And here come the little ones!

2 comments Written on May 24th, 2011     
Filed under: earthquake
I’m back in Iwate again. This is my fifth trip to Tohoku since the earthquake and my team mates this time are two fellow pastors from the NSKK (Japan Covenant). We have linked up with a team of ten from our sister denomination, the Seiyaku church (Swedish Japan Covenant). And this week we are also working together with another team of three form Hokkaido and one from Gunma.

Monday morning I drove to the very heart of downtown Tokyo and picked up my team mates at Tokyo station. We headed north on the expressway and made a stop in Sendai at the Baptist seminary where we had a chance to meet up once again with my friend Pastor Moriya, a fellow minister and educator who has been thrown into the very midst of this national disaster. For those of us who come from outside the disaster area, thinking we might be able to help, he gives us much to ponder.

Lunch at a roadside service area

With Pastor Moriya at the Sendai Baptist Seminary

We reached our destination, the Morioka Bible Baptist Church around 6pm and met up with the other team members. We went out for dinner at a local greasy chopstick joint where we got lots and lots of food for very little money!!

Plenty of food for all!

Happy, not hungry!

About the time we got back to the church the last of our c0-workers from the Swedish Japan Covenant showed up and Pastor Kondo gave us a brief orientation.

250 km of coastline and only 8 churches! (coastal Iwate Prefecture)

After a great night’s sleep at the church we got up bright and early to get ready for another big day.  We had breakfast together and then loaded all the supplies into our cars.


Breakfast at the church

Loading up at Morioka

Next was the two hour drive out to Miyako where we grabbed a quick lunch and then started reorganizing and loading supplies into our cars for an afternoon trip to Taro.


Pastor Kondo briefing us on our trip to Taro

Loaded up!

Once in Taro we split up into small groups and headed to clusters of homes that weren’t destroyed by the Tsunami. These people may be the lucky ones but things are actually really tough for them. They have to deal with classic symptoms of “survivor’s guilt” being surrounded by complete devastation. There still are no stores in operation in Taro and many lost their cars to the tsunami. They are cut off and don’t feel welcome at the local evac center where all the residents who lost their homes are staying. Our supplies appeared to be quite an encouragement to all of them.


A team mate talks with local residents who are thrilled to receive all these goods!

Stuff for everyone!

Soon it was time to head back to base camp, get ready for dinner and then head out for a bath.


Candlelight (flashlight?) Dinner

By now you may be wondering what the title for this post is all about! “Here Come the Little Ones!” No, I’m not talking about aftershocks… Last night we learned from Pastor Kondo and his wife is pregnant! They just found out in the last week or two. They already have two beautiful little children and now will have three. The ironic thing is that Pastor Kondo has been working harder than ever these past two months… and the t-shirt he was wearing today said it all. The picture was of a worker ant. The text said something like, “No rest, no fun, no sex, all work, every day, death!” Apparently it was a tongue in cheek gift from his co-worker and partner in relief work, Pastor Otsuka. The irony goes without saying! Then this afternoon in Taro one of the women who came to get some food and supplies was obviously pregnant so I helped her look for the smallest sized diapers. I asked when she was expecting the baby and she said, “It could be later today, or tomorrow!”

Within 24 hours I had the privilege of meeting two women, both expecting “post-tsunami” babies. I guess I just wasn’t quite ready to think about the generation who will be born after the tsunami, and yet they are clearly on their way, and some of them have already arrived! Imagine what it will be like for Pastor Kondo’s family. They experienced this life changing disaster with two little children. I’m not sure if their 3 year old daughter will remember it at all, but she will always know that she lived through it and their 5 year old boy will have clear memories. This disaster will probably be one of the defining moments in their who family’s lives, and yet there will be one who came afterwards…

And then consider the woman in Taro… She and her family have been as close to death and destruction as one can be without being swallowed up. They have witnessed the complete destruction of their town firsthand, and yet the little one she is carrying will only know about it from photos and stories. Born in the midst of the aftermath, to a mother who couldn’t have been any closer to it,  and yet… born after the waves of death and destruction.

Life can throw us into incredible chaos and confusion; sometimes making it feel as though time has ground to a halt; and yet time marches on and life continues to be renewed. I pray for all the women in Tohoku who are welcoming new children into the world in the midst of unimaginable circumstances. I pray for health, for peace of mind and heart, for stability within their families, and for roofs over their heads and food on the table.

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2 comments “And here come the little ones!”

Dear Jim, I will say that you have a fervent heart for Japan. And love the nation from high (spiritually with the Lord above) and within (being with them)!

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Life continues even after destruction; after night there is always day. I hope these little ones will not be damaged by this experience in their early years. Thanks again Jim for your stories. The food parts make me hungry!

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