September 03, 2011

Japan: Moving Forward

Climbing back out of the coastal valley, it is as if the tsunami had not even happened, as if we were in a completely different Japan.  This is what the Japanese church and CRASH also hope for. Buried in the rubble of destroyed homes and broken dreams are tiny seeds planted by volunteers all over Japan, seeds that will transform into a harvest for the Kingdom.

  • Symbol of Hope

    In Sendai, the cross was only thing left standing from the Seaside Bible Chapel, a symbol of hope to everyone in the area.

  • Laughter and Love

    Laughter is a welcome break for people in the midst of the disaster. Toyomi Sanga (right) led a church-based ministry to evacuees.

In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami disaster on March 11, 2011, a permanent road to recovery was formed with the help of caring organizations and passionate young leaders. Part Seven of our story details how the people, and the country, are moving forward out of the darkness and into hope.

Climbing back out of the coastal valley, it is as if the tsunami had not even happened, as if we were in a completely different Japan. A woman was planting her rice crop about 100 yards from utter devastation. As she worked, she buried tiny seeds in hopes that they would transform and produce a great harvest. This is what the Japanese church and CRASH also hope for. Buried in the rubble of destroyed homes and broken dreams are tiny seeds planted by volunteers all over Japan, seeds that will transform into a harvest for the Kingdom.

Yoshi Ehara said that in the early weeks after the earthquake, many of his Christian friends from America were telling him that God was going to use this tragedy for his glory. “Immediately after the quake, I was not that ready to hear those sort of comments. I was still in the stage of mourning and grieving. The amount of people killed was over­whelming,” said Yoshi. “But as the weeks pass by, I am starting to accept it and process what I have seen myself. I have assurance that God is using this as a big opportunity to open Japan.”

A visual symbol of this stands a short distance from the seawall in Sendai, the city closest to the epicenter of the earthquake. Flattened houses and piles of rubble are all that is visible, except for a cross that reaches heavenward – the only portion of the Seaside Chapel left standing after the tsunami rushed in. Benches lined up in front of a makeshift sign suggest this is still a meeting place for followers of Christ; the cross represents the hope of Jesus for all of us.

Out of the rubble God is raising up young leaders, God is allowing seeds of the Gospel to be planted in the hearts of the hurting, and God is bringing together the church in Japan, “for such a time as this.”

-Written by Robert Johnson
-Photography by Robert Johnson

 

[Originally published in TEAMHorizons, Septermber 2011]

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