This morning the Grace City gospel choir, a group of 20 people, leaves to give concerts in Ishinomaki. On Saturday at 10 am they are performing at Ishinomaki Christ Church, which serves as a distribution center for 200 people in the community every day. The church was completely inundated in the tsunami, but many volunteer groups have worked hard to clean out the mud and debris so it could be used for worship and to help the neighborhood. Above is a sign advertising the concert in front of the church and a picture of the choir in concert at Grace City two weeks ago.
The choir will also perform at Watanoha Elementary School, a shelter for 440 people in a suburb of Ishinomaki.
I put a lot of work into planning and leading this trip and know it's going to be a powerful experience for everyone involved. Because my wife is still in the hospital, I've decided not to go but assigned someone else to lead the trip.
To the left is gospel singer Nozomi Fujii, who came with me on the last trip. Everybody loved meeting her and hearing her perform. Here she is playing with some kids at the home below which became a distribution center for about 200 people in the nearby area. A photo of the home with our cars and truck parked outside is below.
Below is also a daytime photo of the lobby of the beautiful resort hotel we performed in last week in Minami Sanriku. Because it is one of only a handful of buildings still standing, it has become a hub for all relief activity and a place for the workers to stay. It usually costs hundreds of dollars per person per night to stay there! It was quite powerful to see the place full of muddy workers and the parking lot full of all kinds of utility and military vehicles.