Hi there... sorry for the lack of updates in the last week! Our schedule here is pretty hectic and like I told my Mom this morning, every spare minute I get these days all I want to do is sleep, not blog! :)
Things are going well here, but we're very tired. I'm developing a greater sympathy to those who are involved in this type of ministry full time! I've taken today off (Sad how I'm taking Bobby's birthday off but he couldn't because a team needed a Japanese speaker to go with them) :( so I'm able to catch up a little bit today. So much to say, but I don't know that I have the energy to get it all out!
Last week was quite different from the week before... in one of the affected towns, they put up a HUGE temporary tent that was called a "charity bizarre" where various groups/companies came and offered services. They had everything from clothes to toiletries and family portrait takers! It was an incredible event and it allowed us to get creative with our outreaches and we were able to set up a bingo and women's craft table the first day and the rest of the week since the kids were in school, I set up a 'manicure table'. I had a blast! I was truly in my element and I LOVED serving in that way. God truly knew what I needed and He gave it to me!
It was so amazing to be able to bless so many women with a manicure and some nail art... I painted flowers and hearts and everyone loved it! It was just awesome to be able to use something that I love doing so much as a form of ministry! The reactions of the ladies were priceless! Some loved it so much they came back and asked me to do it again (which I must confess was a bit of a humbling experience after having spent so much time on them a day or 2 before!) Such a simple act yet so meaningful. I was able to help them relax and also feel beautiful! Some of the ladies joked that they weren't going to do anything that night... no dishes, no supper!! :P (I'm sure I wasn't very popular among their families!)
While I painted, Bobby was usually sitting beside me and making conversation with the women. It was so neat to be working side by side and also allowing the women to heal through our conversations. We certainly heard a lot of heart breaking stories, but at the same time we made some wonderful friends. (not just the survivors, but also with other Japanese volunteers) Many, many seeds were sown last week... pray that they will grow!
I also got to spend quite a lot of time with babies throughout the week and of course immensely enjoyed that!
One thing in particular that stood out from that week was how many stories we heard of people who hadn't lost their homes but were struggling to survive now with no stores left in their town. Certainly a perspective we hadn't thought of before.
Yesterday marked 4 months after the 3.11 disaster... hard to believe. Even though it doesn't look like it at first glance, a LOT of progress has been made. Yes, of course there's still a LONG road to recovery ahead of Japan, but the people here have come so far.
We've had a few earthquakes recently that have made the news at home from what I hear... everything's fine here and we usually feel at least one earthquake every day. On Sunday we had a fairly large one (registered as a 3 where we are) just before church started and it was the biggest one I've felt so far. No damage though and things stayed on the walls/shelves so it wasn't terrible. It was the first time I was really scared though because it was the longest one I've felt.
It was interesting to be with Japanese people at the time it hit... you can see the effects of post traumatic stress in many people around here as there was a lot of panic in many of their eyes as the room shook. It was an eye opener for us as to just how much they've been through and what they are facing.
I should get going... I've got laundry to hang! I'm going to end with a vidoe I took last week during a drive through the areas we're working in... hard to watch, but it's an eye opener!