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Archive for June, 2011

Chichi no Hi Omedeto Gozaimasu

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Hi!!!

Before I go any further, I want to say Happy Father’s Day to three super special people: my daddy, and my two brothers, Chris and Justin. I love all y’all SO very much!!! And, although I wish every dad a Happy Father’s Day, I want to give a shoutout to a few people: Pastor Smith, Brother Burris, Brother Porter, Brother Hampton, and, although I just recently met these two people, Bishop Willoughby and Pastor Tim Lee. All these people, the ones I’ve known for what seems like forever and the ones I have just met, have all played a part in helping make me who I am today. My dad and my brothers have been around since the beginning so they have played probably the biggest part, my dad being a daddy, a pastor, a guidance counselor, a science (mostly chemistry and physics) tutor, and……everything else (there’s a whole laundry list of things I could write), and my brothers just being my brothers. Pastor Smith, who has been my Pastor for almost 9 years now (well, 7 if you subtract us being in Japan), has always stood up no matter what and preached the truth no matter what. (my dad does that, too! Actually, everyone in this list does). Brother Burris and Brother Porter, being the best youth leaders one could ever have (they were the only ones I ever have and I couldn’t have asked for a better pair of youth leaders!!). To Brother Hampton, well, we have known the Hamptons forever, but I think the two things that stand out the most are: 1). when we came to Japan (or right before we came). When we told Brother and Sister Hampton about it, they were SUPER excited!! They were more excited than I was, (that’s another story. I won’t go there right now.) and they weren’t even the ones coming! Brother Hampton said he was up all the next night because of how excited he was. And 2). when everything happened with my Paw-paw (wow, it’s been over a year already. I miss you Paw-paw!!!!!), Brother Hampton told my dad one day on the phone that he would love to be a Paw-paw to us, not to replace, but just to be there (I hope I’m getting that right). That really touched me. When my dad told us that, I bit my tongue to keep myself from breaking out crying again (and it felt like I was close to biting it off) not only from missing my Paw-paw, but from knowing that there was a couple that loved us enough to say that. I love y’all Brother and Sister Hampton!!! Okay, next on the list is Bishop Willoughby and Pastor Lee. First Bishop Willoughby (and you HAVE to read his book “Entering the Restricted Zone“). For those who don’t know, Bishop Willoughby is sick right now. He has had cancer for several years now and is very weak, BUT through all that, Bishop Willoughby has still remained strong in God. When we went to Singapore for DCD in December, just to watch Bishop Willoughby was amazing. When everyone would get to clapping, he would start slapping his chair on the arm and kicking his leg since he couldn’t clap. He still came to church every service even though he was very weak. He is holding onto the promises of God and standing strong. Although I only spoke to him for about 15-20 minutes one night after church during DCD, although I don’t know him very well, Bishop Willoughby has still inspired me. I think it was probably Bishop Willoughby’s words to us that really got me thinking about us staying in Japan. When him and Mikayla were telling us about LTD and Mikayla was telling us, “Oh you guys should come!” my dad looked at Rebekah and I and said, “If we go to LTD that might mean we have to stay in Japan longer.” We both looked at each other and said “Hmm, we might have to think about this some more.” Bishop Willoughby looked at Rebekah and I and said, “Give it up, girls! If God wants you to stay in Japan, He’ll make a way to keep you there.” That really got me thinking. Not just about staying for LTD, but the real meaning behind his words. I was trying to figure out just what he did mean. How far would God go to keep us, or more personally, keep me, in Japan? What all would He do? Did I want God to keep pushing us to stay? Did I want God to go as far as He would/could to keep us here? Probably not. But I think the second Bishop Willoughby said that was the second the lightbulb finally clicked on and reality hit me right upside the head: God can and will do whatever it takes to keep me where He wants me. If I still go against that, I’ve got huge problems and He probably needs to smack me on the head a few more times. I cannot go against God’s will. I am not stronger than God. He will find a way to bring me back by detour and I probably will not like the detour route. Anyway, to Bishop Willoughby, thank you for telling us that. And Pastor Lee, the pastor of Tabernacle of Joy (www.tabjoy.org). I met him in person on Sunday, June 12th, and that was the first time I’ve ever met him. I’ve watched all his messages online (his and Bishop Willoughby’s) at least once and some of them twice. But him and his wife, Sister Leah Lee, have also inspired me (everyone on this list has). I remember one night during Combined Camp there was a group of people sitting down. This group of people included: Tat, Adora (Pastor Lee’s oldest daughter), Rachel Lee, me, Li Lin, and Pastor Lee. He was just talking to us about anything and everything. Mostly he was talking to us about memories. That you might not laugh at something when it happens (and he was telling stories to go with it) but later down the road, you will laugh about it. But to cherish those memories and don’t take anything for granted. So, thank you to all the fathers in this and Happy Fathers Day!!!

CHICHI NO HI OMEDETOU GOZAIMASU!!!!!!

HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!

Since I’ve mentioned Sister Hampton and Sister Leah, and since I didn’t do this for Mother’s Day (I was planning to but when writing the blog it slipped my mind), I want to thank several women as well, in addition to Sister Hampton and Sister Leah. My mom, who has been a pastor’s wife, a mom, a teacher, guidance counselor, English tutor (THANK GOD!!! I’d choose physics and geometry over English anyday!), and the rest of the laundry list of things my mom is to us. Second is Sister Smith who has been one of my many role models (all the women on here are my role models) and my pastors wife for almost 9 years. Third is Sister Burris and Sister Porter, who are the best youth leader’s wives (actually in reality, they are youth leaders themselves) that anyone could ever want! And last but not least, although I never got to meet this person, but I know I would have loved her, too, and I have met her kids and her husband (I love y’all Meghan and Mikayla!!!), Sister Barbara Willoughby. Like I said, I’ve never met Sister Willoughby, and I won’t get the chance to meet her on this earth, but just from everything I have heard, read, and watched, she has already inspired me. For those who don’t know, Sister Willoughby had cancer for several years while her kids were still young (they are now 23 or 24, 22, and almost 16). The cancer went away and, then several years ago, she had a relapse. I know from videos I have watched on www.Apostoliclive.com and from www.tabjoy.org, she was still a worshipper. Even when things weren’t going right, even when she was in pain, she still went to church and still worshiped God. I still get amazed at seeing her in the videos up on the platform spinning circles with the microphone in her hand singing and praising God even though I’ve seen the videos several dozen times. So, hank you to all the mothers in this and Happy Belated Mother’s Day!!!

A few more people I am adding to these two lists are: all my grandma’s and grandpa’s and all my aunts and uncles. Y’all are the best EVER!!! Happy belated Mother’s day and Happy Father’s Day to all y’all!! Also, last but not least, Brother and Sister Lucas. I also wanted to thank y’all for listening to God and asking us to come to Japan. I know God was working in it all, but y’all are the ones that listened to Him and asked us to come. Because of that, I have an idea now what He plans to do in my life (although it took some time to figure that out). It amazes me how y’all keep going 24/7 (which, for those of y’all who don’t know the Lucas’s, is almost literally true). And thank you for all the encouraging emails that y’all have sent over the past 2 years. I really appreciate it! Thank y’all and love y’all! Happy belated Mother’s day and Happy Father’s Day to y’all as well!

Okay, so these first two pictures, I wasn’t going to put on here but I know if I don’t my dad will, so I’ll go ahead and do it.

During the Sunday School part of church, we did a slide show presentation from our trip to Ishinomaki (please read previous posts to see about that).

