|Volunteer Story: Tono Base: "Fear not, I am with You"|
|Monday, 17 October 2011 15:23|
A Volunteer's Story
While most survivors have moved into temporary housing that provide basic living conditions, many are left isolated. Volunteers knocking on doors and setting up community spaces like Mobile Cafés are providing an invaluable service simply by talking to people. A Japanese volunteer from CRASH Japan's Tono Base shares how God used her to comfort and bring hope to one young girl.
We went early to the temporary housing in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture, to help set up the Mobile Café. I walked around the temporary housing with a friend of mine to pray for the day's ministry. I found a bench nearby, sat down and continued to pray.
As I was walking, I met a 5th grade girl named Rio. I started talking to her. She slowly began sharing her story. Rio told me that her mother was still missing from the tsunami. She didn't reunite with her father until days after the disaster, and her grandparents didn't survive. Rio's father found her alone at an evacuation center, but before her father found her, she had gone to the morgue and searched through the dead bodies for a familiar face.
My heart broke as I imagined a little 5th grade girl going around the morgue, looking through hundreds of dead bodies to see if any of them were her family members. I was at a loss for words. I prayed to God, and asked Him to give me the right words.
I spoke softly to her about how God protected her and her father from the tsunami, and what a blessing it is that they are able to live in the temporary housing together. I wouldn't have had an answer to give to her had she asked, "Why didn't God save my mother?" Rio listened to me intently as I told her about the God of this universe. I didn't want to confuse her with the many "gods" in Japan, so I explained to her in detail about our ultimate Father in heaven. I assured Rio that God loves her very much and that He created her.
Rio told me that there were aftershocks almost daily, which scared her each time. So I opened the Bible and read Isaiah 41:10 with her: "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." I told her to pray whenever she is afraid, for God will protect her.
I asked Rio if I could do anything for her, and she told me that she wanted a lucky charm. She wanted something that she can hold in her hand to make her feel safe. I told her that having a visible lucky charm doesn't protect her, but faith in God does. I wrote down the scripture from earlier (Isaiah 41:10) on a piece of paper and handed it to her. I told her that this isn't a lucky charm and the paper itself doesn't protect her, it's to remind her that God will always love and protect her. Rio smiled from ear to ear and happily received the piece of paper. She then handed me one of her key chains in appreciation.
Many seeds are being planted in northern Japan, and God is working in the hearts of the survivors. Seeing God's scripture seeping into the softened hearts of the Japanese people after the horrible disasters made me realize that God has prepared so many spiritual blessings for my nation. We will never understand why God allowed such horrific disasters to take place. Through this, however, the nation of Japan that was far away from knowing God is slowly coming together to worship Him – finding hope in Christ – and ultimately bringing glory to God. I give thanks to our God who is worthy of all glory and praise.
CRASH Japan is looking for more volunteers to help bring hope. For details on volunteering opportunities in November click here.