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Archive for April, 2011

Happy Easter!!! Sunday 4-24-2011

Monday, April 25th, 2011

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!!

I know I already said that in the last entry, but oh well!! Nothing like being wished a Happy Resurrection Day, so I figured I’d do it a couple times. Also, I want to give a shout out (another one) to Christine Gyamfi. Happy 13th Birthday Christine!!! This will be a day to remember since your birthday fell on Easter this year! Love ya!!

So here are all the pictures from church today.

For the Sunday School time, we had a time of fellowship, just talking and eating and having a great time. I won’t go through a lot of explaining since it is mostly just of people talking and eating.

Here is Elizabeth Apdeo. It is so hard to believe that in 2 weeks, she is going to be 3 months old. Wow. Time flies so fast.

And Elizabeth again. She’s a doll!

Here’s David Kwarteng.

And Steven.

And Steven and Paul.

Here both Paul (middle) and Harrison (far right) are both making faces. Paul squeezed his eyes closed and Harrison opened them up as wide as possible. These boys are so cute and so funny!

Paul again. Such cute boys!

All of our wonderful kids plus Sister Jackie.

After the fellowship, we got to see a slide show presentation of the trip that was taken last weekend. To see what all was on that, please check out the previous blog entry. :)

Here is Brother Obi.

Here is Brother Kwasi as he was going through describing some of the pictures with Brother Obi standing next to him.

And here is my dad after they got done with that.

Well, that is all that I have for y’all now. I hope the last few entries have explained about the relief efforts, or as Brother Kwasi has started calling them, the Ishinomaki Missionary Journeys.

And one more thing. I know I have used songs several times to explain myself about different things, so I’m going to do it again. There is a song called “I Refuse” by Josh Wilson. Here are the lyrics:

Sometimes I,
I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone’s alright
When I know they’re not.
This world needs God
But it’s easier to stand and watch.
I could pray a prayer and just move on
Like nothing’s wrong.

But I refuse.
‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care.
I don’t want to say another empty prayer.
I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself.
I could choose
Not to move but I refuse.

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately,
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of you, oh God.
So, if you say move,
Then it’s time for me to follow through,
And do what I was made to do.
Show them who you are.

‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care.
I don’t want to say another empty prayer.
I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself.
I could choose
Not to move but I refuse.

To stand and watch
The weary and lost
Cry out for help.
I refuse
To turn my back
And try and act like all is well.
I refuse
To stay unchanged,
To wait another day,
To die to myself.
I refuse
To make one more excuse.

That’s sorta how I feel about this whole situation. You know, “To stand and watch the weary and the lost cry out for help. I refuse to turn my back and try and act like all is well.” There are hundreds of thousands of people right now that are crying out for help, although it might not be literally, while some are, it is most definitely spiritually. And they are most definitely weary and lost. So, we can’t “stay unchanged, to wait another day, to die myself”. I guess I started thinking all of this while Brother Obi and Brother Kwasi and my dad were speaking today. We can’t go unaffected by people that need us. I don’t want to wait for someone to do what God has called me to do. Why wait? Why wait for someone else? If God called me to do it, then I am capable and I’m going to it and, with the help and mercy of God, I will succeed!

Rachel

Ishinomaki Relief Trip 4/16-17/2011

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Good afternoon everyone!

First, I’d like to say a great big Happy Easter to everyone. I hope everyone had a great Easter!! Also, we heard today from Brother Thomas today that his wife, Sister Thomas, is doing well in India. Sister Thomas, we love and miss you very much. We are glad everything is going well with the pregnancy, but we REALLY miss having you here and we can’t wait until you and the baby are able to come home!!!

This entry is going to be about the Ishinomaki Relief Trip from April 16th-17th, 2011. Today in church, Brother Kwasi said that maybe next time, we need to call it the Ishinomaki Missionary Journey since we are taking the Word of God up to Ishinomaki, as well as relief supplies. Amen!!! So, here are some pictures from the trip that Brother Yokoyama, Brother Arai, Brother Watanabe, Brother Kwasi, Brother Obi, and Brother Ishibashi took to Ishinomaki last week. I hope this all touches you as much as it touched me.

The majority of these do not need any explanation, as they are self-explanatory.

Here are some JSDF (Japan Self-Defence Force) trucks.

These are some of the caskets that have been made. And, they are not making headstones, so they are using these numbers. Every one buried gets a number that is given to their families so they can visit the site.

Some grave sites.

This sign basically says ”Do not go in. This building is unsafe” or something like that. Can you see why?

Brother Yokoyama and Brother Watanabe are talking to a couple guys down the road on the right.

And the staircase that used to lead to somewhere, but now leads to nowhere.

A group of people that is probably with a relief team.

I think there might have been a road going between these two buildings.

One of the evacuation centers.

I have a high suspicion that that blue building is not supposed to be where it is.

This is odd, but understandable. All over the place in Ishinomaki, there are dead fish laying all over the ground. Big fish, little fish, all of which are smelly fish. Just imagine fish after being dead one month.

This is kind of neat. This is one of the boxes that we took up there 3 weeks ago now. It is good to know that supplies that were delivered by our people were used.

This is part of a dock thing, maybe. I’m not exactly for sure, but a major part of it was washed away. This is right on the coast (can you see the water?) so this is where the tsunami came in and initially hit. Can you see in the second picture where the road was washed away?

And this is part of the water break wall that everyone was trusting in. Just goes to show you that what man builds cannot always protect you.

You can see the fourth floor windows are busted out in this apartment complex.

Brother Yokoyama and Brother Watanabe. :D

This is one of the families that the team met. They were looking for an elderly lady who didn’t have any supplies coming to her but by the time they had got there, she had passed away. I don’t know by how many days they missed her, but while searching for her, they met another family.

Some of the supplies they left them. Can you see the water line half way up the wall?

This used to be their shower room. I can’t tell how far down the floor is, but it’s at least several inches.

Can you see where the floor used to be? About 1 foot higher.

Here is Brother Yokoyama giving one of the men a box of supplies (we had prepared special “Family” boxes. This was one of them).

Brother Yokoyama then gave them a card with the JUPC (Japan UPC) information on it and information from the CSI (Compassion Services International).

And here is the family. Then the family with the team.

And this is another family that the team met. The three younger people lived up in Sendai (I think) and they moved in with the grandma, whose house was still standing.

And here they are with Brother Ishibashi. I just think the two younger kids are adorable!

And another family they met. Brother Kwasi told us this morning in church that Brother Watanabe was running from door to door trying to find people.

I think the woman looks like she is about to start crying here.

Here is Brother Yokoyama saying a quick prayer before going into this lady’s house.

This was in a parking lot. The truck had pulled over for a bit and a lady that lived across the street saw them and came out to see them. A short time after she went back to her house, a group of people came herding around the truck, along with the lady they initially met. Everyone was trying to get things they needed.

That little girl is a CUTIE!!!

Look at everyone bending over the supplies. Brother Obi told one story of a young man, between 15 and 17 years old, who Brother Obi finally had to say, “Here take this. Go ahead. Take this.” But this guy didn’t even want to ask for things. No one did. Finally they were saying, “Do you have such-and-such thing? Do you have this? Do you have that?” naming off different things. But only after a bit of having things given to them.