My dad also had Brother Omorefe speak about what he thought about the trip.

After my dad spoke about his thoughts, Rebekah spoke next and then my mom.

Next up was Brother Obi.

After we finished the presentation, we had the normal break and then the worship service, where we had a special service for our father’s. But, what my dad didn’t know, is that he had a special surprise waiting for him as well!!! More on that in just a minute.

While we were in Singapore, we (Rebekah and I) wanted to get something for my dad for Father’s Day, but we didn’t know what. So the two if us and Rachel Lee were talking about it the first day we got there, and when we saw this, we knew we had to get it. So we did! So Sunday morning, my dad looked at my mom and asked if there were any other announcements and she said no at first, then said, “Oh yes. I have one.” When she got up there, she turned to my dad and said, “I guess I have to repent because I don’t have an announcement but we do have something for you”. So she looked to us and we went up there and put this on him.

Brother Wisdom took these first four pictures.

I was laughing so hard!! We finally pulled one over on my dad!

And this one my mom took.

Now back to me being behind the camera!

Brother Daniel during the song service.

Sister Yokoyama.

Sister Victoria.

I think this was after the singing, but before the speaking.

David is so cute!!!

Even the young children were praying.

Peter’s adorable!! Actually, all the kids at Haijima are adorable!!!

Father and son.

Zion is one cute boy!

Sister Yokoyama praying with Sister Yamamoto.

My dad and Brother Yamamoto.

Pricilla!!!!

Wow! So many dads!!!!

Dixon is saying “Hey, what about me?”

This is the newest father. Although his and Sister Thomas’ baby hasn’t been born yet, they went ahead and had Brother Thomas come up.

And here is the oldest father, Brother Yamamoto.

Oops! I let the cat out of the bag just a tad too early. Here is the newest father again! He got a package of Singapore chocolates! Yum!!

Brother Daniel was trying to balance his Basken Robbins coupon and Dixon, and Pricilla was wanting to be held.

After church, we went to the base to grab a bite to eat, then we went back to the church to be there for the Japanese service.

Here is Brother Ishibashi.

Sister Yokoyama, Sister Igarashi, and Sister Ikeda.

And all the fathers from the Japanese congregation.

Brother Yokoyama.

All the fathers once again.

Here is the oldest dad, who is also Sister Yokoyama’s dad.

Actually, there were two oldest dads. Here is the other one.

At first, this dad didn’t want to take a Baskin Robbins coupon since he already had the Singapore chocolates, but they finally convinced him that he could have both.

My dad had been asked to speak for the main service for the Japanese congregation. Afterwards, when all the men were asked to come up, I snapped this of my dad and Brother Ishibashi praying together.

After the service, there was a fellowship that we had been invited to. And the food there was so good! But anyway, here are some pictures from that.

This girl is a cutie!

And so is her brother.

And the three boys of the Japanese congregation.

The only word to describe this one: CUTE!!! Okay, maybe adorable too!

Here is Sister Sato, Sister Ofori, and Sister Ikeda (from left to right).

Sister Sato with her two beautiful girls.

She’s a doll.

Michelle, Seika, and Grace.

Sister Yokoyama’s mom is so cute!!

Ai and Megumi.

I have no idea what my dad was laughing at, but I was laughing….just because he was laughing. I guess laughter really is contagious.

These two are cousins. Can you see the resemblance? I can.

There’s that smile I’ve been wanting for almost 2 years now!!!

There was a girl there Sunday for both the International service and the Japanese service that had the cutest little boy (all of them are the cutest). I got a lot of pictures of him (maybe like 10 or 20) but this is the only one where was smiling so this is the only one I’m putting on here. :-)

Okay that’s it for now. The next entries include pictures from Singapore. Yay!!

See you soon!!!

~Rach~

Singapore!!!: Sights Around Town & Church

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Hola!!

Oops, sorry, wrong country!

Anyway, I just wanted to share some pictures with all y’all from while we were in Singapore for Combined Camp 2011. But first, I want to say to all of my friends there, new friends and old friends both, that it was wonderful to see y’all again. I’m so so very glad that we were able to connect, some for the first time and others for the second time. Also, I will be getting some more pictures in a few days so when I get all those, I’ll putting up some more blog entries with all those pictures.

Now, Combined Camp 2011 had an age range from 8 years old to 30 (or so) years old. I know 8 because one of the people that went from the Tokyo Worship Tabernacle in Nakameguro, Brother Datsomor’s church, Justine, is 8 years old. Anyway, the camp was totally AWESOME!!!! Brother Joel Wright was the guest speaker. We were up from 6:00 am for morning prayer until 8:00 am. Then we had breakfast and at 10:00 am (was that the time? I don’t remember…) Brother Wright spoke. After that we had lunch, then an afternoon session where either Pastor Tim Lee spoke or the ROCK leader, Sam, spoke. Then we went back to the room for a bit to either rest or just chillax and talk to each other. After a time of rest (or some people stayed in the hall playing games) there was supper and then the evening service where Brother Wright spoke again. But I’ll start from when we left Japan on Friday night.

Ever since DCD, Rebekah and I have been SUPER excited about the possibility of going back to Singapore and being with Tabernacle of Joy again. While there for DCD in December, we felt a strong connection with the youth from Tabernacle of Joy. So we have been chomping at the bit to go back. But, Friday, after we finished packing, we all loaded up in the car I think about 1:00 pm to head toward Narita Airport. We didn’t realize how long it would take us to get there so we left super early and got there super early. We made it back to the gate and sat and waited, and waited, and waited…..oh yeah and then we did some more waiting. Okay, maybe it just seemed like forever but I don’t think it was actually that long in reality. But Rebekah and I passed the time by putting in some headphones and singing, between ourselves, to Royal Tailor and Mandisa and some other artists I don’t remember right now. FINALLY, they called our zone to board. Rebekah and I jumped up with the quickness, grabbed our carry-ons, fist bumped each other, and walked as quickly as we could to the line. All together, there were 10 people from Japan going.

These pictures were taken on the drive to Narita Airport. I thought this building looked like something only seen in a picture. It is all glass on the outside. I don’t think I could be in the building.

Here is the Tokyo Tower.

Rainbow Bridge, here we come.

This big tall thing in the center, that is the new Tokyo Tower, called the Tokyo Sky Tree. We were so far away, yet it was so big.

After a 6 1/2 hour flight, we finally landed in Singapore. By this point it was about 1:00 am on Saturday morning. We were all tired and we got immigration and customs and everything else. While walking out, we knew that Brother Jeff was going to be there to pick us up. So we were walking out the glass doors and I looked up and saw a very familiar face: WEN QI!!!! Then I saw Grace, and Seth Weida, and Bryon Loh, and then Brother Jeff! I yelled out Wen Qi’s name and waved. She waved back and they started walking toward us. Dennis Datsomor, who was with us, said he saw me wave and wondered what who I was waving at. Then he saw another arm go up in the crowd and knew it must be someone we knew. So after hugging Grace and Wen Qi, and shaking hands with the guys there, we headed to the van while catching up on the past 6 months.  We made it to the hostel, the Standfield Residence, where we said good-night and we went to bed.

