I’m not quite sure where to start, It was an amazing priveldge to go to Japan and sit with the people who’d literally lost everything.
Our aim as Iris Relief 2nd response team, was literally to go and love people, bring joy, hope and encouragement.
As mentioned in my last post, we went on like a ‘treasure hunt’ that lead us to the first shelter, they welcomed us so much, we decided to really pour into that place. We visited 4 times, they had 42 families living there. These people literally had nothing, as everyone who was able was either living with another family, or renting an apartment. We went
and spent time setting and listening to the adults, playing with the kids, we handed out flowers to do a ‘memorial’ moment and threw a birthday party for all those who had birthdays in March, April, May, this included sushi, cake, easter egg hunt and dancing mascots!!! By out last visit there, the adults initiated hugs with us (not Japanese culture) and as we left I felt like I was leaving family behind!
The stories we heard were heartbreaking, the little girl above, had been at school, the whole school assembled on the roof and she literally saw the whole thing happen, the tsunami wash away the town.
Seeing the devastation was nothing I could get my head around, one moment we’d be driving through completely normal landscape, then suddenly, the surroundings would be covered in debris, cars on top of each other, boats in land. We took a drive into one of the areas like this and prayed as to where we should go, the words we got were warehouses and men in blue uniforms, so we headed to the devastated warehouses, on one of the rows of collapsed buildings we saw of team of men in blue working on the rubble, we stopped the cars, got out our starbucks coffee sachets and hot water to offer them coffee, immediately the bosses wife responded to us, willing accepted prayer, then Jesus, the workmen, stopped sat down and talked to us, many were volunteers from the mountains who’d come to help. The men sat with the team and shared. The place stank, and was in ruins, businesses in wrecks, and we were able to see Jesus pour out His love on these men.
We spent one evening in Sendai city centre hanging outside the bars, a few of us dressed in the mascot outfits as monkey, tiger and gorilla….to bring some smiles, and we just offered to pray for people and gave prophetic words, again Jesus showed up, people received healing, physically and emotionally, some received Jesus and we were able to bring joy and smiles and encouragement to many people whose lives had been completely shaken.
My time in Japan was life changing, for me one of the most precious things was just sitting listening to peoples stories, one old lady shared how she’d been in the shelter 6 weeks, yet nobody talked about what happened.
Photo’s by myself & Ben Aijian & for more on Iris Relief to Japan, see http://irisrelief.org