Here is that absolutely adorable little girl again.

And Brother Yokoyama was helping some of the elderly pack supplies into their carts, bikes, and bags.

Here are some of the home-made cookies and treats that several of the ladies in the church made. I want to say thank you all so much for that. We found out that some of the ladies were up until 4 something in the morning Saturday morning cooking. Thank y’all so very much! They went crazy over all the home-made goodies because, since they hadn’t had any supplies coming in, they had no food coming to them. And everyone is out of jobs and all of their money has been destroyed so they can’t buy anything, so having something they could eat right then was a blessing to them.

People were loading up boxes as soon as the team was emptying them.

Here are some of the backpacks that some people from Yokota Air Base prepared.

And is was amazing because people were not just getting things to hoard them. If they didn’t need something, they let someone else have it. And those who were taking things were probably taking them back to whole families.

This guy in the orange is the one who wouldn’t take things at first until Brother Obi more or less told him to take it.

People were not being pushy and fighting to get to the front. They just waited their turn to get to the truck.

We think he was asking for the can of gas.

The guy in the blue sweatshirt in the middle looks totally exhausted to me. My heart goes out to everyone.

Packed bicycles.

This old guy is so cute!!

And this was awesome!! Brother Yokoyama said when they felt led to pray, they did and everyone was so receptive of it. This lady, even after Brother Yokoyama got done praying, she was still bowed over and had her hands together. God is doing GREAT things in Ishinomaki!!

And my dad called this the dynamic duo: Brother Kwasi and Brother Obi.

This is the team dropping off a sofa that was donated by Brother & Sister Ishibashi.

And this is the director of one of the evacuation centers. He was so happy and thankful to see the team.

This guy here was helping receive the boxes. When he saw the box of shoes that Brother Omorefe donated, he said I want some for myself, so he tried shoes on until he found some that fit.

And here is the team, minus Brother Arai, who was taking the picture. They did not start the trip with those boots on but once they got to a certain point, they had to put these on because the mud and water were too deep to go in regular shoes. So around this point, they put all their boots on.

I know these are out of order, but here you can see the temporary housing facilities.

I know this has to be hard for the Japanese because they are very respective of the dead, so seeing debris all over the cemetary must be hard.

This is a Pakistani man that has been here for a month cooking curry and other things for the people in the center.

One of the makeshift kitchens.

More fish. Big fish, little fish, all smelly fish.

And last but not least, here is a video that Brother Arai took.

This is looking around the yard of the Mizuno family, the family that my dad, Dennis Datsomor, and Brother Ishibashi met.

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Brother Arai took several other videos, but they are too big to put on here. But one really gets to me so I’ll try to describe it as best as I can. Everyone is at the Mizuno house and they are talking to the grandma of the two little girls that I showed from when my dad went up there. The grandma just bowed over and over again with a slow deep bow that she held at the end. As we were watching the video, I leaned over and told my mom, “She sounds like she is about to start crying. It makes me want to go and just hug here.” It’s so sad…… And that’s the truth. You just want to go and hug everyone. Even though I’ve never been up there (I am praying very hard that I will get to go, though) I still feel that way. It might be hard emotionally and physically, but I will (and have) jumped at the offer to go. My dad said something about maybe going to see if we could help the Mizuno family clean out their house and yard areas and I yelled through a closed door, “I WANNA GO!!!!!” He just laughed! But I’m dead serious. I’d be willing to anytime go up and go through mud and debris and whatever else in order to help those people. I think by now, the whole church is feeling a pull towards Ishinomaki, feeling the beginning of what God is going to do there. I’m claiming Ishinomaki for God. Why not? If we can get a hold of one person, then we can get one family. Then we can get one neighborhood. Then a community. Then the whole city. Then a whole prefeture. Then the whole nation/

ISHINOMAKI FOR JESUS!!!! JAPAN FOR JESUS!!!!

Joint Service 4-17-2011

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Good evening!

Just a little bit ago, I was privileged to watch and be able to speak to our home church in Dayton. For everyone back home, I want to know that it was very good to talk to you all. Although we do get to watch pretty much every service, it was very good to be able say hello to y’all. I want to say, to everyone at Lighthouse, that I love and appreciate each and every one of y’all. I am very proud to be able to say that I am a part of Apostolic Lighthouse Church and I’m proud to say that I am under the leadership Pastor and Sister Smith. I love y’all so much!!!

Okay, now for the pictures from Sunday. We had a joint service with the Japanese congregation. We had a team up Ishinomaki in which was Brother Yokoyama, Brother Arai, Brother Kwasi, Brother Obi, Brother Watanabe and Brother Ishibashi. Also, just so y’all know, the family the team met 2 weeks ago, this team also met. We are going to be trying to schedule some trips to go up and help this particular family clean up their house to help get it back together, and we are also going to be trying to get some things set up to where we can go up there and cook some warm food for the evacuees.

Okay, now, here are the pictures.

Here is my dad at the beginning of service.

In this picture, you can see Sister Yokoyama, Sister Igarashi, Yoshiki, and my dad.

Brother Sato.

And Brother Daniel.

Here you can see Sister Ikeda and Sister Victoria and Sister Igarashi.

Brother Sato and Brother Daniel.

Here is Brother Daniel.

Sister Victoria.

And Sister Ikeda.

And here is Brother Daniel again.

My dad spoke on “Run for Your Life” and Sister Felicia translated into Japanese.

Daddy again.

And Sister Felicia again. This was more towards the end of service.

And this was after church. We looked through the doors and saw both of the Ishibashi boys and the Sato’s son playing in the dirt all dressed up, yet still staying clean. Su goi!

Kawaii! So cute!!

I think he is using a hairbrush in the dirt.

I love the way the Ishibashi’s oldest son is “posing”. He actually stood when he saw I was getting their pictures.

He finally got back down when he saw that I put my lens cap back on. Then I took it back off and grabbed another shot.

Okay, that’s all I have from Sunday. Now, I’m skipping forward about 15 hours. This morning when I got up for church, I knew that Pastor Smith was planning a missions service for Japan for their Sunday night (17 April, 2011) but I had absolutely no idea how it was going to turn out. But it was so awesome!! They had this big banner up on the pulpit and at the end, they got a group picture with everyone in the church standing around it. And one of the brothers in the church, Brother Vazquez, somehow got the Skype microphone connected to the main church speakers so we were also able to talk to everyone at church! How he did it, I have no idea. That technical stuff is just a little too technical for me but it was great none the less. And it was like we were actually sitting in church with them. Pastor Smith had my dad lead everyone in prayer over Skype and by the time it was all over, we were all crying. It was so great. And at the end, everyone (at least I think everyone) signed the poster. I’m so thankful to be a part of one of the greatest churches in the world!! I love and appreciate every single one of y’all at Apostolic Lighthouse Church in Dayton, Ohio. I consider it an honor to be a part of that church. Each and every one of y’all make ALC what it is. I love y’all so much!!