At 11:00 am the next morning, were supposed to meet in the common room so we could head out for lunch and some sightseeing. Rebekah and I went to the common room at about 10:20 so I could plug my computer in to charge my ipod. We had been there about 10 minutes when I see someone walk up to the door, then she came into the room. She looked at us and said, “You must be Rachel and Rebekah.” I said, “Yes, that’s us.” She looked at me and said, “Do you know who I am?” I just look and look. I knew she looked familiar but I couldn’t remember where I had seen her. It either had to be someone from DCD or from a picture I had seen. I was like, “Ummm, I don’t think so. No….” She said, “I’m Li Lin!!” I jump up and hugged her. I felt so silly. I met Li Lin while watching services online on Ustream from Tabernacle of Joy. We started emailing each other right after the earthquake happened and we’ve been talking ever since. I’ve only seen two pictures of her since March so I’m claiming that and fatigue as my reason for not recognizing her. Love ya’, Li Lin!!!

This was at Market at Central (I think that’s right) where we stopped for lunch. Most of us had baked rice. I chose the chicken baked rice but there was also curry baked rice and several others. The manager there was really nice. We told him that we wanted to put him on the blog and he said to go ahead and then he gave us a card. To Mr. Perry Koh, thank you so very much! The meal was wonderful! If anyone ever has a chance to go to Singapore, stop here! He even played Christian music. Everyone was saying that he always plays Christian music whenever they come in. I thought that was really neat! His website is under construction right now but check it out later at www.themarketatcentral.com.sg.

So here we are eating. From the back left to right and around the table is: Brother Jovencio, Sister Mary Joy, Justine, Sister Alma, Brother Rowell, Elvin, Mark, Darrel, Dennis, Li Lin, and Shu Qiao.

Here we have: Zhiyi, Ranice, Rebekah, my dad, my mom, an empty spot where I sat, and then Rachel.

This was when we were getting ready to leave. The manager said he would take a group picture of us. I felt bad for him because there were like 6 or 8 camera’s for him to take the pictures on but he made it fun. Like here. From back left to front right we have: Zhiyi, Pei Ting, Rebekah, Rachel, Ranice, me, Shu Qiao, Li Lin, Brother Jovencio, Sister Mary Joy, Brother Rowell, my mom, my dad, Justine, Sister Alma, Dennis, Elvin, Mark, and Darrel. I love Mark’s shirt. It says, “Movies ruining the Book since 1920″.

This was outside of the building. This whole area was so pretty.

These boats look awesome!

I’m wondering if maybe these are hotel rooms or apartments. Man, I’d love to walk out on my patio every day and see this view.

Here is Rebekah, Rachel, and myself. It was funny because all through out camp, actually the whole time we were in Singapore, whenever someone would say “Rachel” we would both answer, or both go to them.

Here is are three of us. I really like this picture.

Here is the Raffles Hotel. This place was HUGE!!! But I love the outfit of the guy outside!

This was kind of neat, too. This was part of the Singapore Duck Tours. Ranice was telling us that it drives on the road and at a certain point, it drives right into the water, like the old amphibian military vehicles (I still remember that from 5th or 6th grade history! Yay!!!). Sounds…interesting.

Here is the Central Business District, or CBD.

This is a picture of a monument that we passed by. I don’t exactly remember what it was for, but it was so tall!

Here you can see the Singapore Flyer, a super huge Ferris wheel. And if I remember right, I think I read that each individual box is glass. Don’t hold me to that because I’m not for sure.

When we went to one of the malls that night (there are a ton of malls in Singapore and they are huge!) when we got hit with the air, Dennis started twirling around and everyone stopped right in the door.

This is, if I remember right, the oldest cathedral in Singapore. It was so pretty.

This was one of the government offices there but I don’t remember what type of government office it was. Maybe the courthouse?

A double-decker bus!!! Awesome! I’ve only seen one of these in Japan but they were all over the place in Singapore.

This is Chijmes, which began as a  Catholic convent known as the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. I don’t remember much else about it.

This building is super tall. Someone said, “Can you imagine being in that building during an earthquake in Japan?” And I didn’t even get the first several stories!

More Ducktours!

This was one cool building. The top looks like a boat. But we were told that the reason that one side is flat is because the builders ran out of money for the rest of the building so they had to stop. “But”, my dad added to the story. “there is no spiritual implication to that.”

Actually, now that I think about it, was this the courthouse?

The big boat again.

Here is the CBD again.

Group picture!!!!

Here is Brother Rowell, holding up the boat, using only his hands!! LOL!

HUH?!?!? My dad is only using 2 fingers??? Su goi!!!

This is the Merlion, the national symbol for Singapore. It is half mermaid (the bottom half) and half lion (the top). Pretty neat, if I can add my opinion.

This just amazes me!

Looking back at the CBD. I didn’t realize at first just how many building there were in there. Wow. Amazing!

Before I go any further, I would like to thank Ranice for being an awesome tour guide during all the days we went sightseeing before and after camp. You did wonderful, Ranice!! I’ll never forget “FOLLOW MY STICK (talking about a plastic umbrella cover that had been blown up)!!!” And she was also a great crossing guard! Thanks Ranice!!

Okay, now getting back on track, here are the four of us sitting in front of the floating boat.

This was at the Esplanade Theater, where a lot of old fashioned plays are produced. There was all sorts of cool things here as well.

No, we did not know these guys. But they played quite well.

I got an aerial picture of the Esplanade at night!

Actually it was just a photograph of the theater. We were there during the day but the picture was pretty none the less.

Here is Sister Mary Joy with Esplanade.

And Sister Alma.

And Dennis had to get his picture, too.

After visiting Esplanade, we went to a mall where we mostly just sat and played games at the McDonald’s there. We just wanted to rest for a bit and we had about 1 hour or so, so we just sat and played games. This was taken when we were getting ready to leave. We all wanted some pictures so first we did a regular picture then we did a couple goofy pictures. My camera ended up on a goofy picture (each camera had a different pose. On one picture, Rachel had pulled my ears out as I was smiling.)

That night, when we stopped to get something to eat, we were literally right next to the Singapore River. After eating, we started walking toward the river and we saw this along the way. A mini Eiffel Tower. Here is the reason for the tower as well.

The Singapore Flyer is beautiful when it is lit up at night. True fact: it takes an estimated 30 minutes to go fully around. WOW!!

This building (I hope you can see it) hasn’t opened yet, but it is going to be a place where people can experience all 4 season in one day (and not Singapore seasons).

This waterfall was outside of a shopping center where we went to a grocery store to get some things for the next few days.

I really like this picture. The building on the left, only half of it is the actual building, the other half is the reflection.

This was on Sunday as we were walking to one of the bus stations to head to church. This is the Capitol Building.

Li Lin!!!!! Love ya!! You weren’t able to take your glasses off this picture!

Ranice, tour guide, traffic director, and tomodachi!

While riding to the Spring Singapore, where Tabernacle of Joy holds their Sunday services, we passed through Chinatown. It was so pretty.

Here are Dennis and Justine on the bus headed toward the church.

SPRING SINGAPORE!!!!

This was right before we turned around the corner to get into the building the church was in.

YAY!!! A much welcomed sign, one I’ve been wanting to see in person since December.

Now for this next picture, there is a very special story behind it. While we were at Narita Airport, we were waiting for for boarding time when this lady that was sitting in front of my mom turned around and asked where we were from. So her and my mom started talking and by the time it was time to board, we had given her the name of Tabernacle of Joy and told her about the church and the youth camp we were going to and she told us that if she wasn’t doing anything on Sunday, she would come to church. Well, Sunday, when we walked in with Li Lin and everyone else, we saw her sitting in the back row. She turned around and said, ” I’ve been waiting for you to get here!” So we asked if my mom could get her picture with her. She said yes and then she included a Chinese lady (I think she was Chinese) that she had befriended that morning. The lady in the middle it the one we met at the airport.

