I have just returned from another visit to Rikuzentakata (陸前高田), Japan in support of ongoing relief efforts. I traveled with brother, Shinozaki, minister for the Numazu congregation. We went to the Iwate-prefecture bringing a variety of aid items and supplies. Beyond taking relief provisions, our purpose for traveling to Rikuzentakata was to do what we could to bring about encouragement and hope. To say that the people in this area of northern Japan are in a state of despair would be an inaccurate depiction of their plight. To indicate many are discouraged and downhearted would be a more accurate portrayal. The Japanese people have exhibited great determination and resilience in the face of what they have had to endure. Notwithstanding, the magnitude of what has taken place as a result of the disaster— most certainly has taken it toll on many at a tremendous cost.
While participating in the various relief expeditions over the weeks, I have bore witness to what seems to be a quiet resolve in the faces of some and on the other hand, what seems to be a sense of frustration on the countenances of many. Unwritten words to describe the unimaginable are written in the eyes of many… and tears streaming down the faces of some, tell a story of better days once experienced in the not so distant past.
In shared conversations with brother Shinozaki during our trip, we often commented to one another just how blessed we are to live in Shizuoka—not having to experience the emotional impact and major devastation of the Tsunami/Earthquake. Tragically, the effects and results of this major catastrophe are felt and seen daily by those who remain in Rikuzentakata. Like many places ravaged by this tragedy, the inhabitants see daily what little is left of what was once a vibrant neighborhood, village shopping center, or a thriving metropolis. An older lady expressed it to me this way: “Across the street there used to be houses, cars, and neighbors; and now there is nothing.”
The funds you so graciously provided have just about been exhausted in the name of our Lord and you, our church family at Mac. Please know the name of Jesus is being magnified and the benevolent hearts of the members of the MacArthur Park Church of Christ are being displayed even more clearly through your gifts. As you read this update, please know that there are people in this distant land approximately 6,500 miles away whose lives are being graced because of you.
[Editor: Here is a recent news article concerning Rikuzentakata, “Tohoku City Allows Death Registration“