Dear family and friends– 7-2011
I just wanted to drop a line or two, well, maybe more than two lines , but I couldn’t help it, there is just so much to say. I wanted to let you know that I had a great trip and have returned home.
Tohoku Japan was quite an experience. I don’t think I will ever forget it. Because…….
As you might already know, I along with 15 others from my church hooked up with Samaritan’s Purse to be part of a cleanup crew in a region of Japan that was destroyed by the Tsunami. Our activity was cleverly named ‘Mud-out’ by, well, I’m not really sure who gave it that name but it turned out to be an appropriate name.
We stayed in the mountains at a Samaritans Purse campsite. If you ever want to go on a project like this, the Samaritans Purse organization is perfect. They set up an outstanding campsite for not only my group but lots of other groups that are now rotating in and out of Japan for the purpose of ‘Mud-out’. In the future I believe they will also do rebuilding but right now, ‘Mud-out’ is what’s on everyone’s mind.
Teen Mania and also Teen Challenge boarded at the Samaritan’s Purse campsite at the same time as my group. My group is called ARMS by the way. Our four groups worked together beautifully and I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them as we worked together daily.
Every morning we met in the kitchen tent for devotions and a little organizational meeting. Then we drove in a huge caravan of cars to a community center type place where we signed in and were given our location worksites. This was handled by our various leaders. All I had to do was be there. Did I say we had great leaders? No? Ok I’ll say it then, we had great leaders.
Then we all got back in our cars and drove, caravan style, to the assigned locations. (don’t ask me about the GPS I’ll follow a friend before a GPS any day and that’s just that) Anyway, because our group was so large, we could easily divide up and take more than one site a day, which we did on most days.
I would call Tohoku a port town. It runs along the coast. I understand that it is well known for it’s fishing. They have tons of enormous boats that were thrown up onto the land by the Tsunami. Huge cranes are slowly (and expensively) returning boats to the water if they are close enough to the water to be returned in this way. Many boats remain scattered a great distance from the water. I’m not sure what they will do about that. They are presently just sitting where ever they landed. You just have to drive around them. Houses and businesses along the roads are smashed to smithereens, many of them in an unrepairable state. The debris of such buildings will be removed by bulldozers, trucks and cranes.
There are some homes and businesses that surprisingly survived the Tsunami. That is where we came in. The first two homes I worked at were two story homes. The bottom floors were trashed and full of mud but the frames of the homes were still good. The second floors were also in repairable condition. So with shovels, wheelbarrows, brooms, dustpans, boards and hands we removed mud and debris. Others of our group tore out walls, sheet rock, insulation, flooring, just everything but the frame of the house had to go. And go, it did, all day long for several days that is what we did. That is what ‘Mud-out’ is. Then when everything was gone, the frame was pressure washed.
We did the same thing for a hotel and a bath house. Other groups went to other locations and did similar work. But myself, I worked at 3 homes a bath house and a hotel doing ‘mud-out’.
Throughout the daily ‘mud-out’ sessions we chatted with owners, neighbors and bypassers along the road. Several people received Bibles and accepted Jesus readily. We were received warmly everywhere we went. We stopped by a temporal shelter twice and passed out laundry soap, food, Bibles and toys. The people staying there have lost everything and yet they greeted us with smiles and hugs. They listened to the gospel and believed immediately. What an amazing people they are and I wish everyone to know it. The precious nature of the Japanese still remains a secret for the most part and I wish to change that. I feel very privileged to dwell among them. They are an industrious, intelligent people, with God’s help they will overcome this recent tragedy and come out of it smelling like a rose!
In my blogs I write poetry about running. I talk about my dream to run and how I am working on that. I ran 10 laps this morning and that makes me happy. I don’t want to die not having fulfilled my dreams. Do you? I don’t. But I have more dreams than that. I dream of running fast but I also dream about Japan. I desire her victory, her overcoming the things of the past and running with Jesus, free and unhindered. Japan has been good to me. They are a kind people to me. Let everyone know it. May God see it. I see love and hard work everywhere I go here. Do you know what I think God is saying to me? I think He is saying to me that He has a dream too. A dream of Japan dancing around Him with roses in her hair, happy and full of love for Him!
In your view, Japan seems like only dirt and sand
But in My view, I see, seeds birthed, exactly as planned
Roses shall grow out of Japan
Sweet fragrance from her land
The Lord shall carry her
With love so true
His love shall grow in her
His perfect love cure
I’m dreaming about Japan
She looks grand
She twirls in circles with roses in her hair
Her hands raised high to the Lamb
While guitar & keyboards jam
She dances in circles all over her land
She can! She can! She can jam with the Lamb!
All over her land
Come hold His hand
He’ll dance with you all over your land
It’ll be so grand
Because Jesus loves Japan
By Julia French
Please have a good day!