Thank you for continually praying and lovingly supporting our relief work here in the disaster area.
Here at the relief center on Saturday the 22nd we held the forty-third meal distribution event amidst the blessing of the Lord. At 9:30 the center staff, Izumi Chapel members, the Soka church children's choir and their leaders as well as a number of locals gathered at the relief center. Then Pastor Miwa Sato (formerly a famous female professional wrestler) gave a prayer of blessing and we started preparing for the meal distribution event.
That day the sky was clear and it was unseasonably warm but the strong wind off the ocean that this area is known for was blowing fiercely. Before anything could be done all of the food, pots, burners, propane gas tanks and relief items needed to be carried out of the center to the outside tents. Then in order for the things to not be blown away the cooking tent, relief item tent and the trash station all had to be secured with ropes. In all it added thirty minutes to the prep time and once it was done the cooking could begin.
Thirty minutes before the scheduled opening of 11:45 the stage performance began. Staff member Nozomi Odajima was the emcee and Pastor Ito gave and opening greeting. After that, some of the center staff members led everyone in the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”.
Immediately after that we invited our guest performers for the event, the Soka church Matsuhara Children's Choir, and they sang and performed a skit. After that, resident missionary Eric opened the meal with a prayer of thanks.
With the strong wind and that fact that it was Higan (a Buddhist ritual day remembering the souls that have passed from “this life”) it seemed that people were slow in coming but sure enough as time went on, the center filled up and overflowed to the point that our secondary seating area was also full. During the meal we also had a special worship song by Mr. Futoda from the Izumi church and then Pastor Ito shared a brief message.
After everyone had come and things had settled down around 1pm, the Matsuhara Children's choir came to the stage and face their second performance. This allowed all of those who arrived late as well as the volunteers who were busy earlier to get a chance to enjoy the worship as they ate their lunch.
After everyone had come and things had settled down around 1pm, the Matsuhara Children's choir came to the stage and gave their second performance. This allowed all of those who arrived late as well as the volunteers who were busy earlier to get a chance to enjoy the worship while eating their lunch. Also, we had a youth member, Takahashi, who attends the Kanazawa church give a brief greeting. In the end everyone had a great time of fellowship.
During a break in the ministry I had the chance to chat with people who had come to the event. I spoke with one disaster victim whom I have never met before and they shared about the terrible loss form the tsunami and the difficult life that they have led after that experience. I took a moment to pray for their comfort and healing and then they told me, “Ever since the tsunami you all have been a great help!” And then they encouragingly asked, “When is the next meal distribution scheduled for?!”
We ended just a few minutes before the scheduled finish time of 2pm and then many people worked together to clean up the venue. We then took a commemorative group picture and prayed with the team from the Soka church just before sending them on their way.
I am so thankful that I could share with you about God's blessing and protection over this most recent meal distribution event as well as share about the hands-on-way that we were able to display the loving gospel of the Lord
Thank you all for your prayers and support.
To view more pictures of this event, click this link and scroll to the bottom of the blog entry.