International Ministries

Help From Abroad

July 23, 2011 Journal
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Dear Friends,
I have not been idle since I wrote a journal to you.  Did you read the two news articles on the IM web page?  Here is the link for one of them:  http://www.internationalministries.org/read/36881 . Then brush your cursor over the word “about“ on the menu at the top-right to read the other article, “Light Along the Road.”  I spent a lot of time writing them so would like you to read them.  Another piece will appear in “On Location” which will be published soon.

Help At The Kindergarten
Since the end of May, I have spent an increasing amount of time at the kindergarten with volunteer Laura in tow.  Laura, a Navy wife from nearby Yokosuka has fit in fine as an International Ministries volunteer.  She has gone through the “disaster-zone” of four-year olds where one never knows when one will be pinched, poked or picked at!  But she survived one and a half months of service and now moves on to a permanent job on the Navy base.  Thank you Laura!  I assist a group of mothers who have formed the “Clover Circle’ to support an organization which is overseeing the needs of over 1250 orphans of the disaster in NE Japan.  They are making items for their children to “buy” (!) to teach them the value of raising money to help kids who have lost their parents in the disaster.  Every day the teachers help the children to pray for the children in the Taira Kindergarten in Fukushima who have been adversely affected by the radiation aspect of the disaster.

Volunteer Mid-Summer Dreams
While it is mid-summer for you who are reading this it is just the beginning for me.  Until the recent typhoon #6, it was beastly hot.  I don’t thrive in this kind of weather like I used to.  This week’s respite from the heat was welcome as I hurried to finish up paperwork and stacks of “I’ll-do-this-later” stuff.  This all should be finished today because one of the volunteers, Larry, arrived.  One more adventurer, Rie, will arrive on Monday to complete our team.

Larry left his family in Illinois to come to serve in Japan, having done volunteer work both in Mexico and in various areas in the US which have experienced disasters.  Rie lives with her husband in Vancouver, WA where she is finishing up courses in seminary in Chaplaincy.  One of her most valuable assets to me is that she is Japanese and a great translator.  Rie has spent a number of years helping me and other missionaries translate our sermons from English into Japanese.  With Rie’s desire to provide emotional and spiritual support to those in the disaster zone, and Larry’s desire to use his physical skills and be an earnest listener, we take off anticipating being a blessing and used of God.  We are “disguising” ourselves as gardeners!!  We want to give the intact areas a facelift, weeding and planting with the hope that after we leave, blossoms or vegetables will bless the people we garden for.  My experience with volunteers is that it’s a toss-up as to who is most blessed, they or the people they serve.  Please pray for both to be blessed.

The Great Disguise
Although our work will not directly be related to the physical aspects of the disaster, there are plenty of dangers that await us.  This is not a trip for the timid.  We will be driving through and staying in the disaster zone daily.  Aftershocks still plague the area.  And, everyone we will be relating to is a survivor with scars of one kind or another.  I think especially of the pastors who are very tired out from receiving thousands of inquiries, volunteers, and have distributed tons of disaster supplies.  They are doing us a huge favor by providing us with such “trite” work to reach deeper needs.  They are aware of the “great disguise” and are indeed the ones who suggested it in the first place.
 

The eyes of all look expectantly to You,

And You give them their food in due season.

You open Your hand

And satisfy the desire of every living thing….

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,

To all who call upon Him in truth.

He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;

He also will hear their cry and save them.

Psalm 145:15-16, 17-19 NKJV