One more thing before I get off. There was a song that was sung during the missions service that I heard a couple, maybe three, years ago at a youth conference. The song was written by Brother Myles Young. I loved the song when I first heard it and I tried to see if it was on iTunes but I couldn’t find it. Here are the words to the song, “What about Love”.

Vs 1:

When’s the last time you said a prayer

For a place you’ve never gone and a face you’ve never known?

When’s the last time you couldn’t sleep

Because the pain of your heart was tearing you apart?

Chorus:

What about love? What about mercy?

What about all those needing Jesus today?

What about hope? What about grace?

What about all those dying that never heard His name?

What about love?

Vs 2:

When’s the last time you walked away

From the crowd and all your friends for a burden deep within?

When’s the last time you bent a knee

Falling down to the floor asking God for more?

Vs 3:

I’ll go, Lord, where You want me.

I’ll do just what You tell me.

I’ll be whatever you want me to be.”

The only words I remembered was “What about love? What about mercy? What about all those needing Jesus today?” I wanted to find that song so bad, and when they started singing it today, I knew I just had to find the words. I love this song so much! Thank you SO much, Sister Smith, for choosing this song!

That is all I have for this entry. One more time, I would like to thank Apostolic Lighthouse Church in Dayton, Ohio, for everything you are doing to help. All of the prayers, donations, and everything else, is really a blessing and it is helping bless people half-way across the world. I’m proud to be a part of a church that is as willing as y’all are to do things for God. I love each and every one of y’all!

Rachel

“Hakuna Matata”…PI…Cherry Blossoms…and Floors?

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Hello everyone!

I have several pictures from Sunday that I wanted to show you all. Also, I wanted to share a couple things about the earthquake and the upcoming relief trip.

First off, PLEASE DO NOT BE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SEEING/HEARING ON THE NEWS. Sorry, I caps locked all that so it would be sure to grab you’re attention. Although this situation is bad, it is not as bad as what some news networks are saying. Here is part of an article from the Japan Times at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nc20110323a1.html. Just in case if you would like to keep up with the news on there, the website for the Japan times home page is www.japantimes.co.jp.

“Over the past week we’ve seen a stark contrast in how the Fukushima nuclear disaster has been reported. ‘Panic’ read the New York Daily News. ‘Get out of Tokyo Now’ said The Sun. One expects that of tabloids, yet more credible media also described an “exodus” from Tokyo, neglecting to mention that it was primarily foreign residents who were leaving, many with few ties here who preferred to err on the side of caution. Japanese news was sober in contrast. ‘Radiation exposure can be dealt with’ read The Asahi Shimbun.”

I think this shows that although this is a bad situation, everything, and I re-type, EVERYTHING will be okay. What the article failed to mention was that God is with us, who, or what, can be against us? I hope that calms your worries. We are not worried. We have the best protector ever. Even better than the radiation suits: GOD!!!! Instead of worrying about everything going on, send a prayer up instead. That way you won’t spend your energy on worrying, which won’t help, but you can spend your energy on praying, which will help both us and Japan. :) How many people remember the book “Lion King”. Do you remember the song “Hakuna Matata”? “It means no worries, for the rest of your days!” With God at your side, worry does nothing but give you a headache and possibly make you grumpy (it makes me grumpy!!) So, Hakuna Matata and pray!

Now, we had a very good service Sunday. First for the Sunday School time, we heard from the PI (Purpose Institute) students and then we saw a slide show from when the Relief Team went up to the Sendai/Ishinomaki areas. But first are the pictures from the Sunday School time.

First, Brother Kwasi Amoabeng got up and spoke about “A New Sanctuary”

And then Sister Victoria spoke next about “An Irreverent Sanctuary”.

Up next was Brother Daniel Agyare, who spoke about “The Restoration of His Glory”.

Then Brother Ephriam Lotsu spoke next about “The Ability to See”.

And last certainly not least, Brother Perry spoke on the subject of “Glory to Glory”.

And this is just something extra. We have this bush in our backyard that has been a yellow/green all winter and now there are finally getting to be some green leaves come out. It looks neat and pretty.

And just thought I’d add this in for good nature. I don’t remember if I have shown you this before. This is our whole back yard. :)

Now for something super pretty.

Rebekah and I rode our bicycles down to a park, maybe a 10-15 minute ride from our house (depending on how fast we go :) ) and all the cherry blossoms were out. It was so pretty! So we  went up on this hill in the park and rode up to where this gazebo is and this is what we were able to see.

And as I am typing, our neighbor/landlord, Kamata-san, is over at our house with a friends of his that is a carpenter, and they are working on our floors. We noticed not too long ago that some of the floors had some weak places so we told Kamata-san, and right now he and his friends are working on the floors. To see what is under the floors of a Japanese house is amazing. Here is what our hallway floors look like right now. There was only a thin piece of flooring over these wood beams. Now I understand why the floors are so cold on a winter morning. There is only concrete around the frame of the house and dirt about 2 feet below the floor.

This one is looking from the living room towards the front door.

This is looking from the kitchen down toward the living room.

And turned to the right looking towards the front door.

It was funny when I got up this morning (around 10 am), I looked over the edge of the stairs and saw that all the flooring was taken up. So I went and knocked on the office door where my dad was studying and told him I was going to go downstairs but since I couldn’t, I would just stay up there. But my dad said it was possible to go across the hall without stepping on it. And when I got downstairs, Kamata-san was down there and he was like, “Ah, Rachel!” I laughed and then he put a board down across some of the beams so I could step across half-way then go the rest of the way. Kamata-san set it down and then held it in place with his foot so I could go across without it moving. But even then, I still grabbed the wall and my dad’s arm. We all laughed at that. But now, after making a couple trips between going upstairs and to the bathroom, I was able to walk pretty good.

Now the floor is done (I’ve been away for an hour or more). It looks real good.

One more thing, then I am done. We found a website that has monitored all of the earthquakes since March 11, 2011. As of 6:15 tonight (April 14, 2011), we have had 1,002 earthquakes. Normally, Japan only has about 1,000 PER YEAR. We have had more in one month than Japan normally sees in one year. It’s absolutely amazing. Anyway, this site tells the depth (in kilometers) and the exact time and date of each quake and the magnitude. And, I don’t know if you have heard the name of the earthquake of not, but the great quake has been dubbed “The Great East Japan Quake”. And that it is. Wow. Anyway, here is that link. I might have shared it before with you, but I don’t know. Please check it out. The link it: www.japanquakemap.com.

That is all I have for now. Please remember the Relief team that is heading up to Ishinomaki this weekend to take more supplies up. We really appreciate all of the prayers that have been sent up and all the donations that have been given. Please continue to remember Japan!! As I said in my last email, several of my friends in Singapore have said this phrase many times to me over the months: “Japan for Jesus!!!” I whole-heartedly agree!! Our prayers will be with the team.

We love and miss y’all.

Rachel

Ishinomaki Relief Efforts (Brother Ishibashi)

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Hello!

I hope all is going well wherever you are in the world.

I just wanted to show you all some more pictures that were taken by Brother Ishibashi during the Relief trip to Ishinomaki and I wanted to show some of those to y’all. If I do not fully explain these, please refer back to the previous entry for more detailed information.

