Our team of four had a good and safe trip over and back to Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture from March 29-31. Our church members and many other people donated lots of goods for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
After arriving in Iwaki, we unloaded most of our supplies at the city drop-off place. The people working there were thankful and polite.
We went on to the Global Mission Chapel where we were warmly welcomed by the pastor and others busily working there unloading goods and making hot meals to take to the evacuation centres. We gave them 2 boxes of mandarines (or mikans as we call them here). They were grateful for fresh fruit.
The pastor was very busy, but he took us upstairs, made coffee for us, and shared about the situation in Iwaki, their current needs, and how we could help in the future. I was very encouraged meeting him and seeing how calm, positive, and cheerful he was in the midst of a disaster and relief effort. The people at the church were so cheerful, treating us like family after meeting us for just a short while.
The church has been buying hot spring water and taking big tubs of it to the evacuation shelters where they bathe peoples' feet. While their feet are soaking in the warm water and being massaged, the evacuees open up to the church people and share their stories and let out their hurt and grief. They also give shoulder massage as a way to care for those in the shelters. In addition to the warm meals they provide, these are the practical ways the church has been able to minister to those in the shelters.
The next morning we visited the coast to see for ourselves some of the damage. I was shocked to see huge concrete blocks, cars, houses, etc., swept away or smashed up.
On the way back to the church, we saw cars lined up for kilometres for petrol at the few stations opened. Some places didn't open till 1 p.m., but the cars were all lining up at 10 a.m.! We gave the church the rest of our petrol (approximately 45 litres) to help with all the delivery they do.
We were very thankful to God for leading us there and connecting us with His people. We pray we have been of some support to the people in Fukushima. Now we are praying about what we can do next and where to minister.
The YWAM Azumino team.