It has been a productive week. A team of our people including Abi's sister Virginia are up in the disaster area right now distributing bikes and holding a large cookout of hotdogs. Earlier this week, Abi got back from the 10 hour drive up north to meet with the community leaders in Koganehama, a neighborhood of Watanoha in a suburb of Ishinomaki. Above is a picture of the "Love Koganehama" sign. Through it all, we want people to know the message "We will not forget you! We will not abandon you!" We have focused on this area and coordinate with others to make sure something is happening at least every Saturday at the community center we cleaned out and gave an inaugural concert in. A great partnership was formed with Samaritan's Purse where they provide the materials and pay the salaries for professional carpenters, and we help them figure out where the need is in Koganehama. We also provide the volunteers.
I've come to realize afresh how very precious the church's role has been in the relief efforts, as we have been focusing on relationships with individuals, families, and neighborhoods who are hurting since Day 3. Most of the larger organizations took a long time to get involved, and some are still trying to get involved! Now they want to partner with us so that they can put their name to what we are doing, which we don't mind so much if it helps more people. They have the resources, but we have the relationships. Let's hope many more partnerships do happen!
Picture to the right is of house cleaning this week in Watanoha.