGAWA MEGUMI PROJECTBut our most significant tsunami ministry involvement ended up being with the Onagawa Megumi Project in Onagawa town of Miyagi-ken. The Project brings sustainable income, community, dignity, and hope to tsunami displaced women by providing them an opportunity to make and sell handicraft products. It aims to combine tsunami recovery ministry with gospel proclamation.
The Megumi Project is led by ReachGlobal (EFCA) missionary colleagues we have known for years. The EFCCM donated much of its Japan Disaster Fund for the Project’s workshop trailer and the store on the Onagawa Promenade.
MINAMISANRIKUIn the Babanakayama section of Minamisanriku we met the Chiba’s. Their dream was to help rebuild their tsunami devastated community. They encouraged Ann to use her sewing machines purchased for tsunami recovery ministry to make sandbags for the local wakame seaweed growing farmers. Their sandbag suppliers had all gone out of business after the tsunami. So with the help of one visitor and the folks at Musashino Chapel Center, Ann oversaw the production of about 1000 sandbags over 6 months.
Cafe CanapeThe Chiba’s also dreamed of establishing a cafe and overnight lodging using a few mobile trailer houses. They hoped their cafe would attract locals back to the town, including young people and children. Many of them had moved away to temporary housing locations in the area. They were able to open Cafe Canape in 2013.
When we attended Kaoru and Kanae Chiba’s wedding in April 2013 we gave them a large dish cupboard for their new cafe. It was a great use of part of the EFCCM Japan Disaster Fund because it encouraged Kanae as she set up her cafe kitchen.
SENDAI TEMPORARY HOUSINGTemporary housing mobile units were set up throughout the tsunami devastated areas of northeastern Japan. We connected with several of these in the Sendai area. In one temporary housing center we joined with Sendai Izumi Gospel Church in helping resident children with their homework. In another, Ann led quilting and craft classes, bringing fun, smiles, and laughter to the tsunami displaced ladies living there.
The government provided rental subsidies for tsunami displaced people who wanted to rent apartments instead of living in temporary mobile units. Sendai Izumi Church introduced Ann to several ladies living in such apartments. And so Ann taught a series of quilting classes to a few ladies in their temporary apartments. At the end of her series of classes Ann gave the ladies their own sewing machines so they could continue to quilt on their own. This was another excellent use of the EFCCM Japan Disaster Fund.
SENDAI IZUMI GOSPEL CHURCHDuring our year of tsunami recovery ministry based in Sendai it was a joy to come alongside Larry and Bella Mori as they planted Sendai Izumi Gospel Church. Many of our contacts in temporary housing units came through them. And the Lord gave them unprecedented opportunities to share the true meaning of Christmas in a number of nearby community centers every December. Natural disasters can provide unique opportunities to share Christ.
We were able to help the Mori’s take a home assignment for several months by temporarily leading the church in their absence. The Mori-Little team had a great year of ministry in 2012!