Missions In Japan’s Most Ravaged Regions

Comforting Japan’s Tsunami Refugees

Thank you for your prayers. TCU volunteer center has sent two teams to the disaster stricken areas during this spring break. The first team helped with construction work from March 12th to 16th in Hachiman, Ishinomaki city. The second team volunteered from the 20th to 24th in Nasu, Tochigi where CRASH Japan has one of its base stations. Their activities included visits to temporary housings.

Ochakko House

The first team volunteered in a place called “Ochakko House Oasis” located in Hachiman. They stayed at the construction site to assist in building a new hall. “Ochakko House Oasis” is a cafe open to the community every Saturday and Sunday. It is also a venue for gospel music lessons held in April. The team helped in the construction of a hall which will be used for various events.

Visits to Temporary Housings

The second team operated a “mobile cafe” in Kitsuneda temporary housing located in Miharu, Koriyama city. They and people from a local church had fellowship with the residents. More than 30 people joined the fellowship and took a picture together as they closed the event. The friendly residents even saw off the team. The team also gave massages to the residents, and especially the international students were able to have a great time with the children. The second team also visited a temporary housing in Namie, Fukushima city. It is the largest temporary housing located in Fukushima. They delivered handmade socks to each household. These precious socks had been handmade by volunteers in Germany with much encouragement and sympathy for the Japanese victims. People in the temporary housing are still facing difficulties adjusting to their new lives, and many of them confine themselves in their houses. Nevertheless, they enjoyed talking with the volunteer team.

CRASH Japan Operation Safe

Through CRASH Japan, we have been involved in a program called “Operation Safe.” This is a program focused on children’s emotional care. It also provides opportunities for children to listen to messages from the Bible while they enjoy activities. It is held every second and fourth Saturday, and we regularly send TCU students to this program.

Visits To Temporary Housing

The second team operated a “mobile cafe” in Kitsuneda temporary housing located in Miharu, Koriyama city. They and people from a local church had fellowship with the residents. More than 30 people joined the fellowship and took a picture together as they closed the event. The friendly residents even saw off the team. The team also gave massages to the residents, and especially the international students were able to have a great time with the children. The second team also visited a temporary housing in Namie, Fukushima city. It is the largest temporary housing located in Fukushima. They delivered handmade socks to each household. These precious socks had been handmade by volunteers in Germany with much encouragement and sympathy for the Japanese victims. People in the temporary housing are still facing difficulties adjusting to their new lives, and many of them confine themselves in their houses. Nevertheless, they enjoyed talking with the volunteer team.

Ochakko House

The first team volunteered in a place called “Ochakko House Oasis” located in Hachiman. They stayed at the construction site to assist in building a new hall. “Ochakko House Oasis” is a cafe open to the community every Saturday and Sunday. It is also a venue for gospel music lessons held in April. The team helped in the construction of a hall which will be used for various events.

Information about the Volunteer Center

The Volunteer Center started to work immediately after the 3/11 earthquake. The first team was dispatched for the period: 3/23/2011~3/29/2011. The second team: 3/28~4/2, the third team: 3/31-4/5 etc. A total of 7 teams went immediately after the earthquake, and the Volunteer Center has continued to send more teams. 2011 ?13 teams dispatched. 9 teams dispatched and 3 private The Volunteer Center is run by 4 members. senior; Shuji Toyoshima junior; Mitsuko Suzuki sophomore: Makiba Nishioka Graduate, Freshman: Yuki Inou The members are switched every year, and we are now the third group to run the Volunteer Center.

TCU volunteer center has sent two teams to the disaster stricken areas during this spring break. The first team helped with construction work from March 12th to 16th in Hachiman, Ishinomaki city. The second team volunteered from the 20th to 24th in Nasu, Tochigi where CRASH Japan has one of its base stations. Their activities included visits to temporary housings.

The Kids Camp hosted by Higashi-Sendai Church

The camp was held for the fourth time in the 1st~4th of April 2013 at Akiu Grand Hotel. The camp was hosted for the children of Nobiru Elementary School, which is located in an area which suffered immensely from the Tsunami. 60-70 children attended, and the total number of people involved including the staff was 107. 3 students from TCU went to support the project. The students were responsible for “TCU time” in which they did a play titled “The Three Trees.” ?Testimony: Maiko Hoshino The Kids Camp was held for 3 days in order that the children who had suffered from the disaster could experience the love of God.

Most of the children knew each other from school. However, they had never experienced church. What initially surprised me was the size of the event. 2 or 3 buses were needed for transport. It was like a school trip. I became the counselor for 11 children in the first and second grade. In the first night, a child said to me, “I can’t sleep.” So I said “Let’s sleep together!” Then we slept together in the same bed. As I remembered that many children had lost their parents and were subsequently lonely and worried, I realized that merely being nearby was a great comfort for the children. Indeed, there was little more that I could do.

Higashi Sendai Church Kids Camp at Gassan Pole Pole Farm

The three-day camp was held at a facility called Gassan Pole Pole Farm in Yamagata. Its participants were children from Nobiru Elementary School, which had been devastated by the tsunami. A little less than 60 kids were gathered to enjoy climbing and games. The TCU volunteers assisted with special worship and counseling. Since right after the earthquake, Higashi Sendai Church has been leading a project called Sakura House, which provides children, who have lost their homes or parks, with a place to play and get help with their study, so the church has gained trust in Nobiru district. The pastor told that, while spreading the Gospel is an important work, what needs to be done first is to continue faithful interaction with the children to contribute to their healthy growth, in the way that their hearts will be enriched so that they will be able to face the loss of their families and homes. The TCU team was able to witness the church’s wonderful work in caring for the children with patience and sincerity.

We are thankful for your support in prayer. The Volunteer Center will continue to send out volunteers from TCU with the motto, “We will not forget.” 2 years and 3 months have already passed after the earthquake, but there continues to be areas needing vast amounts of work. Some of the population is under the impression that they have been abandoned. We must not forget about these people. We must first remember them in our prayers. I personally cannot forget the words of a boy at the Higashi-Sendai camp said; “Why are we still living in temporally housing?” Please pray that the Volunteer Center will be a group that understands the mind of the victims. And more than anything else, please pray for the victims themselves.