Here are a few pictures from the packing on Saturday.

This is from the short prayer that we had right before we started loading the truck.

Here is Dennis and Brother Kwasi Amoabeng.

Enos and Yoshiki working on taping a box.

Enos picked this box up when a couple of the ladies couldn’t pick it up. When he lifted it up, everyone was saying “Su goi!!”

This is looking into truck. My dad and Dennis were putting their bags into the back of the truck.

This is a card that was being passed out to the people up north. This is is talking about the Japan United Pentecostal Church. On the other side of the same card, if I remember right, I think it tells about Compassion Services International (CSI).

Brother Kwasi, Brother Yokoyama, and the team.

And here are some pictures that Brother Ishibashi took to their meals at the Chinese restaurent. It all looks awesome!

Dennis and my dad deep in thought/conversation. I think they were trying to decide what to get out first. I do not think they were just posing for the camera. (Just kidding, y’all!)

At the orphanage.

Here is just some of the destruction going up towards Ishinomaki.

You can see some people here looking through the rubble.

A field of rubble.

One of the Japan Self Defence Force (JSDF) truck.

More of the damage.

I think that is part of a boat in that small field.

Can you see the fence that is now lying flat on the ground?

In this picture, you can see how the road rolls because of how the tremors went through it.

And here, the rail it all twisted. I don’t know if that is from the water or the quake.

There are cars all in the parking lot. It is truly amazing how much damage water can do.

My dad was SUPPOSED to turn down this road…the road that isn’t there.

The glass of this car doesn’t eve look like glass. It is bent up and looks more to me like plastic wrap.

I don’t know if you can tell that the sidewalk also rolls.

This is at the city office in Ishinomaki (if I remember right). All those papers on the wall are the lists of names of the people that are dead. And, some of the wall broke off , thus the spots where the drywall if gone.

I think these are some of the people that were missing.

This is right one the waters edge. This is not stuff that was carried in/out but the water. This is stuff that was instantly destroyed by the initial wave.

I think that is some time of fish net around that wheels of that car. I could be wrong, but I’m about 80% sure that’s what it is.

This house was brought in by the wave.

There is a car flipped upside down in this Chinese restaurant.

That’s all the pictures I’m going to put on here for now. I think there are plenty that have been shown. They all show pretty much one thing: The foundations of Japan have been shaken and there is much devastation. But, as I write this, the song comes to mind that says, “Shake the foundations with praise!” What if they angels and people around world have been praising God for Japan and for what WILL happen in Japan as the revival floods sweep in? What if that is why this earthquake happened? “What the devil meant for evil, God will turn to joy.” Hmm, there is some food for thought for me.

I do want to share one more thing with you. I asked Dennis Datsomor if he would write something up about the trip and if I could put it on here. He said yes so here that is.

“Trip to Sendai/Ishinomaki

Being able to assist the Relief Team to Sendai and Ishinomaki was a great opportunity for me. Fortunately, Sendai wasn’t greatly affected; electricity, water and gas were restored pretty recently. Unfortunately, Ishinomaki is still in a very critical state. We were blessed to be able to visit an orphanage and a few evacuation centers and unload our supplies. We also unloaded a few boxes of supplies to a family living close to one of the evacuation centers. Their entire 1st floor of the house was wiped out by the tsunami so they live in the 2nd floor of their house. They were very nice and received us well. All of the places we visited received us well and we also had a chance to chat with a few of the people.

What this trip did for me was open my eyes more by seeing the damaged areas first-hand. Seeing the pictures and videos on the Internet were not enough to truly grasp the entire situation. The crazy thing was that it was still hard to believe after seeing it first-hand. You see most of the buildings and houses crushed or moved from its spot, trucks and cars in all kinds of direction, and boats that shouldn’t be there seen on the roads leaning against buildings.

Now that we’ve sent our supplies to the various evacuation centers, I’m trying to think more about the people that still live in those evacuation centers. The gymnasium especially is a very cold place and people only have one mat to use which is hard on the body. There are very few heaters used and it’s hard to imagine how people can sleep in this condition. I’ve read on the news that the main problem now is that supplies are not balanced among the evacuation centers; some places have an excess supply of food while other places don’t. This is the next challenge for relief/volunteer teams as well as providing cooked meals to warm the people up. My prayer now is that the cities and towns will be restored as quickly as possible, people will be able to at least live in the temporary homes that are being built, and that the radiation problem will be solved.

I truly wish everyone can go to the areas and see it with their own eyes. People in Tokyo have been panicking, but there is nothing to worry about here compared to the Northeast side. All we can do now is pray, but God will show us what more we can do if we let him. Let’s not limit what God can do because with Him, all things are possible.

-Dennis Datsomor”

Thank you, Dennis, for writing that and allowing us to use it. I think it all is good, but I most especially like the last line “Let’s not limit what God can do because with Him, all things are possible.” Amen!!!!

That is all I have for now. Please remember Japan in your prayers as everyone helps to clean up and help rebuild the country.

Rachel

Disaster Relief Trip to Sendai & Ishinomaki 2 – 4 April 2011

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Greetings in Jesus’ Name:

I would first like to say how much we appreciate each and every one who has assisted in any way in this endeavor.  Without your prayers, donations and support this would not have been possible.  Rachel normally does the blog for us, but she felt it would be best if I did this one since I was on the relief trip.  So, it may not be as good as it normally is since I am writing it.  :)   I will tell some of what is going on and then I will include several pictures of what was happening.  There are so many pictures that it would be difficult to say something about each one, but I will comment on some of them.  On Saturday, April 2nd, we all met at the Haijima church to finish packing and to load the 2- ton truck.  It was a complete team effort as brothers and sisters from both the Japanese and International congregations came to be part of this relief operation.  Brother Ishibashi, Brother Dennis Datsomor and I left and headed to Sendai where we would be staying the first night.  Rachel has already completed an entry on Saturday of all the preparation, but I would like to say again how much we appreciated everyone who was able to come and help, those who sacrificed to be part of this.

I am waiting on some more pictures from Brother Ishibashi’s camera, and after I get them, I may post more pictures in another entry.  I have many, many more pictures, but I hope you can get a little idea of what it was like there.  But I really wanted to go ahead and give you some information on what took place this past weekend.

On the expressway heading towards Sendai, there were multiple places where their had been road damage that had been temporarily repaired.  It gave us a few laughs because when we would hit those bumps, our seat belts were the only thing that held us in place.   :)   We also saw several of the Japan Self Defense Force trucks and jeeps heading up in the same direction.  I saw many of them up in Ishinomaki working very hard to help with the destruction there.

 

 

As we were heading to Sendai we also had to go through Fukushima Prefecture and Fukushima city.  While we were still far from the nuclear plant, we passed places where they have had issues with the milk and vegetables.  We were all saying silent prayers for God’s hand to protect and watch over everyone in that area, including us.

 

While Sendai did have damage from both the earthquake and tsunami, it is slowly getting back on its feet and supplies are starting to flow better than it was the past three weeks.  We did not go to the coastal area in Sendai, but the first picture is what I saw while we were traveling to the orphanage and the other ones are before we left Sendai.