After I went in and sat down, well set my things down, I was able to say hello to everyone else that I had met before. Brenda, Cheryl, Abbey, Adora, Mikayla, Sam, and many many others. It was so exciting! I didn’t know whether to laugh because we were all going crazy or cry because I was able to see everyone again.

Here is Brenda Lee speaking about the Kids Camp that they had. Brenda is Rachel’s older sister.

And here is Pastor Tim Lee. Sunday after church was my first time to actually meet him in person. I’ve watched every sermon on their website (www.tabjoy.org) at least once and several of them more than once. When I walked away, I was thinking, “OH. MY. GOODNESS!!! I just actually shook hands with Pastor Lee! I can’t believe it!”

After church, Pei Ting (the girl in the blue and gold) told all the delegates (everyone that came from overseas) who their “delegate friend” was. Mine was Rachel Lee. :-)

After church, we all walked and took the bus to Ikea where we had lunch, which was very delicious! These next few pictures were taken at Ikea. From left front to right front: Zhiyi , Li Lin, Pei Ting, Shu Qiao, Marissa (she is doing an internship in Saba at a church there), me, and Rebekah. For some reason, blue was a very popular color at church that day.

And Li Lin again!

Daddy, Dennis, and Mama.

This is Justine on the way home from church Sunday. He’s SO cute!!

Okay, I’m going to stop here for this entry. I have a lot of pictures and I don’t want to do to long of an entry.  Please continue reading to see pictures and a couple videos from camp.

Mata ne!

Singapore!!!: Combined Camp 2011

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Hello once again!!

Okay, so in the last entry, I was showing y’all pictures and stories from when we went sightseeing in Singapore. This entry is going to be about Combined Camp 2011. As previously mentioned in the first entry, the camp had an age range from at least 8 years old to 30 years old. I don’t know how old Pastor Lee’s oldest son is but I think he is around 8 years old. Most of the time, there are two camps, LTD (Living the Difference) Camp for ages 12-19 or 20 and 20-20 Mannafest for the young people from 20-30 years old. But this year the had them both combined. YAY!!! Okay I’ll get started.

I didn’t get many picture from the teaching/preaching/group talking sessions. There was too much to listen to to get pictures. But I did get several from the rest of the time. :-)

Here is Justine playing a games with some of the guys there. He loved this game. Every time I looked over there, he was there playing.

When I took this, I didn’t notice at first that Li Lin and Pei Ting were both posing. When I realized it, I looked up and them and just laughed with them.

Here is Mikayla Willougby. This girl is HILARIOUS!!!

More of the groups. I liked how they did this camp. Like, there were 8 people at camp that came from Japan. Each person was in a different group. I think they did that to get us out of our comfort zones a bit. Or a lot actually. :-D

Barak was giving me a look that, to me, said, ” Why are you getting my picture while I’m eating?” Sorry Barak!

Here are a couple pictures of Shu Qiao and Rebekah.

On Wednesday night, most of the people stayed up playing games until lights out time or in enough time to go get a shower and then go play games. Actually, we did that every night.

Well, I have several videos I wanted to share with you all, but they are all too big..hmmm..maybe one day you can see them. I really wanted you to be able to hear Meghan singing, but I can’t get them to upload. I’ll keep trying though.

Anyway, when Friday morning arrived, we were all so very sad to leave. We all had a great time during the free time, but we also had a great time during the services. I think every single one of us received something from camp.

During camp, we played a game called “Angels Unaware”. It is basically like a Secret Sister thing, or even Secret Santa, but just a different name. So on the first day of camp, we all drew names for our “mortal”. My mortal was a girl name Carissa. Anyway, all during camp, you give you mortal gifts, encouraging notes, Bible verses, just different things like that, meanwhile, someone is giving you gifts, encouraging notes, Bible verse, and whatever else. It was fun. But on Thursday night, after playing tons of games, we had and angel revealing night. Someone would go up there to the front and turn to the side and close their eyes. Su Fern, one of the girls I met there, would then say, “Would this person’s angel please come up?”. That persons angel would go up and stand behind them and it would just keep continuing and continuing until the line either got too long, or someone had left camp early. Then everyone in line would open their eyes and turn around one at a time from the front to the back until everyone had seen their angel. It was super funny to see the facial expressions when they would turn around and see who had been their angel. It was hilarious! After the angel revealing time was over, it was about 10:00 pm or so. Then everyone (well, most everyone. Maybe about 75%) stayed up until 3:00 am playing games. I was playing a game just like the Mofia game in the States, except this on had a Polar Bear, a detective, and then the villagers. There was Peter, and Wen Qi, Meghan, Barak, Mikayla, Rachel, Tai Yi, Ranice, Sam, me, Rebekah, and a lot of other people. I think there were maybe 15 or 20 people in our group. It was so much fun! I loved it!!

So Thursday morning came way too quick. No one got to sleep until 4:00 am or so and we had to be out of the rooms by 9:15 (by the way, the room(s) was one big area with about 15 bunks or so. The guys had about 25 or so bunks in their room. The girls had two rooms whereas the guys only had one room). So to get to sleep about 4 am and get up around 8:30 was not an easy task. Even when waking up to Grace’s “It’s a good, good, good, good, good, good morning!!!” was not as easy as it had been the first day. But we finally all got up and went to the hall to eat. Then we were taking “see-you-next-time” pictures (I didn’t want to say good-bye).

This is a picture of my angel, Stellar, and myself.

Here is Marissa with some different people there.

In this picture, we put out hands in the center on top of one another and then we see someone running up. We start to take our hands away and she’s like “No! Keep them there!” So we did! The people up top are: Rebekah, Tai Yi, Shu Qiao, Shee Ping, Li Lin, Sister Alma, Rachel, and Rachel (me). I think, if I remember right, that the name of the girl on the bottom is Viro. There were so many name I was told that I don’t remember them all. Hopefully next time I can get the rest down.

This is the card we all made for the Wrights. Actually, some of the other girls made the card, everyone else just signed it.

Here is Marissa and Li Lin.

Rebekah and I with Marissa and Li Lin.

We were all acting a bit goofy on Thursday right before we left. Actually, come to think of it, we were acting goofy all week! Lol!! In this picture, from left to right: me, Mikayla, Rachel, and Marissa.

Here are the four of us again with Brother Wesley Whitehead in the back (I found out this week from Brother Wesley that he used to know Brother Lucas back when Timothy was much younger. Such a small world). At first, Mikayla didn’t want to be the one that was being held, but when we told her that she was the lightest between us four girls, she said okay.

Two super funny and super awesome people (actually everyone is awesome!!)

Here we are (we being Li Lin, Nalani (red shirt), and myself) with the people from Indonesia. Love all y’all from Indonesia!!! In this picture is Devina, Monica, and Karissa (that’s not the right order but I hope that’s okay).

Now, that is all I have from camp. But Friday we went to do more sightseeing, once again with Ranice as the tour guide. So, if you continue to read, you’ll see the last few pictures that I took from Friday. Thanks!!!

Singapore!!!!: Sights Around Town Part II

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Aloha!!

Well, I’m almost done showing the pictures that I took from Singapore (this trip   :-)    ). I have the pictures the Dennis took, so I’ll be doing an entry later on that but I’m almost done with all my pictures.

So, Thursday, after we got back from camp, we just rested and Friday we went out to do some more sightseeing.

