Today our team split up into three groups. Six of us went to a temporary housing area and did carpentry work. The government supplied temporary housing units are pretty simple but need people’s basic needs. When they first moved in many of the residents had almost nothing besides the clothes on their back and whatever was given to them. But now that a year and almost four months have passed many of them have started to accumulate things. Naturally that kind of stuff takes up space, and space is one thing there isn’t a lot of in temporary housing units. So volunteers in our network have been doing a lot of carpentry work, and by far the most common request is for more shelves in the closets. Today our group built and installed shelves, cupboards and book cases in several units. While we weren’t taking a lot of time to talk in much depth with the residents, we did get the chance to actually be in several of their homes as we installed what we had made. Once again I was deeply moved by the cheerfulness and joy that characterize these people.
Another group from our team spent the morning shopping and baking cakes. In the afternoon they visited yet another temporary housing area and did crafts with the elderly women. Even though many of our team members don’t speak Japanese they found that something as simple as making a lanyard key chain can often lead to wonderful encounters and friendships.
The third team stayed at base camp and did general maintenance and carpentry work. The network has only had this base camp for a few weeks but it clearly needs some love and attention as it was severely damaged by the tsunami and hasn’t been lived in since. By the time we came home in the afternoon there was a new floor in the entrance area, several new sliding doors between rooms and even some crown molding on the ceiling! Tomorrow we will once again be split up into several teams as we seek more opportunities to share Christ’s love with the people of Ofunato.
Tomorrow will be our last work day in Tohoku! Please pray for safety and for divinely inspired encounters.