Ray Rpt – Aug 27 ’13

Hi everyone,

The summer is almost gone and it is hot in Japan.  We were in Thailand nearly two weeks ago and, amazingly, it was cooler than here (because it is rainy season).  When we returned to Japan, it was suffocating.  It took a while to get used to it.

This summer has gone by so fast.  It started with camp.  Camp is usually the peak of the year, because I enjoy it very much.  But this year was the busiest ever.  We had to finish the kitchen to a point that we could use it by July 22.  We worked many days prior to the work camp and extended the work camp a couple of days to do it, but it was usable.  I am sure the cooks thought it was not in good condition, but we used it!  We also worked throughout the camp time, when we could.  Some of the campers helped, too.  The children really enjoyed using the cut-offs for their own projects. There are some pictures on Facebook under Tomobe church of Christ or at the bottom of this report.  We had some good Bible classes, too, for the children and for adults.  There was not much rain and the temperature was nice, even a little cool at night.

We came back home on July 31 and on August 2 we left for Thailand.  During that day, we had to mow the lawn, do the laundry, pack, get a new alien registration, etc.  We left early on the second for the airport.  No problems and Gade was waiting at the airport to meet us.  She is a Thai who came to Japan as a missionary intern a few years ago.  She was a great host and driver.  Thailand’s traffic is horrendous!  We enjoyed the Asian Mission Forum very much. This was the first time in 7 years that we have been able to attend. We met a few old friends and made many new ones.  The setting was in a large park owned and built by the hotel. It takes 60 gardeners to take care of the place. It took a lot of walking to get around it.  Our room was in a building about a five minute walk from the meeting place and dining room, which had 3 meals a day, all you can eat.  Thai food as well as other, all very good.  The main speaker was Jonathan Storment from Highland church in Abilene, TX.  He was good.  The whole program was great.  We felt refreshed, even though tired.

My heart didn’t bother me too much, except I couldn’t walk fast or long.  I still have episodes of arrhythmia and at times it is hard to breathe. I will have to put up with this, I’m afraid.  Jean is also slowing down.  We just celebrated our 46th anniversary of marriage and our 38th in Japan.  Wow! It seems like I am old.  I guess I am.

The relief work in Sendai and Iwaki has slowed down to a crawl.  The water company that we helped is working well.  They are now operating without assistance.  The government is pressuring the people to leave the temporary housing. They want to close down the camps.  The houses were built to last 2 years and it has been longer than that.  There are still a lot of older people who have nowhere to go.  Some of them have lost all their families.  There is also the problem of the power plant releasing radiation all the time.  Some people want to move away, but there are no jobs anywhere.  Japan’s economy is slowly picking up, but, as in the US, job creation is slow.  This is especially true of fishermen, who lost everything.  Fishing is down all over Japan, so they must look for a different kind of work.  Farming in that area is also impossible as the ground is so radiated.  Some have been given land in other areas to farm, but that is not enough.  There are so many problems.

The Strakers are in Ishinomaki, one of the hardest-hit areas, near Sendai.  They have started several things there.  I have not been there in more than a year, so I know little.  One of the projects though, is having the housewives make  jewelry from broken pieces of pottery.  It is sold on the internet and seems to be doing quite well. Read more about it at Nozomi Project.

We at Tomobe are thinking about how to evangelize in our society here.  Saturday night, 8/24, 40 came to a wienie roast.  This is one way of keeping in touch with LST readers and School of Life students.  I am hoping we can get some more students in the School of Life and a few to come to worship.  In two weeks, Dwight and Josephine Albright will come for a meeting and I hope give us some insight.  Please pray for us.

We have lost about $1000/month in support. One of our supporters lost his job and can no longer supply this money.  I know it is a lot of money.  It is about half of our support.  I also know, with God’s help, we can survive.  Teaching extra English classes for money is not in the cards.  We will see what God has in store for us, but also keep this in your prayers and if you can help or know of someone who can help, please let us know.  Asking for money is not something I like to do.  Thank you very much.

Serving Him in Japan,

Marlin and Jean Ray