"I WILL REMAIN CONFIDENT IN THIS I WILL SEE THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD..."
these are lyrics of a song sung by New Hope Oahu Church in Hawaii a week after the earthquake/tsunami, and they really struck me as i listened to them yesterday during my Day with the Lord.
it's been a week since we were evacuated to Kyoto. we still don't know when we can go back to Tokyo.
we are in an interesting situation. we HAVE been affected by the earthquake and tsunami in many ways- emotionally and physically. we experienced the quake, we have been sent away from our homes, we don't know when we can get back. we have been taken from everything we knew, our friends, our ministry, our students. our hearts break every day for the Japanese suffering in Miyagi prefecture. we've lived here in Japan for several months now, and this is not just our job but our LIVES. our very existence. everything we do from when we rise to when we sleep is based around our ministry, around how we can serve the Japanese. we feel what they feel. but we are also foreigners. even though i'm half-Japanese, and i feel that these are my people, i am still American. we cannot fully understand this tragedy. we cannot fully empathize. we felt the quake, but we still have electricity, we still have food and water, we still have homes in Tokyo. over 400,000 people have lost their homes. over 9,700 are dead, over 13,000 are still missing. we can never truly understand.
but we are still here. so what are we to do? in Sendai? in Tokyo? in Kyoto?
not gonna lie, it has been frustrating not knowing when we can go back to Tokyo; however, it hasn't been as bad as i would have expected. perhaps Japan is mellowing me, or i'm at last learning to accept that i have no control over anything and i have to just let God handle things. it is difficult though. we are forced to sit here in Kyoto and attempt to decipher what we should believe from the news, anxiously checking different news sites and talking with people still in Tokyo to try and formulate what is really going on. i think the most frustrating thing is that we KNOW that Tokyo is safe, and yet until we get the ok from CCC in the States, we have no choice but to stay here. something exciting in all this- we found out that not only are 5 Christian men working on the nuclear reactors, but Naoyoshi Sato, the man heading up the new cooling projects, is also a Christian. please pray for these brothers- that God would give them wisdom, strength, and opportunity to share the Truth with their fellow workers. please also pray that God would place more Christians in Sendai and Miyagi prefecture to help with the relief effort. we have signed up with CrashJapan ( www.crashjapan.com ) to go serve as a team in Sendai as soon as we get back to Tokyo. CCC is actually looking to partner with CrashJapan in the future and send teams to Sendai regularly, as this is going to be a long and arduous process of rebuilding.
so what have we been doing this week in Kyoto?
last Friday we did laundry, explored, got groceries, and had a pretty chill day. we had a prayer meeting for Japan, Naoyoshi Sato, the 5 of the workers at the nuclear plants are also Christians, and the reactor situation. Saturday morning we went to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its 10,000 torii (shrine gates) that create a 4 km trail/hike. it's also in Memoirs of a Geisha.
after that the KCCC stinters (kat, esther and dave) left to go to Korea (their parents were worried about them staying in Japan). it was tough seeing them go but hopefully they'll be back in a couple weeks. that evening we went to the Hanatoro Festival (flowers and lanterns)- it was in a huge park/shrine and had lots of food, flowers and lanterns.
Sunday we took the train to Osaka to go to church at Suita Bible Gospel Church (some of the Osaka CCC stinters and students go there). we had lunch at the church and then did some sightseeing in Osaka. we went to Umera and rode the gigantic ferris wheel on top of a building (and had a dance party on the ferris wheel). it was pretty cool.
Monday we had a STINT meeting and brainstormed some ways we could serve and do ministry here in Kyoto. the rest of the day we did admin stuff, answered emails, caught up with supporters, etc. Tuesday we actually went to Kyoto University and was our first real "campus day" since school ended at the end of January. God really blessed us with a great day- we were all a little nervous since we haven't done random outreach in a long time, but all of us had encouraging stories to tell at the end of the day. myself, lyndsey and michelle found a table of 4 girls and they allowed us to sit with them and we had almost a 2 hour conversation with them and got to share some of Gospel! we got their contact info and will hopefully be able to hang out with them before we leave! please pray for more opportunities to talk with Yukari, Kaori, Sumire and Mariko!
after campus we spent the evening walking around and exploring Kyoto. we got to meet some high school students who were raising money for Sendai outside the train station and talk with them for a bit. Wednesday was our monthly Day With The Lord- i spent the morning listening to a sermon, writing in my journal and skyping with my dad for his birthday. after that i explored and found a shrine that has a 3 legged gate (all other gates have 2 legs) - it is supposed to represent the creation god Amenonakumishi, "God in the Glorious Center of Heaven" who has 3 parts, or is made up of 3 gods? it's a little unclear, as different people say different things. i found a rock to sit on and read some Bible, prayed a lot, and then actually stood in front of the gate for awhile and read the Bible out loud. figured that since the Word of God has power, it wouldn't hurt to speak some Truth in that place.
then i went to a cafe mike, lyndsey and aj had found- it was so cute! and the guy who runs it, Hiro, is super nice. i got the most delicious chocolate cake and chai, journaled and read 1 Timothy.
i actually went back to the cafe today just to get more chai and cake and read some from Captivating.
please continue to pray that we can find ways to serve here in Kyoto and that God would open doors for us to do ministry (as well as give us patience to stay in Kyoto until we're allowed to go back to Tokyo). please pray for Naoyoshi Sato and the other workers at the nuclear reactor plants, and that God would provide those in Miyagi/Sendai with heat, electricity, food, water and shelter. also please continue to pray for the Japanese- that their hearts would be softened and opened by this tragedy and that they would realize their need for a Savior.
if you would like to donate or even come to serve in Sendai, please go to www.crashjapan.com
"I will give them a heart to know me, that I AM the Lord. They will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart." - Jeremiah 24:7
Lord may You bring revival to this country!