This picture was taken at the Bartley station (the station closest to the Stansfield). This was on the wall. Under the glass are thousands (okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating JUST a little. Maybe there were only hundreds) of coins. I think remember if these were the 10 cent coins or which coin they were . Someone mentioned that if you ever got broke while riding the train, just break the glass and get what you need. Then someone else mentioned that you’d probably need a fortune just to get all the coins out, much more than a train ticket would cost.

Wow. When we saw this train, I felt at home (my second home. Ranice told me I have three homes now: the US, Japan, and Singapore). It looks so much like Japan.

This also made me feel at home. We have one of these close where we used to live.

One of the malls we went to had a store totally devoted to Converse. I had to get a picture. I like converses but I’ve not found a store (yet) in Tokyo that has all converses. And the red (or is it orange) sign is totally my thoughts, as well!

Here is Justine in front of a Transformer add. He LOVES Transformers.

ORCHARD ROAD!!!! Yay!!!

I thought this was AWESOME!!! When we saw this, I was SO surprised! But Ranice and Shu Qiao said that this particular mall was a privately owned mall and that since it was a privately owned mall, this was allowed on the wall. Su goi!

This is the SAM: the Singapore Art Museum.

And we all laughing at this picture. Ranice had gotten some cotton candy first and she asked the guy like 2 or 3 times to make it big and then he gave it to her. When Justine got his, he didn’t ask at all (partly because he only speaks Tagalog and Japanese) and the cotton candy stick was bigger than his head. We kept thinking he was going to get it stuck to his head, or stuck to a pole or something, because it was SO huge! It was bigger than his head!!!

Ranice was trying hard to get her phone out and take a picture of this pink truck before the light changed.

Finally I was able to visit the great Chinatown, where Tabernacle of Joy used to be located, until about 2 months ag0.

These buildings were huge, although not as big as some we saw down there.

I love this shirt! I might just have to get one when we go back. For those who don’t know, in Singapore, sometimes (okay, a lot) at the end of a sentence, the word “Lah” is added. But they also use “Leh” and “Lor” as well.

This was great too. How many people enjoy the ice cream man on a hot day? We did! Ranice told us the ice cream sandwich was the best, so we got one. And the man was really nice.

The ice cream sandwich was literally a sandwich. A slab of ice cream (a thick slab) on a slice of bread. Oishi!!!

This was in Chinatown while eating on Friday night. Peter said he didn’t know who was the tourist, me or Ranice, because we were both taking pictures.

This looks so English-looking.

Shee Ping (left) and Ranice (right) making faces at each other. Awww, show the love.

Group picture taken by, I think, Sister Carol. In the back from left to right is: Peter, Tat, Ranice, me, Sister Alma, Brother Rowell. In the from is (also from left to right): Shee Ping, Shu Qiao, Sister Mary Joy, Brother Jovencio, and Li Lin. At this point Pei Ting had taken Dennis and Justine to Toys R’ Us to exchange some toys.

Ranice, Shee Ping, Shu Qiao, and Sister Alma.

Sister Mary Joy and Sister Carol.

Li Lin and Peter (Sorry these next two are a bit blurry. We were on the train and a moving train and a photographer don’t mix very well).

And here is Tat with both of them.

Sister Carol wanted to get a group picture while we were on the train so at one of the stops she snapped this picture. We took up the whole back of this car.

Once we got back to Stansfield, I went and got Rebekah (we had taken her back because she wasn’t feeling well) from the room and we asked a girl that was on the computer in the common room to take a picture of all of us. Sorry if it is a bit dark.

From back left to back right: Brother Rowell, Sister Alma, Peter, Dennis, Tat, my mom, my dad. Far front left to front right: Pei Ting, Li Lin, Sister Mary Joy, Justine, Brother Jovencio, Shu Qiao, me. Behind me is Ranice and Rebekah.

Li Lin and myself. I was looking at the wrong camera.

Here is Sister Mary Joy, Li Lin, and Sister Alma.

The guys wanted their pictures, too! Brother Rowell, Brother Jovencio, Peter, Dennis, and Tat (L to R).

This was EARLY Saturday morning (I mean like 3 am) at Changi Airport in Singaore. We passed by this photo station and we all got a picture here.

Dennis was first in line.

Then Sister Alma.

Rebekah and I just HAD to get our pictures, too!

3-D photo shoot! Go Daddy!!!

Brother Rowell and Sister Alma.

We passed this going to our gate but I think you were supposed to see it when you came it.

Once we finally boarded the plane, I sat down, stowed my bags, buckled up, and was asleep before the plane even started to taxi. I woke up when the plane started to taxi thinking that was the quickest flight I have ever been on and that was the smoothest landing I’ve ever felt (and I’ve been through plenty of both to know). When I looked out, it was still dark so I knew we were still in Singapore.

One thing I love about flying is to cloud watch. The clouds look so much different when above them than when below them. This was when we were about 2 hours from Japan

You could actually see a wake in the clouds from the wings of the plane (is that what it is called?)

Once I finally got awake enough to stay up more that a few minutes, it was almost time to land in Narita. I never realized that there were bushes shaped like “Narita” before.

Well, after this we went home, unpacked, ate, and went to bed at a reasonable hour (I think 10 pm or so). And that’s it!!!

I’ll be putting up more pictures later from camp because now I have Dennis’ pictures (I’ll get those CD’s done in just a bit, Dennis) so I’ll be adding those as well.

Thanks for the prayers. Please continue to remember Japan in your prayers. It is much appreciated.

Much love,

Rach

Singapore!!!: Pictures from Dennis Datsomor

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Bonjour!

Okay, so this is going to be my last post for at least a week maybe 2 but I wanted to go ahead and get these on here before I forgot. These are all pictures that I were given to me by Dennis.

Behind us in this picture is the CBD (Central Business District).

This is at one of the train stations Saturday late morning, early afternoon. In here is Brother Jovencio (with the camera), Li Lin, Ranice, and Zhiyi.

This one is much better than the one I got. Elvin and Darrel are looking in this picture.

Awww!! Sister Alma and Brother Rowell. How cute!

Mark (sometimes called Marky) and Darrel.

Unposed-for pictures are sometimes the best. Elvin and Mark.

Brother Jovencio and Sister Mary Joy.

And both of them with Justine.

Mr. Koh from the restaurant (www.themarketatcentral.com) told us in this picture “Hands up everybody!”

Pei Ting, Zhiyi, Rebekah, Ranice, me, Darrel (behind me), Shu Qiao, Li Lin, Sister Alma, Dennis, and Mark. Rachel, my mom, my dad, Brother Jovencio, Sister Mary Joy, Brother Rowell, Justine, and Elvin.

This hotel was beautiful but I think they said quite expensive.

Here is our wonderful tour guide, Ranice!!!!

This guy was at the mall that we went to Saturday evening. He was juggling and playing the piano at the same time.

These, if I remember right, I think these were people dressed up and painted. They would stay still for a bit then move very slowly. You can tell they (and Dennis too) switched positions from the two pictures.

Here is the Esplanade Theater. Pei Ting told us, I think it was this place, some people thinks it looks like a fly’s eyes but the buildings were built to resemble the shape of a durian, which is a fruit that has a very strong, and interesting,….I don’t know whether to call it an odor or a scent, that is well known. I actually tried it while in Singapore and no I do not like it. :-)

CBD again!!

Milo truck!!! Yay!! And it was cold, that’s even better!

Merlion!!

I want to know how long it took to make this.

At McDonalds after an hour of chillin’ and playing games.

