Ishinomaki Relief Trip 4/16-17/2011

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.


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/


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