 

The hostel we stayed at was one of the few in Sendai that was able to stay open immediately following the earthquake and tsunami.  The owner said that many of them had received damage and was not able to reopen for a while.  She said they were very busy with many reporters and people coming because of the limited places to stay.  On  lighter note, Brother Ishibashi and Dennis had trouble getting the door unlocked to our room, so I snapped theses pictures.    We would need our rest to prepare us for the next day, though we stayed up very late talking about southern cooking, various foods and of course, the Lord.  The room was cold at night (I could see my breath), but we rested well.  The futons were very comfortable. The room and hospitality at the hostel was very nice.

We had a time of prayer together Saturday night and we really felt the Holy Ghost as we prayed. We were anticipating what the Lord was going to do and we all felt that the Lord would do something special in this area for all the prayers from around the world, and all the hard work that everyone had been doing to make this trip happen.     We also had a time of devotion and prayer Sunday morning before we left the hostel and again, we felt the presence of the Lord with us, giving us strength for the day.

After checking in to the hostel, we headed out to get a bite to eat as we were all getting hungry.  The hostel told us of a Chinese restaurant not far from where we were staying.  The food was oiishi desu! (very tasty)   We had some time to talk to the owners there and they were very grateful for what we were doing.  They told us of what had happened to them after the earthquake on the 11th.  She went on to tell us that Dennis and I were the first to foreigners to visit their restaurant.  She also said that Dennis was only the second ever black person that she had seen in person.  :)   We all laughed.

 

The first thing we did Sunday morning after leaving the hostel was to head across town to the Orphanage.  The team that went up two weeks earlier had delivered supplies there and found out what they were in need of, so we were able to take those things with us.  They did receive some damage outside the orphanage, but overall, the buildings were fine.   The Director of the orphanage we visited was extremely grateful for the items we gave to them. He gave us a tour of their facility and introduced us to many of the people there.  Thanks to the donations received, we were able to provide them with items they still needed. The appreciation shown by everyone there was very moving.  Some of the young people there helped us unload the supplies.  The last picture is the supplies we left Sunday at the orphanage.  Again, everyone was so appreciative of what everyone was doing and all that was donated. The first picture is the Director showing us around.

 

A short distance out of Sendai on the way to Ishinomaki, we stopped at a Family Mart and most of the shelves were empty and what little they did have, they were limiting how many items families could take to two items.

 

As we headed to Ishinomaki, I don’t believe any of us was prepared for the extent of the devastation that we would see.  Ishinomaki had the appearance of a war zone.  I have included some pictures, but for every one picture we took, there were so many more we could have taken of the devastation all across the area.  The situation is beyond words. As we were driving towards Ishinomaki, we were around 11 kilometers from the city, and there was evidence of the distance the water travelled even further than where we were.   We saw parts of houses, rooftops, and vehicles overturned in a ravine that ran along the road, even this far from the coast.  In the first picture, you can see how high the debris line is.  Again, we were still around 8 miles inland in these first few pictures.

Once arriving in Ishinomaki, we went to the City office and found out that there are 40 evacuation centers placed around the city.  We were able to visit 3 of them.  The evacuation centers are similar to those described by Brother Yokoyama on the last trip.  These next few pictures are things we saw in and around Ishinomaki before and after going to the city office.  There will be several pictures under this area, most will not need any comments as they speak for themselves.

 

 

We turned the corner of a street and looked in front of us, and we were all amazed at what we saw staring at us that was in the street.  We had to turn on the street about where that man is walking.

 

We took another left turn…and low and behold, there was another one.  The red X on the side means that it has been searched and is no one on board.  The search and research teams would put those signs on buildings and houses once they had been searched so no other teams would check them again.

This is a view from the other direction.

There was another one also.  I don’t know if you can tell it or not from the picture, but it is wedged between buildings and a road guard rail.

 

It is amazing what the power of water can do. The pictures of the ships above, tell some of the story.  I read that one square  meter of water in a tsunami had 50 ton of pressure behind it. It is almost unthinkable what can happen.  I want to show you a few more pictures of some very unusual things as  a result of this event.  Now, I know that this car appears to be hanging in mid air, doesn’t it?

 

But in reality, the water had sit the car on a roof top and leaning against the power pole.

 

The road in this picture is washed out…we were supposed to go that way…but we found a another way.

 

That is a large truck sitting on that car.

 

I don’t know if you can see them, but there are two vehicles inside what used to be a Family Mart (convenience store)

 

There is a vehicle in this restaurant…or at least one.

 

Those trees are not small trees.  This thing was very big.  I can only imagine where it came from, because it did not appear to belong here.   Look at that tree…I can only guess the force of the water did this.  There are more on the other side that were similar to this one.

 

 

Yes…that is a car leaning up against that tree.

The first evacuation center we went to had over 800 evacuees staying there.  We were not able to go into this one, but it was not in very good shape. The first few pictures are of the outside of the building right outside the evacuation center.  You could see many windows busted out.  It was quiet a sight to see.  We delivered some much needed supplies here as they were running short on food.  The cup of noodles, hygiene items  and other supplies were very much appreciated by all we spoke to here.

 

Also, for those of us who have been affiliated with the military and are proud of our U.S. Military, we had some U.S. Marines and U.S. Army personnel working along side the Japan Self Defense Force (JFSD) personnel.  We are proud of you for your service representing our Nation!

 

Here Brother Ishibashi and Brother Dennis are getting supplies off the truck and handing them to some of the staff.

 

The next evacuation center we visited (was also a school) and they told us that some supplies had just been delivered to them and recommended we take what we had to the next center to make sure they had enough.  However, we were able to go inside and get some pictures of the gym that was being used for part of the center.  The other evacuees were living on the 3rd and 4th floors of the school.  The downstairs was being used to store some things, but many of the windows were also broken out in this building.  These first pictures are from around the outside of the evacuation center.

These were people delivering supplies from another organization.  They had people lined up passing boxes along to store them inside.

 

The last evacuation center we were to visit, which was an elementary school, we passed by the place where the evacuation center was supposed to be, and it looked abandoned and empty.  We thought perhaps the city had moved them because of the destruction and the situation there. It was almost unbelievable. We went a short ways down the road and had to turn around because of the debris.  It could have only been the Lord that made us do that, because as we were headed back past the elementary school, we saw a woman speaking to someone by the road.

We stopped and Brother Ishibashi spoke to her and found out that this lady, her husband, their two daughters and her parents are staying in the upstairs of their house which was very close to where we were. The pictures will show that the tsunami waters were almost to the ceiling of the first floor of their house.  She showed us the downstairs of their home, and it was in shambles. We asked what they were in need of and we were able to provide them with food, clothing, and personal hygiene items that they desperately needed, along with some fresh baked cookies that had been made.  As we left them, we all felt that the Lord had directed us to this family for a purpose.

 

This was headed up to her house.  Brother Ishibashi is walking behind her with a box of food.

 

The next few pictures are from the inside of their house.  If you look close in some of them, you can see the water line close to the ceiling.  I had my flash on the camera, but I can tell you that they have no electricity or water.  It was very dark in the house.  The only light was where the windows had doors had been busted out by the tsunami.  The house appeared to have been a very nice house, before March 11th.