This is funny. Once we got to this particular mall, we decided to meet at an area where they were having a Barney meeting. A Barney character was up on stage singing “I love you, you love me.” Once everyone found out that Dennis doesn’t like (it’s a little stronger than that) Barney AT ALL! Once Li Lin found that out, and several others (including me), we started saying Barney sayings to him. That was also funny!

Huh? I thought we were in Singapore, not Egypt!

Singapore Flyer!!!!

This is the place where you can experience all four seasons in one day.

I think this is CBD all lit up. Pretty, pretty, pretty ( :-)   Daddy!)

Heading to church!

I was so happy to step into this place. Hugs were flying left and right and so were low screams .

How many have ever gone to Ikea to hang out? We have!!! And it was super fun!!

And now, camp time! I’m not for sure which night, or if it even was night.

I actually think these were taken during morning prayer.

And these maybe Wednesday night.

This is Dennis’ group members, minus himself.

Yes, during camp everyone was broke up into groups. And like, of the 8 people at camp from Japan, there were no two of us in the same group. My group consisted of: Rachel Lee, Phoebe, Su Fern, Cheryl, Abbey, me, Carissa, and Marissa. I love you guys!!!

These were the boxes for the Angels Unaware game.

This was during the last night of camp, Thursday night.

Here is D.B. (Duane Black) and Dennis.

And some of the guys playing the Singapore version of hacky-sack (yes, I have that info from a trusted source. When asking Sam what it was, he was trying to explain it. I asked if it was like the Singapore version of hacky-sack. Barak said yes it was.).

And here we are saying good-bye to the Brother Joel and Sister Kate Wright.

This was also Thursday night, but while we were playing the games. I volunteered for the sharp-shooter game….and I didn’t get it. I was supposed to know over 3 playing cards held up by a clothes pin (one card per clothes pin).

The moon was beautiful that night. Actually, there was a eclipse that night that about 10-15 of us girls stayed outside to watch. It was so cool!!!

And here is another photo that Dennis sent me today of his group. I don’t know everyone’s names here but that’s okay. I know Wen Qi and Stellar are the two girls. Dennis is right behind them and the Kheng is on the far right.

And I just received some pictures from Rachel Lee.

This is myself, Rachel (making the face), and Marissa.

And this is while we were eating Friday night. Okay so Friday morning I tried frog porridge and found out the frog really does taste like chicken; a little more chewy, but same basic taste. The second odd thing (well, odd for U.S.) is pig intestines. I am SO serious!! And, more amazing,….it was actually good!!! They probably weren’t going to let us leave without tasting it but it was actually quite tasty. Here is one picture with all four pictures that Rachel took, then I break them down so you can see them better. Look at it this way: top right, top left, bottom left, bottom right. Narration: 1)”Let me get this over with. Is it going to be good?” 2) “Do I really like this? I think I do.” 3) “I really do like this.” 4) “This is pretty good!”

Dennis and I were both thinking the same things. How do I know? Afterward Tat and Peter, who I was standing next to (Tat’s head is in the bottom two pictures) were asking what we thought and we were both saying the same things and then looking at each other and saying, “Yeah exactly!!” So yeah, I now like frog porridge and pig organ-something. Not to bad!!!

Okay, that’s all the pictures I have from camp for now. I probably won’t be doing another blog entry for another 3 weeks or so, unless something really huge comes up.

Thanks so much to everyone in Singapore for going out sightseeing with us and just hanging out. I had a blast and I know everyone else did, too! I love and miss all y’all and I can’t wait to come back. To everyone, Ranice, Cheryl, Rachel, Li Lin, Grace, and EVERYONE else there, thank you and we appreciate everything!!

Will write again soon,

~Rach~

Relief Trip 5-28-2011: Driving Time

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Good morning!

I hope everyone is doing well today and I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day.

Well, as a lot of you know, this past weekend we went to Ishinomaki on another relief trip. This team included: Brother Yokoyama, Brother Ishibashi, Brother Fred Omorefe, Brother Obi, my dad, my mom, Rebekah, and myself. While we were there, we went to a place where none of the other relief teams have gone; a place called Onnagawa. And Sunday, we went and spent the day with the Mizuno family as well as handing out some supplies. Over the next few entries, I’m going to be showing pictures from this trip. There are so many pictures (1230+ that I took alone plus Brother Ishibashi’s, Brother Yokoyama’s, and Rebekah’s pictures) so I’m going to be doing a separate entry for each of the places: one for Ishinomaki, one for Onnagawa, one for the road trip down there, and one from the Mizuno’s house. Once I start getting into the later entries, and maybe even this one, there will not be a lot of explaining, as the pictures can explain themselves. But I will say one thing, the saying of  ”a picture says a thousand words”…..even a thousand words could not explain or describe what is to be seen up north, especially in Onnagawa.

Okay, so this entry, as told in the title, is going to be about the drive time on the way to Ishinomaki. I’ll explain as much as possible.

Here is the church van that Brother Yokoyama, Brother Ishibashi, and the four of us were in. That sign says “Japan United Pentecostal Church” (I think in Japanese that it ‘Nihon Yunaitedo Pentekosute kyokai’. Please correct me if I spelled that wrong, someone).

This was at one of the first rest stops. This is a JSDF (Japan Self-Defence Force) truck.

Here is another sign that was on the van. This says: ” Konpashon Sabisu Intanashonaru” or translated “Compassion Services International”.

Now, as we were getting into Sendai, we started seeing a lot of rice paddies. We later found out that that area was well known for their rice.

Notice the last name? Fukushima   196 km.   :-)

The mountains were very pretty on the way up. The fog was a little thick about half-way up the mountain and with all the country side, it looked like a painting.

More JSDF trucks.

As we starting getting further into Sendai and getting closer to the coast, we started seeing patches on the road where the road had been cracking during the earthquake but it was now patched up. Some places it wasn’t patched up that well and you wouldn’t know that till you hit it and everyone would go “Umph!!” or “Woah!” and sometimes from Rebekah and I “Cool!” Once Brother Ishibashi said, “Sorry!” but I told him it was okay. My mom then told Brother Yokoyama “The bumps are half of the fun!” which was true…unless your head was on the window when you hit the bump. :-D

Can you see on the edge here where the side was cracked? There is a couple inch bump right on the edge of the expressway here.

The road rolls here and it isn’t just from major use. It’s stuck from the earthquake.

More people going up to help. I don’t know exactly where they were going, but we passed a bunch of them.

Look at this storm rolling in. Actually, we had a typhoon while up there so it was raining almost the whole time we were there. But thanks to my dad, he rented a couple canopies to take up there so we could still have the barbecue with the Mizuno’s (more on that later).

This was on the opposite side of Fukushima. Not too close to the power plants.

As we started getting closer to the coast, we started seeing houses with tarps on the roofs because the roofs were damaged from the quake.

And debris in the fields…or what used to be fields. I think these were also damaged but I think these were by the tsunami.

This is what got these people.

Piles of debris. And this is just the beginning.

And last but not least, this was on the way back on Sunday night (about 9:00 or 10:00 pm or so). I had seen a JSDF truck on the way up there and Brother Yokoyama said he would go with me so I could get my picture with them. I said no, that we could keep going. But on the way back, I decided to go ahead and do it. I mean, I might not have the chance to get my picture with some again. So we were walking out of the rest stop somewhere in Sendai and while we were waiting for my dad to get his kohi (coffee), we saw these two JSDF people walk by and I told my dad yes, I wanted to get my picture with them. So I did. These two ladies were kind enough to allow me to get me picture with them!

