Monday, June 11, 2012

One step at a time

As we have seen this new church plant here in Hiragishi start from nothing and gradually begin to take shape, it has very much been a case of one step at a time.  Recently, that phrase ('step by step' or 'ippo ippo' in Japanese) has taken on a new significance for those of us working with OMF in Japan.  Around a year ago OMF took the decision to start a relief work in an area of Iwate Prefecture which had been devastated by the tsunami.  Amazingly, part of a building was available for rent.  An experienced missionary couple were appointed to the work, moving to the area last September.  Japanese staff workers were also provided - a couple moving to Iwate to serve full-time for a couple of years.  Much has happened since that time but this blog is about a recent development.  A site was identified in a town called Yamada which suffered extensive damage by the tsunami and by fires afterwards.  Over the last few weeks a temporary structure (called a 'super house') has been put in place which will serve as a cafe and meeting place for local people.  The building is topped off with the new logo - 'ippo ippo' with accompanying feet!  Just last week a simple opening ceremony was held attended by the previous owner of the land, a representative from the town hall and others who had helped in different ways with the building project.  Customers have already been in to the cafe - to enjoy what is on offer but also just to meet with others, chat and be listened to.  The present phase of this relief work will last for another year or so yet and we trust that this cafe will be well used over coming months.  This week Kaori (who normally works in the OMF office in Sapporo) is in Yamada helping in these early days of the cafe.  Next month an OMF team from Hokkaido (led by David and with Daniel and Matthew too) will go to Iwate to help in whatever ways we can for the time we will be there.  We don't know yet quite what that will involve but look forward to seeing and being part of (even for a short time) all that God is doing in these days among the people of the coastal communities in Iwate.

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