 

Before we left, we met her husband and their two daughters.  They were precious!  They were all so very kind and thanked us over and over for what we had done.  I have some pictures of the girls enjoying some fresh baked sugar cookies we had brought with us that a church family had made.  They really seemed to like them.

 

Here is Brother Ishibashi with the food and supplies we left for this family.

 

Before we left the area, we made a stop by the last evacuation center that looked deserted.  After some effort, we actually found people on the fourth floor of this elementary school.  This was one of the locations where there is no heat, electricity or water.  The last evacuation center we visited, one of the workers there said “We have no water, no electricity, and no heat.  At night, it is total darkness here and very cold, it is scary.”  We saw some temperatures on the way to Ishinomaki that was ranging from 1 to 4 degrees Celsius.  That is roughly in the mid to high thirties degrees Fahrenheit.    They were so appreciative of the boxes of supplies we left for them.  The workers at this evacuation center told us that a few people are still living in their houses in the local area, and if we did not mind, he would allow them to get some of the goods as well.  We thought that was a great idea and we were thankful to know that all these goods would be used by someone.

We had to walk through this area to get inside and go up to the fourth floor where everyone lived.

 

We unloaded the rest of the supplies here and then got a few pictures with the workers by the boxes we delivered.

 

Brother Ishibashi with one of the workers at the evacuation center.

Brother Dennis Datsomor and myself in the middle with two of the workers who helped us unload the supplies.

 

After we finished here, we started the long ride back to Tokyo.  As we were leaving, even though it had been a long, emotional day, we got in the truck and all of us said it was well worth the trip, and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  It brings to life the compassion that Jesus Christ had for the masses that came to him with many needs in their lives…emotional, physical and spiritual needs.   After seeing all of this, I am so thankful for the blessings of the Lord!  He is so good to us!    Brother Ishibashi said “Those people in Ishinomaki are doing their best, so we must do our best.”  And that is exactly what we are going to do…give it our best to reach this lost and dying world for our Savior.

 

This area will take years to recover from this disaster.  Those of us who went on this trip feel that there is opportunity for the Lord to do something here in this area.  The family we visited with continues to be brought to mind by the Lord.  We are praying that God will somehow through this disaster in Ishinomaki, allow the light of the gospel of Christ to be shown through all of us to this community.   If through your continued support, we can continue to visit this area and reach out to the people there, I know God will honor your prayers, commitments and support to reach these people.  Only God can provide them with the love and healing they need.  Please continue to pray for God’s will to be done in Japan.

 

In Christ;

 

Brother Mark Pounders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Church 4-3-2011

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Good evening!

I just wanted to share some pictures with you from church today. I don’t have very many, but I do have a few.

Since my dad is gone up north to help deliver supplies with Brother Ishibashi and Dennis Datsomor, we only had one service today, which started at 10:30 am.

This is during the worship service. Here is Sister Victoria and Sister Felicia Kwarteng.

 

And here is Sister Kwarteng.

 

And Sister Victoria again.

 

That’s all from church today. I did try to get a couple of Brother Daniel but I was moving and so was he, so that didn’t turn out too well. But I finally just decided to put the camera down. Oh well! Church was great just the same. Brothe Kwasi Amoabeng preached about pride today. It was a great message, Brother Kwasi!

Okay, that’s all I have for now. Tomorrow I’ll have a long blog entry since I’ll have all the pictures from my dad from Sendai and Ishinomaki. Can’t wait for all of those. And I can’t wait for my daddy to be home. It’ll be good to have them all back. They had to drive  through the Fukushima prefecture. But no worries! They were 80 miles (or was it kilometers? I don’t remember) from the power plant so they are safe. But they could still see the lights from the city. So, it’ll be good to have them all back home safe and sound.

Ok, that’s really all I have for now.

Rachel

Relief Efforts in Action I

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Good afternoon!!

I just wanted to give you all an update on the earthquake. I received this in an email from Brother Hosmer of the Japan Network of Prayer. I received this on April 2, 2011.

“I recently received this update from Bro. Yokoyama.

‘I would like to report on new developments since I last communicated with you.

Sister Kon called today to inform me that in the city of Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, things are starting to get back to normal.

Although supermarkets carry limited items, basic things are available. Also gas was just back and running since yesterday and I was told that Brother Kon took a bath for the first time in 3 weeks last night, finally.

She was so thankful for the portable gas table that was provided since gas was unavailable for a long time.

While some places begin to show relatively good improvement, there are still others that remain in a pitiful condition.

Ishinomaki city is one of those places with the greatest number of people that died, loss of 2,341 lives and approximately 2,700 people missing as of March 31, plus 22,750 people still in evacuation.

It is a small city with the population of about 163,000 and they say two-thirds were in evacuation immediately after the earthquake and Tsunami. That is where our relief effort team will be going from tomorrow. It is about 1-2 hour drive on expressways from Sendai.

Each day newspaper carries names of hundreds that are found dead, along with the death toll in each city and town. No other city is more severely affected than Ishinomaki.

We have already contacted the local authority, who will give us information as to what is lacking at which evacuation center in the city where we will deliver supplies.

I will keep you posted how things went on this endeavor.

Your continued prayer is very much appreciated.

Brother Yokoyama’”

So, now that that is done, I am going to be showing some pictures from when we were packing yesterday (Saturday, April 2, 2011). It was so much fun to pack everything up and it felt SO good deep down inside to know that, while I am not traveling up there in the truck to help deliver supplies, I am helping, even just a bit, by sorting and packing boxes, and helping load them onto the truck. Nothing feels better than helping others, especially those in need.

So without further delay, here are those pictures.

This is looking in from out by the door.

 

And I’m not really for sure what Sister Yokoyama was pointing at, but I think it was a pile of boxes.

 

Everyone sorting through boxes.

 

And here is the room where we stored all the full boxes. These boxes held the things that your donations helped buy. Thank you all so very much.

 

Here is Brother Sato, Brother Ishibashi’s oldest son then his youngest son, and then Brother Sato’s youngest daughter. Even the young kids were helping.

 

And here is Sister Ishibashi and her youngest son and Ribeka Sato.

 

And Ribeka Sato. She’s adorable!

 

And the Ishibashi’s youngest son.

 

Kids helping each other taping a box.

 

Sister Yoshihara and Sister Ikeda working together on a box.

 

Here is Enos Ofori. I think he was watching Brother Sato.

 

Here is Hikaru Igarashi moving a box for Brother Yokoyama.

 

Here are some of the kids watching Sister Ishibashi.

 

Then they decided to move to help Sister Yatsu.

 

Brother Arai and Brother Yokoyama are talking back behind Yoshiki and Enos, who are watching some of the ladies arrange items in some boxes.

 

And here are the oldest Ishibashi and Sato boys.

 

Some of the kids and young people.

 

Ladies arranging items in the boxes.

 

Brother Sato labeling the boxes.

 

Sister Yatsu and Sister Ishibashi labeling boxes as the kids watch.

 

Here is a group meeting with this particular team and Brother Yokoyama. Although you can’t see him, Dennis is on the other side of Brother Yokoyama in that first picture.