Okay, that is all I have from the road trip. There are not any more pictures of scenery from the way back because after what I saw in Ishinomaki and Onnagawa, the rest of it seemed….like nothing at all. So I didn’t worry about that. Plus, they wouldn’t have turned out very good since it was getting dark.

Please continue reading the following entries to read about the rest of the trip.

Relief Trip 5-28-2011: Ishinomaki: Sights Around Town

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Hello again.

Since I have so many pictures from Ishinomaki, I wanted to break up the Ishinomaki entries as well. So this will be the last from Ishinomaki.

After handing out supplies, we went a little further into town, heading toward the hotel, even though we weren’t checking in yet. This was right next to the hotel. Right across and down the street.

We past the hotel and the driver (I don’t remember if it was Brother Ishibashi or my dad) took us around town a bit. This was on the good side of the river.

And now we are on the bad side of the river. It’s not bad as in crime, just bad as in it got hit the worst.

Do you see how the sidewalk is rolling sort of?

Do you see the boat at the far end? Yeah, it’s not supposed to be there.

At this point, my dad was driving. Actually, if I remember right, he was driving from the time we left the city office after handing out supplies. And I can see Brother Ishibashi’s shirt.  ;-)

Yes, that is a boat and it was large boat.

Here is one of the evacuation centers.

And this is not zoomed in. I was actually this close. Some of the things looked like they were close enough that we could have reached out and touched it had the window been down.

The weather fit the mood: cloudy with a chance of rain, and most of the time teary eyed. At least for me.

This used to be a koban, or a police station.

This big black thing…yeah, that’s a roof.

That pink that inside of the house is a car.

Here is the evacuation center close to the Mizuno’s house.

And here are more JSDF people.

Even the rock walls are rolling.

Okay, that is all I have for this entry. The next entry will be showing from when we were handing out supplies in Ishinomkai. But you’ll have to wait to find out about that. Please continue reading.

Relief Trip 5-28-2011: Ishinomaki: Handing Out Supplies

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Hello.

In the previous entry, I discussed the road trip up to Ishinomaki. In this entry, I’ll be telling and showing about while we were in Ishinomaki. But before I go on, I would like to clarify the titles. We left on the 28 June but we didn’t get home until late Sunday night 29 June. I just put the date we left Tokyo on the titles. Also, these pictures all got mixed up because I had two different cameras and three different memory cards. So I might mention/show one thing then jump back in time, then forward a lot. I hope it still makes sense to you all.

Okay, now, the first thing we did was drive to the Ishinomaki City Office, where Brother Yokoyama and Brother Ishibashi got information on what shelters needed what supplies and which shelters were doing good with supplies. While they were talking, I got some pictures.

This was inside the City Office. I know I showed a picture of this before that either my dad or Brother Ishibashi took but it is still here.

Here are all the lists of missing people (actually I looked a little bit ago: 15,000+ dead, 8,000 missing still) and some of it had something to do with the shelters. Maybe names of people in the shelters. I don’t know for sure. There’s my mom.

And here’s Brother Ishibashi.

This is a sign that was made by some Latin Americans for Japan.

And another sign. I don’t know for sure where this one was from.

This is still inside the City Office.

There were several cracks in the wall from the earthquake. There were more cracks and stuff, but I didn’t get them all.

There was even a JSDF truck like 8 spots down and across from the van. COOL!

AND there was one outside.

This was just entering into Ishinomaki.

We past this as we were getting close to our hotel. It’s temporary housing.

After this, we went to a little village called Onnagawa, but that’ll be in the next entry. After returning to Ishinomaki from Onnagawa, we went to a place called Bikuri Donki, which means, if I remember right, Crazy Donkey. We had a good time talking there, the four of us, Brother Yokoyama, and Brother Ishibashi. Then we went to the hotel. By the time we got back, it was dark. I wrote in my journal a bit about the day, then we hit the hay (about midnight). Rebekah and I were roomed together (they had two to a room) so we talked about everything we had seen and what we had heard even after the lights were out. But 15 minutes later, I was gone.

The next morning we woke up, got breakfast, Japanese style (yummy!), then went back up to the room to get our things. That’s when I got this picture. The truck had been outside our room the whole night. And I’m serious. It was directly across from our window.

Anyway, then we went to my mom and dad’s room where we did the devotions. Brother Yokoyama had asked each set of people to read two scriptures. One was Psalm 23 and the other was Luke 1:26-38. We were talking (in our group) about how in Psalms 23, where it mentions walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Onnagawa was most definitely the valley (which it was in a valley) of the shadow of death (almost everyone in that town is gone) but how we do not need to fear evil. God is with us and he took us there for a reason. He won’t take you somewhere just to leave you for the wolves to get. And in my words, He did lead us beside still waters. The waters have not always been still but they were while we were there. And He let us find a place to stay that is now up and running and where things can be considered good to some people. A place that is green with life. That’s what it is like on the one side of the river in Ishinomaki. Green with life.

Anyway, we had to go back across the river to the part of Ishinomaki that was hit harder. We pulled into a little parking lot near some apartment complexes, then we left the truck and Brother Omorefe and Brother Obi there while everyone in the van left to go take a look around. After getting a good view of the area, Brother Yokoyama, Brother Ishibashi, and I all started walking to go tell people that we were handing out supplies. Brother Yokoyama let me come along to get pictures but they were the ones doing all the hard work doing the actual talking.

This is one of the areas we stopped at.

Here is Brother Ishibashi and Brother Yokoyama talking to one of the men we met along the way.

Some of the sights that we saw while walking. These don’t need any explaining here.

The buildings are up from the ground.

Yes, this is a brick wall down below.

Here is Brother Ishibashi talking to one of the ladies that we met.

This is what we saw around one corner, YAY!! The tent!!!

By the time we got back to the truck, everyone else had gotten the canopies and tables set up and had most of the supplies out, ready for people to come. About 5 minutes later, the people started coming.

Here are some of the things that we had to give out.

This little girl was so adorable! There is a little story about her. My mom first went to take her a couple homemade sweets that some of the church people had made. Then I took  her a few more. She was just so cute! Then I took her a backpack that some people from Yokota Air Base made. Then her and her grandpa left. The grandpa came back with a bag to get more things. Then he left. A few minutes later, the little girl was back with her mom. The mom got a few things, left, and then the grandpa came back with the little girl. But this time the little girl had something in her hands. The grandpa said something to Brother Ishibashi and then Brother Ishibashi squatted down and said something to the little girl. I looked over and the little girl was just looking at us. I thought she was probably thinking, “Su goi! Gaijins! (Cool! Foreigners!)”. Then the girl gave something to Brother Ishibashi and then Brother Ishibashi motioned for me to go over. Then I saw what she had. She had some origami cranes in her hand. Brother Ishibashi had given them back to her. I squatted down next to her and Brother Ishibashi tried to explain something to me but ended up shaking his head and then said something to the girl, “Dozo (Go ahead)”. The girl handed me two cranes of the cranes, then the rest. She kept her hand on mine while handing me the cranes while Brother Ishibashi took our picture. She was such a sweet little girl. There is just something about all those little children up there that grabs my heart. I don’t know what it is, but I hurt for them so bad.

Apostolic Lighthouse Church in Dayton, this is to you: Your donations helped these people! Remember that.

We had received some free Max Lucado childrens books that we were handing out to children and young people.

Here is that little girl again and her mom.

It’s a wonderful thing to feel when you see someone’s face light at when they see something they need.

And this is when I finally saw what what that one little girl had.

Here are a couple of the people that came right as we were closing up.

