It was 1989 that I first traveled to Japan and fell in love with the people and their country. It is incredible how the Japanese people hold to their traditions and modern technology at the same time. After serving in Japan with my family for a year in 1990 I returned for several short trips the following few years. But then ministry took me a different direction while I served as the Missions Pastor at CC Moreno Valley. It wasn’t unto the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 that I returned with teams from CC Perris Valley. The devastation in the was overwhelming as our teams assisted other ministries with relief efforts in northern Japan on the oceanside area of Ishinomaki called Watanoha-cho. This gentleman in the photo and his mom (right), were those who experienced the loss of their store in the disaster and I was overjoyed to take the photo 2 years later, with my translator, when they reopened their store.
The area is returning with new and restored buildings and homes. The population that reduced by half after the event has returned to almost the same as before the tsunami. However, the people still feel the pain as and loss. When our missionary, Cherry, was speaking to a woman about her being in Japan and our church coming every year since 2011 brought tears to her eyes. Cherry joined Rich and Emi in opening J’s Cafe and CC Ishinomaki, whole we are return each year to support.
There are so many stories I can tell of the people I have met over these years, but I look forward to returning this trip to have new experiences in ministry to tell. I especially expect I will learn something new from the Lord for I am always in his classroom. Follow our upcoming posts as we share about our team and their 2019 mission trip. We leave on August 8 and return August 17th so please keep us in your prayers.