 

Sister Yokoyama and Sister Yoshihara working together.

 

Ai, Grace, and Seika talking .

 

I think Sister Ishibashi’s son was trying to figure out why I was taking pictures. He had been looking at me but then he looked down.

 

Brother Sato’s oldest son was helping Yoshiki get a box.

 

Here is the truck that we were able to get. We thought at first that it was a rental truck but we found out Saturday that is it actually Brother Kwasi’s truck. Thank you, Brother Kwasi!

 

Here is my dad, Brother Kwasi, and Dennis. I tried to get it when Dennis and Brother Kwasi weren’t looking, but Brother Kwasi looked first then Dennis. Right after I snapped the shot, Brother Kwasi started laughing and Dennis was like, “What?!?! Huh?!?” I just laughed. Hey, the best pictures are the ones not posed for.

 

Here is the bed of the truck.

 

And here you can see Zion playing with Alice. She’s so cute!

 

Here is Brother Yokoyama talking to everyone telling them that we were going to categorize the boxes by orphanage and evacuation center. With the orphanage the divided the boxes by boys clothes, girls clothes and with the evacuation centers, we divided it by women’s clothes, men’s clothes, things like that.

 

And here is the Sato’s oldest daughter. She’s a cutie, too!

 

Here they are organizing boxes.

 

Here is our assembly line to load the boxes. Mostly it was the men and the youth guys working.

 

Here is Yoshiki taping a box.

 

Here is what was going on outside.  You can see Brother Kwasi and Dennis in the truck loading it up. Brother Michael Addai was carrying it from Brother Yokoyama to the truck.

 

Work harder, Dennis! Just kidding!

 

Brother Michael (L) and Brother Wisdom (R).

 

Dennis looks like he might possibly be thinking, “Oh no! Big box!”

 

Brother Wisdom and Brother Yokoyama.

 

I tried to think of something funny that I could write here for like an invisible speech bubble for Dennis, but nothing came to mind.

 

Brother Michael and Brother Wisdom.

 

More of the men working.

 

I think Brother Yokoyama was writing which place it went to.

 

And this is when the truck was finally packed. We had SO much stuff and it was only half full.

 

Brother Wisdom wanted his picture in front of the truck. He didn’t ask me to take it. He had asked Brother Michael Addai to take it, but I wanted it just because. :)

 

And here is the truck with all of bags the team took and all the boxes.

 

And I thought this was kind of neat. This sign says, “Japan United Pentecostal Church”. They put one sign on the driver side door and on the back door thing also on the drivers side.

 

And here is the team. Brother Kwasi, who provided the truck, Brother Yokoyama, the head of the relief organization for Haijima UPC, and then Dennis, my dad, and Brother Ishibashi.

 

There’s those smiles!!! Someone said something and they all started laughing. I wanted one with all of them smiling big so I snapped another shot.

 

And last but not least, here is the group picture of everyone that was there to help pack, sort and load boxes.

 

Here is little Ribeka and the Ishibashi’s youngest son.

 

And here is the team. Have a good trip, guys!

 

I think they were laughing because my dad got just a tad close to the roof of the church as he was backing up.

 

We all stood in the door and right outside the door waving goodbye to them as they pulled out.

 

And that is all I have from yesterday (Saturday). Tomorrow (Monday) when my dad gets back from up north, I’ll have many more pictures. When we spoke to him earlier, he said that he had been taking picture and that while he was driving, he had Dennis take pictures. And on a 10 hour or so drive, I know there will be a lot of pictures. I cannot wait for the pictures and I cannot wait till I can go up and help, Lord willing. But I was telling Sister Yokoyama that it really did something deep down inside of me while I was helping pick supplies up and pack them in boxes. It just feels really good helping people in need like that. But anyway, as soon as I get those pictures, I will put them up as soon as possible.

That is all I have for now. Thank you all for the prayers and donations. You have seen what your donations have helped purchase for the people of Japan. God bless you all.

Rachel.

Rachel’s Thoughts

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to say a few things that I have been thinking about here lately. These are only my thoughts and no one else’s. These might sometimes seem a little odd, but, as my Paw-paw would say, “OH WELL!!”

So first of all, this earthquake has really shaken me up……literally. And I’m not being funny. I’m as serious as I can get. So before all this with the earthquake and tsunami things, I was sort of wondering, you know, why has the past year happened like it has? Why have most of us gotten sick (out of the four of us)? Why did my Paw-paw have to die? Why has everything gone the way it has? Then the earthquake happened and it really shook me up. I realized then that I actually had it good. I still have my family when there are thousands have lost family members. Some people do not even know where their families are while my family are in my house with me. There are thousands without a home and I still have a home. And like when Brother Ohara was at church two weeks ago, I still see my parents’ everyday when Brother Ohara doesn’t even know when he will ever see his parents again.

Yesterday, on the way to the base, my mom and I were talking, and she was saying that this has been the hardest year for her ever. And I have to agree with her. Since August of 2009, we have had so much happen. And I’ll admit, I really didn’t like it at times. But then I’ll either read something in my Bible, or someone will tell me something, and I know that, yes, although we have had some VERY discouraging times, God is still with us no matter what and He has called us to Japan. I don’t know if it was either Satan trying to get us down or maybe it was God trying to see how strong we are. But after everything, I think that no matter what, we need to be strong. If it was Satan, then we need to stand strong against him and show him that God is boss. If it is God, that I want to show Him that I am not a wimp and that I can handle what He gives me since He tells me that He will not give me more than I can bear.

Also, I wanted to share something else with you all. I don’t know if you remember a couple entries ago, when I wrote about us being in the Army of God and that since God has given us our orders to Japan, I need to stay here until I get my PCS orders to go somewhere else. Well, one of my friends in Singapore, Sam, wrote on his blog something that really got to me. I asked Sam if I could share what he wrote on here, so here that is. He titled it, “Had a Vision”. This was written on the 25 of March.

“Woke up at 6 am Monday morning. If you know me well enough, that always never happens. The moment I opened my eyes, a vision flashed before me and it was so overwhelming that it kept me awake (which never happens).

I was in an earthquake hit region. It was rubble and destruction all around. I was a rescue worker, probably a soldier surveying the carnage of the concrete mess in front of me. Then a scripture flashed before my eyes in the sky: ‘Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee’.

I could feel the urgency of the hour. That deep within the depth of the mess were people trapped. And their voices were as sighs that the ordinary man could not hear. A burden came upon me for the lost. I can hear them. It hurts.

Soldiers do not only fight wars. They rescue those in national calamity. Being a soldier in God’s End Time Army, we are responsible to respond to the cry of those trapped and unable to give voice to their pain. God hears them. I want to hear what He hears and see what He sees. That I can respond to them with the same emotions He felt on the cross.”

