I just recently arrived in Tokyo after going to the Tohoku Prefecture for a week and a half with the organization International Hi-B.A. as part of their Gospel Team ministry. Hi-B.A. stand for Highschool Born-Againers, and is an organization that allows high schoolers to meet together and share their faith. Gospel Team (GT) is a ministry that is run by Hi.B.A. every year for two weeks in which Hi-B.A. students and staff are split into teams and sent out around Japan to minister to high school students. YWAM Tokyo partners with Hi-B.A., so all DTS students were placed on teams with high school students.
My team was sent to Tohoku after we finished three days of training camp in Chiba. Our team traveled for eight hours by van to Tagajo, which is right out side of Sendai. We stayed there for three nights as we did manual labor in Ishinomaki during the day. We worked on people’s houses. We shoveled and moved hedoro (contaminated dirt which in our case was full of petroleum and lime from the tsunami) out from under houses, so renovations could start. We also helped with bleaching the inside of the houses to kill mold and pulling up floors, in order to prepare the houses for renovations. Then, we held a barbecue at the end of the last day for the entire neighborhood. Many people showed up and we had a wonderful time meeting everyone. We also sang some songs for everyone. The owner of the first house we worked on shared some of his story. He showed us pictures he took when the tsunami came in. He told us many things he saw, that are to personal and graphic to share in a blog post. He then told us something that I really need to share, he said that the people in the temporary housing, his friends, had plenty of food and water, they have everything they need except hope. Then he said that he was very blessed because we brought hope.
We spent the next day driving to the coastal city of Yamada. When we arrived, I was blown away by what we saw. We saw a city that only half existed, 46% of the city was destroyed when the tsunami came and started a fire which burned for three days. Then, the area which was destroyed was deemed too dangerous to live in by the government and was cleaned up but not rebuilt. We spent the majority of our GT time in the city of Yamada as we stayed in the city of Miyako at night. We worked with missionaries in the area that were trying to create a place for the community to gather as they tried to build relationships in the area (they came from Hokkaido to live with these people.) Our team was the only team not to specifically minister to high schoolers, instead we worked with missionaries doing whatever needed to be done. We worked with some children, be it singing songs or playing games. We held a barbecue for the community and so people through that. My favorite thing we did was we pulled weeds out of the place where a lady’s house used to be. We cleaned up her son’s yard and another yard. During this, it was raining and we were tired, but the lady said something that completely changed my perspective. She said that we were real Christians, because all the real Christians she had met overflowed with love and we did too. This broke me. I felt like a tourist in the area, but I didn’t want to be one. I wanted God’s love to shine and it did. God was with us. The bible says that it is God’s will that none should perish, and that was so evident in the way he was moving in this area. We were all changed by this experience, and I am still trying to process everything that happened. I thought about everything that happened on the two days that we drove back to Tokyo, and I still am.
I am currently getting ready for a week and a half long trip to the Philippines, and I will post on it when I get back. Until the next post, this is Zeroe4 signing off.
For more information check out the International Hi-B.A. sight at:
All photos were taken on my iPhone, and all but the Hi-B.A. photos are from my Instagram account.