Thursday, July 7, 2011

Impressions of Iwate - Day 2

This morning we loaded up the car with bags of vegetables and fruit. Many people in the temporary housing or in less accessible areas simply cannot get hold of such things. Our first stop was a temporary housing area outside the town of Taro. The pastor had been only once before and said people there might be much more reserved. There was vast destruction in that town and many lost their lives. People there had also had to endure television crews and people who came for so-called 'disaster tourism'. We went and started going round the houses. People were happy to receive. Some, especially older men, were hanging around and eager to chat. We were able to spend time listening, chatting, seeking to encourage and simply being other people around for a short time. The people were grateful that we had come even though we had done relatively little. We moved on to some other areas in the town, delivering the bags of vegetables in more remote areas. Once again people were so happy to receive these. The pastor knew of various people in these houses - he was keen to introduce to David to one who was a relative of a pastor he knows in Sapporo. What we witnessed next though was sobering indeed. We drove through the area of Taro which bore the brunt of the tsunami. Mist was gently rolling in from the sea. It was an eerie sight. Just a vast area where houses had been washed away. Many were new-built houses. People thought the thick tsunami-proof wall would protect them - but no one reckoned on a 40m high wave. The whole area looked like a war zone - tidied up to some extent but just the remains of buildings razed to the ground, other buildings standing wrecked, fences mangled, piles of wreckage everywhere, the sea wall crumbled. Some 200 perished in that small town. The afternoon saw us move on to another temporary housing area where the pastor had visited a few times already. We had lots of items which were spread out on a large sheet of tarpaulin and people gathered round to receive what they needed or wanted - anything from oranges to underwear to pots to things for children. Soon it was pretty much all gone (some Bibles were taken too) and we had some great chats with the people - again they were all so grateful. Later we were able to linger some more with a few people. One man spoke movingly about all he had lost and how people here need 'kokoro no kea' - literally care of the heart. When David asked what people wanted most, he simply said community, people to talk to, people to be with. What a need there is. What an opportunity there is for people who love Jesus to follow his example and just go to where hurting people are. This man said that from now on is the time when people really need the 'heart care'. We need to pray that many would be available to go and be there, people like the pastor of the church in Miyako, people who will be prepared to move to these areas and just be with the people, listen to their stories, share in their pain and show them the love of Jesus. Tomorrow is another day - different again as this time we will be doing a barbecue and having fun and games for children at a local primary school. Watch this space again then.

No comments:

Post a Comment