a ministry of WorldVenture
By Paul Sadler - FEB International Partner Missionary — Sendai, Japan
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
After packing supplies, we set out at 8 am, knowing we will be traveling into what was the eye of the storm. While we will be a safe distance from the nuclear problems at the power plant in Fukushima, we will be in the heart of relief operations in Miyagi where the earthquake hit and the tsunami wreaked such havoc.
We are careful to fill up, hearing reports that as we near the northern edge of our prefecture, gas and other supplies are as hard to get there as they were in Tsukuba in the opening days of the disaster. In Iwaki we travel half an hour off the highway to a church we have heard is trying to provide for its community but has itself run out of supplies. We meet the pastor’s wife there and give her some rice and fruit, only to learn that CRASH has arrived with a full truck of supplies the previous day. This we learn is one of the big challenges of a disaster like this: logistics. Everybody is trying to respond to the various calls for help but it is almost impossible to coordinate the response seamlessly. The situation on the ground is changing constantly and so it’s a real challenge to get what people need when they need it. Despite this, the pastor’s wife is glad to receive the additional supplies and in the 20 minutes we are there speaking with her, two elderly people come by and are welcome in a friendly voice and given a bag of food necessities with the repeated appeal, “As soon as you run out you come right back okay?” God provides.
Our job done, we get back on the road and head north to meet up with another missionary. There are five of us in all (one of the team had to back out at the last minute due to his wife’s health) traveling in three cars stuffed full with supplies. The highway has been repaired but there are still lots of rolling bumps in the road that didn’t exist three weeks ago. We find an open gas station and are eager to fill up again. This may be our last chance.
Eight hours after setting out, we enter Sendai. It is hard to describe the scene. The river we’re driving beside has a house floating in the middle of it. We enter what looks like a main street and there is garbage piled up everywhere. Cars are over-turned and perched in locations no human could have ever drive them. As we roll down the windows it smells like we’re at the beach, only we’re 4-5 km from the port still. It looks like I’m in a war zone only its water not bullets and bombs that has caused all this damage.
As we arrive at Shiogama Baptist Church, it is a flurry of activity of people arriving back from the day’s relief efforts. In addition to the school supplies, we have shovels and gloves and masks and other tools to aid the teams of people going out to help in the community. We unload supplies and meet with the pastor to plan our activities for the following day.
We head to a nearby cabin where we will stay for the week. No running water and no phone or internet service, but we are glad to have a warm place to stay and quickly try to settle in and prepare a meal for the night. One of the missionaries sets up a tarp for a make-shift out-house but at 5C with a cool wind I secretly hope I won’t have to make any late night visits (alas no such luck!).
Need to get my rest for an important day ahead.
Join us in prayer:
Safe in His Loving Arms,