Tohoku

Sorry this post is long over-due.  It’s been difficult lately without internet at my apartment.  But those are complaints for another post.  😛

We worked with a Christian relief organization called CRASH.  Their base was in Ichinoseki, and we worked in neighboring Kesenuma, one of the hardest hit cities in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.  10% of those reported dead or missing are from this area.  A lot of these you may have already seen on Facebook, but for those of you who are not Facebook stalkers…  😀

(Thanks to various people, mostly Brian Tom and Peter Oh, for their pictures)

This area used to be a large fishing market. Now, high tide sees it covered in several feet of water.

One particular neighborhood, nothing left but the foundations of the house. This area was actually cleaner than most.

Our project was to spread a substance called Effective Microorganism or EM (which, incidentally, also gets the reward for most ambiguous name ever…).  Anyway, EM is like compost in liquid form.  We spread it over tsunami-affected areas in order to combat mold, bacteria, and most especially the smell of rotting that hangs over these areas.  We worked with a variety of other volunteer groups from the Kesenuma volunteer center, all of them Japanese: retirees, students, religious organizations….  There was even a group of Scientologists permanently assigned to the EM project, and by the end of two weeks we had all become friends.

Truck with tank full of EM and power hose for spraying.

After a hard day of work spreading EM

With other volunteers on the EM project

Evenings we hung out and relaxed at the Ichinoseki base.  This was an awesome time of fellowship with our Pioneers team, other individual volunteers working with Crash, and especially the Crash staff working at or visiting the Ichinoseki base (who were also the only other girls).  We also had morning devotions and debriefs every night which included American-style praise time.  FANTABULOUS.

I was so blessed in my conversations with the Crash staff.  So cool to see people using their gifts to serve God and their people.  However, they all looked rather stressed and tired, so they’re definitely in need of prayer!

With Emiko-san (aka Mago-chan), expert of finding food on sale. 😀

A couple of the days we also hung out with a bunch of high school students with whom a previous Crash volunteer team had started building relationships.  It was fun to hang out and play games, and a couple of them have also been expressing some interest in Christianity so def a lot of potential there.  😀

In short, there was a lot that happened in Tohoku that I was not expecting.  I never would have expected the awesome relationships we built, the kinds of people we talked to, or the ways we were able to encourage the Crash staff members.  Though sometimes I did feel like I wanted to knock down a couple walls or something, I think I can be confident that what happened in Kesenuma was what God wanted to happen.

Look out for more stories soon.  😀

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Categories: Lessons Learned, Pictures
  1. October 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    wow, learned a lot from your post. when sungjae saw the picture of you, he opened his mouth really wide too. 🙂

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