Thank you so much for that, Sam! And like I told Sam, I do not know where he was. It could have been Japan, New Zealand, Myanmar, or anywhere else where there have been earthquakes and where there has been much damage. And there are also SO many lost souls in all of those countries. I told Sam that I have had some of the same thoughts and his reply: “It must be true then.” How can we just sit and do absolutely nothing when people are out there hurting physically, spiritually, and emotionally? It would be like watching a child that is in pain so much just sigh because nothing that they are trying is helping the pain. There is only one thing to help it and we Christians have what it takes to help them. How can we keep that from them? I remember when I hurt my knee the last time, in November, it got to hurting so bad, especially while we went to DCD in Singapore in December, because I was up on it all the time and with my leg being swollen, it hurt so bad. Tylenol 3 wasn’t taking care of the pain and it hurt so bad, I just laid or sat there and all that could come out after all the tears was a sigh. But this is so much worse.

In II Timothy 2:4, the Bible says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” My questions: how can we war with something is we are not fighting? and how can a soldier fight if he is not there to fight? and last but most certainly not least, who hath chosen us to be a soldier? My answers: we cannot war against something if we are not fighting, a soldier cannot fight a war if he is not there to fight the war, and God has chosen us to be soldiers. I think the rest is pretty self-explanatory. How can we go against that? Although I don’t remember exactly which verse it is, but there is a verse in the Bible that says, “I have fought the good fight.” Like I mentioned in a previous entry, how can we fight if we run away? I want to fight the good fight and I will do it to the best of my ability!

Something else that really gets to me is seeing pictures of what people have now and thinking about what they might have had a month ago. Kids had a loving family and now some have no one. People that used to be able to eat and now some mom’s are putting an onigiri, a rice ball, in hot water so the rice grains will swell and it will fill the kids up more. People used to have nice homes and now they are without a home and they are sleeping on a sheet in a gymnasium. People a month ago had jobs and now they have no way to provide for their family. Some kids used to have a mom and a dad that could hug them and now their parents are gone. Some parents do not have children anymore. Some kids do not have grandparents to be spoiled by and to hug and to sit on their lap. Some grandparents do not know where their grandkids are. They do not know if they will even see their grandkids again or even if they are alive. There was a story online on one of the news websites that was telling about a little girl who was writing a note to her mom asking her is she was still alive. How sad is that?

And while I’m on here, I wanted to share something else with you all. I won’t go into a lot of details but after writing what I did about being where God has called me, I wanted to share this with you all. And since school is out, and I am officially graduated and college starts this fall, I think this would be good to say now. I am going to be very open and honest with you.

During the camp meeting of 2009, right after we got to Japan, God showed me something about my future. I tried with everything in me to get it out of my thoughts for a couple months until that December, when God showed it to me again, just more into detail. After that, I finally told my parents, and later Pastor Smith. I finally know what God has called me to do and I plan to do my very best at achieving that. From what God has shown/told me, I will be coming to Japan, sometime in the future, and I am going to open a veterinary clinic. This will be a surprise to some of you. When we first got to Japan, I honestly did not want to be here. I wanted everything to be “normal”, or what I knew to be normal. I wanted to stay in my comfort zone. But God knew that He had to get me out of my comfort zone so He could show me things and do things inside of me. But now that He has, I’m so glad that He did what He did. Although, as mentioned previously, I was not excited about being here. But since I am here, I’m going to do anything and everything that I can do for Him while He wants me to be here. No matter what happens, I know that God will be here for me. Even when things are going wrong. Even when my Paw-paw dies. Even when my dad gets sick with asthma. Even when my mom gets kidney stones real bad. Even when I hurt my knee multiple times (thank God nothing was wrong). Even when there is a major, devasting earthquake. Even when the nuclear reactors are going crazy and no one knows what will happen. God is still here. He has taken us this far, why would He let something bad happen to us now? God will always be by my side. He promises that He will never leave me nor forsake me. And someone that keeps coming back to my mind is Brother Ohara. He doesn’t even know if he will ever see his parents again, yet he can still say, “We are all God’s children and He will take care of us.” Wow. That is having major faith in God.

So, that is all I have for now. I don’t know of anything else to say for now. I have been open and honest about my thoughts. Please don’t be upset about any of this. All of everything that has happened makes me think of the words: Shu wa subarashi, O nyami ye, Yesu nalavan, God is so good!!!!

Thank you all so very much for everything that you have done with all of the donations and prayers. It is a big blessing to all of us and to the Japanese and I know that God will surely bless you all for it.

One last thing I’d like to show you. If you click on this link, you will see on of the most amazing things ever. Someone did a graph of all the earthquakes since March 11 in Japan. We have had more 864 earthquakes since March 11, 2011 (this is as of April 1, 2011). Amazing! It shows the depth by color and the size of the circle shows how far it affected. Please check it out.  http://www.japanquakemap.com/

Please remember my dad, Brother Ishibashi, and Brother Dennis Datsomor as they will all be traveling tomorrow (Saturday, April 2nd, 2011) to go to Ishinomaki, one of the hardest hit cities, to deliver some goods to a couple different places. Please pray for God’s protection and traveling mercies as they travel.

Thank you all again for all of the prayers that have been sent up so far. Please continue to remember Japan and all of the Japanese. Domo arigatou from everyone in Japan!

Much thanks,

Rachel

Earthquake Update 3-30-2011

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Good afternoon everyone!

I just wanted to give you all an update on the earthquake/tsunami disaster.

Here are some pictures from the base where they have a tent area set up. We at first thought that maybe it was a decontamination area. Then an article got put out in the base newspaper that it was actually set up because they had run out of office space and they needed more room, so they set up these tents. But we though it was cool. Here are some of those pictures.

I don’t know if you can see the barb wire in here, but it is there.

Here is the door to get into the “camp” area. There is barb wire all around and the only way to get into the “camp” is through the door. And you can even see the Hummer here. I have never even seen a real military Hummer before. But here was my chance.

And here is the other side of the camp.

And here is the other side of the Hummer.

And here we saw these two guys carrying airplane parts into the hanger. I thought it looked like the front end of a spaceship, but then again, my thoughts come to me a bit odd at times.

And here are three guys walking around the camp. I don’t know if they were making rounds or what.

And while I’m on here, here are some pictures from Sunday services.

Here is my dad.

And here is little Dixon when he came up during the worship.

And here is Dixon clapping to the music also during worship.

And here is Brother Michael Addai.

And here is my dad praying for Sister Blessing Apedo.

And here are some of the brethren praying for Brother Ephriam’s cousin.

And here are a couple of the pictures that I didn’t put in the last entry but that I saw Sunday morning.

Here is Brother Watanabe and Brother Ishibashi taking rice bags up some stairs.

And here is a picture of the church service that was held, I think, in Brother Goshi’s house. Even with everything going on, they are still eager for church. It’s amazing. Sorry for the glare.

And here is baby Elizabeth sleeping. Isn’t she adorable?!?

And here are my parents getting ready to take a bike ride.

And that is all I have for now with the pictures.

This Saturday, my dad is going up to Sendai with Brother Ishibashi and Brother Dennis Datsomor. We went today and got some of the supplies, and some of the church members are going to be bringing some more supplies Friday and Saturday.  The team is going to leave Saturday afternoon. So please keep the team in your prayers. I know that will be very much appreciated.

That is all I have now. Please continue to remember Japan in your prayers.

Thank you so much for everything.

The Pounders family