Here is Brother Ishibashi talking to one of the ladies that came later as well.

At the end, we were preparing bags to hand out right from the truck.

And last, but most certainly not least, here is that little girl again. They were both watching us as we were packing up and the little girl kept waving and saying “Bai Bai!!”

This is the wall at the house right next to the parking lot where we were.

Relief Trip 5-28-2011: Onnagawa Village

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Hello once again.

The past few entries have been about Ishinomaki and the trip there. This entry is going to be about a little village we came across called Onnagawa. This village has been totally destroyed. There is almost nothing left. But you can see that for yourself here.

As we were driving, we saw what looked like something that used to be a small town or something like that. So everyone said basically “Let’s go!” So we did. This is what we saw.

This was up on a small hill right next to Onnagawa.

The only houses left whole were concrete houses and a couple of those were flipped on their side.

This used to be a supermarket.

Honestly, I cried seeing all this.

This is how close we were to the inlet. Had we stepped out of the van, we would have taken about three steps right into the sea water.

This greem part is the bottom of the house.

I don’t know if I said this earlier, but the weather matched the scene: gloomy, sad, misty…all the above.

That road back behind this building doesn’t look stable enough to drive on. I’m sure it is fine, but I don’t know.

You can see here where the foundations of a couple houses were. Now nothing is left but the foundation.

Here, the water carried debris at least half-way up this small mountain. There could possibly, and there probably is, debris higher, but we couldn’t see it from where we were.

On this building on the right, the water went at least to the 5th story because the railing on the stairs on top is bent. I also hope you can see where the water lines are.

This railing on the 6th floor was also bent.

This building right in the center is on it side and it is a concrete building.

These men were working hard, just as everyone was, to try and restore Ishinomaki and Onnagawa. These people, actually all the Japanese people, have really amazed me during all this. Ishinomaki is looking quite good taking into consideration what happened almost 3 months ago.

With this three story building in here, you can see how the tsunami first came in and how it pushed the top of the building over a tad.

Here are all of us standing in Onnagawa. We didn’t really feel right to smile, as to what we were seeing. But my dad took it from a couple different directions, then Brother Ishibashi took a picture of the rest of us.

This was in the Onnagawa Hospital. We were, I think, 5 or 6 stories up from where the water was and the water level went up to here on my mom.

This looks like it should belong, but I know it doesn’t. On this one room in the hospital, there were fish sticky-things on the wall (I know that isn’t the official term for it, but the name isn’t coming to me right now) and then the line where the water went.

I think this is the direction this picture is supposed to go, but I’m not quite for sure. I spent a minute or two yesterday (or was it the day before?) trying to figure out which direction this picture was supposed to be turned. But I’m pretty sure this is the right way.

You can see how the water came up the ramp going to the hospital by how the railing is bent. Water is very strong, whether it is used for getting people’s attention, like the tsunami, or for saving people, like baptism. :-)

This building, Brother Yokoyama told us, is an evacuation building for all emergencies OUTSIDE OF A TSUNAMI. I have wondered if maybe some people were in there, maybe seeking protection from the earthquake, when the tsunami hit.

There is the hospital up on the hill.

We also came across some one’s photo albums. In this box there was also some one’s graduation year book.

I found Y11 on the ground. It’s not much, but it does make you think and realize that money isn’t everything. It will one day be gone, covered in mud, and not able to help you at all.

Something so beautiful is broken and mud-covered.

I don’t know who saw this first, but a clock was found sitting next to a house, frozen on the time that the tsunami hit: 2:48 and 58 seconds.

This is Brother Yokoyama and my dad seen talking to a young lady that we met up there. She and her brother had just found her house the day before (on the 27th of May) “far away from here” were her words. Everyone in her family is safe, but they were telling us that they were in the cafe part of the hospital and saw when the tsunami came in. There were many people down exactly where we were standing, that had been swept away by the waters. They were watching the tsunami come in but no one realized until it was too late that the water, when it was going back out, came up the ramp to the hospital, sweeping away everyone that was there. This girl and her brother were saying that they heard people screaming “Tasukete! Tasukete! (Help! Help!)” and they could not help. The brother said that they keep hearing the screams and see the faces in their minds, but there is nothing that will stop it. They could not help those people.

Okay, that is all I have for Onnagawa. Please continue reading for pictures from while we were at the Mizuno family’s house.

Relief Trip 5-29-2011: Mizuno Family Barbeque

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Once again, hello!

This is the last entry from our time in Ishinomaki/Onnagawa. Sunday morning, we went and spent some time with the Mizuno family, a family that the first relief team met. Let me say one thing first, this family is one of the nicest, sweetest families I’ve ever met. While there, we had a cookout for them, American style and they loved it! I did too! I am honored that I was able to go on this trip and to be able to meet this family. Thank you for allowing us to go, Brother Yokoyama.

This is as we were preparing the food and getting everything ready.

Everyone in the Mizuno family said that they wanted to do the burgers “the American way” so that’s what we showed them.

I took a short break from taking pictures because I was eating and listening to the stories that everyone was telling about when the tsunami came in.

This couple lost their son in the tsunami. This was a very sweet couple as well. Brother Yokoyama asked them when they were getting ready to leave, as we were giving them some supplies, if we could pray for them. They received it well and said yes, we could pray for/with them. So we did.

And here are the two Mizuno girls. They were both sick that day with a fever and a cold but they were out for a while with us anyway.

Here are Rebekah and I with Mrs. Mizuno and their two girls.

Us with their oldest daughter.

Here is the whole Mizuno family. Those girls are cuties!

Everyone was smiling!

Here is the Mizuno family along with Mrs. Mizuno’s parents and brother.

Then my dad decided to jump in.

Everyone together.

I love the way Brother Ishibashi and Brother Obi had their towels on their heads. :-D

And then we wanted a team picture.

This was at the end when we were getting ready to leave. Something neat happened right before this. I saw Mizuno-san and his mom talking and I heard “Amerika-jin” and “Paundasu-san”. I knew they were talking about us but I didn’t know why. Then I saw Mizuno-san cleaning off these beautiful plate-type things that were still mud-caked from the tsunami. Then I saw Mizuno-san’s mom trying to give it to Brother Yokoyama. Come to find out later, she wanted to give these things to our family. She thought that it would be special to us since we were American’s. It is a wedding plate. These plates are handed down through the generation to each child as they get married. She gave us two. We all started crying when Brother Yokoyama told us. He said that she told him they were at least 200 years old and worth a lot now. My mom said that Rebekah and I will each get one when we get married. I told Rebekah that I’m going to make my kids promise never to give them away or sell them. And I’ll make them promise to make their kids promise never to get rid of them, and on down the line. These things will always be precious and very special to me. Not that I will ever forget this family, but this just adds to it.

When we were getting ready for this picture, the oldest Mizuno girl came over beside me. I was squatting down and she tried to sit on my lap. I put one knee down because I didn’t want to fall and hurt her and then I put an arm around her. When I put my knee down, she slid in closer to me and pulled my arm tighter around her, then grabbed my other arm and pulled it tight around her, then she did the peace sign. After this picture, I hugged her for a second longer, then let her go before saying, “Ja mata ne” in which she replied, “Mata ne”. In English, “I’ll see you again, right?” and “I’ll see you again” (I think that’s correct translation).

I cropped this picture from this big one.

To the Mizuno family, I know I only just met you this once, but I love y’all so very much and you are always in my prayers. Mata ne!!

That is all I have from this past relief trip. Thank you for all of your prayers.

Much love,

Rachel