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Feedback on visit to disaster area in North-Eastern Japan from Tu. 29 March to Th. 31 March 2011 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Feedback on visit to disaster area in North-Eastern Japan from Tu. 29 March to Th. 31 March 2011.

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Feedback on visit to disaster area in North-Eastern Japan from Tu. 29 March to Th. 31 March 2011

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Presentation Transcript

Feedback on visit to disaster area

in North-Eastern Japan from

Tu. 29 March to Th. 31 March 2011

Tobie de Wet and Stephan van der Watt (delegates of Mission Japan) were accompanied by Rev. Kei Kataoka (delegated by the RCJ* Shikoku Presbytery as well as Tokushima en Tokushima West congregations).

Rev. Taka Ashida (delegate of RCJ Synodal Commission for International Relations) acted as our escort.

*RCJ = Reformed Church in Japan

The main purpose of our visit was to:

1)     Visit as many RCJ congregations in the region as possible

and to assure them personally

of our love, prayers and support;

2)  Assess first-hand the actual situation and the needs of

the people in the disaster area;

3)      Determine what the local congregations were doing

to help deal with the immediate needs of the

afflicted communities;

4)      Hear what the long term plans of the Church at

grass-roots level are to help deal with the situation;

5)    Provide feedback as soon as possible and to discern

in which way Mission Japan and the broader Church

in South Africa could support churches within the disaster

area to help relieve the need of surrounding communities.

On the way from Tokushima to Sendai (about 1000km)

Police officers in readiness on the way to disaster area

Japanese defence force members set and ready with first aid

Praying for guidance on the road ahead with Japanese pastor-friends

Point of Call 1: RCJ Shiroishi

Aiba couple – part of a 6th generation Christians who initially helped establish churches in Tohoku Region

Earthquake damage in Aiba couple’s home

Front wall of RCJ Shiroishi church collapsed as result of the quake

Point of Call 2 – RCJ Watari Mission Station

A colleague off-loading emergency supplies

Tobie with Mr Inomata - (rice)bread-baker and member of RCJ Watari

The local nursery school utilized as part of the mission station (all are safe, including Rev. Hayashi, local pastor)

Point of Call 3: Yamashita Railway Station

Destruction exposed at Yamashita Station (close by RCJ Watari)

The last memory of a grandmotherand her grandchild...

The vehicle in which their bodies had been discovered

Cars had been swept along like pieces of toys

One neighbourhood after the other lies destitute, devoid of children’s voices

Crockery had been flung about ending up on desolate railway tracks

Mr Inomata speaking heatedly about everything he lost owing to the tsunami...

His bread-bakery was also destroyed by the flood waters

Mr Inomata’s bakery partner, Mr Abe (his home in the background was also hit hard)

The first floor of Mr Abe’s home was completely flooded.

Point of Call 4 – RCJ Sendai

Supper with our colleagues from around Tokyo (who also visited the disaster areas)

Earthquake damage at RCJ Sendai congregation. Rev. Yoshida (RCJ Moderator) is the pastor here

Rev. Kataoka sorting basic provisions at RCJ Sendai distribution point

Point of Call 5 – Takayama (missionary holiday resort)

Fuel is still very scarce and most people have to stand in long queues to get some

The distorted tsunami warning signboard of the missionary holiday resort at Takayama

Somebody’s shoe was left behind amongst the debris on Takayama beach

The car of one of the missionaries (Rod Thomas) was swept away at the entrance to the resort

Point of Call 6 – RCJ Ishinomaki

Rev. Shiratsu from RCJ Ishinomaki embraced by our group leader (Rev. Taka)

The church building of RCJ Ishinomaki was hard hit by the tsunami

Rev. Shiratsu shows how the earthquake damaged the manse next door

A group of RCJ volunteers had come to help with cleaning up operations (at Ishinomaki)

Rev. Taka (and Tobie) with his children (Kana and Tooru) who also helped as volunteers

Most of the neighbouring Ishinomaki coastline turned into a heap of rubble

Policemen cleaning up

Point of Call 7 - Onagawa

At Onagawa the tsunami wave was higher than 20m, more than 2000 people dead or missing.

Like so many others looking for what is left of an ‘earlier' life amongst the rubble...

A dejected worker contemplating the devastated Onagawa (more than 10 000 people had lived there)

A specialist team of rescue workers from India, looking for bodily remains

Mr Kimura points to his car on the 3rd floor of a building – he had a very narrow escape ahead of the flood waters.

This entrance to the hospital in Onagawa is more than 25 m above sea level!

A clock on the first floor of the hospital tells the story. It stopped 50 minutes after the earthquake...the point in time of the advent of the tsunami.

A few of the more than 2300 people at a shelter in Onagawa

A distribution point for emergency relief via the Japanese government

People from all over the world extending a helping hand

The damage to Onagawa is immeasurably wide and deep and high

Point of Call 8 – Driving Northwards from Onagawa along the coastline past several small villages

Homes that had been tossed about at a village North of Onagawa

This man and his family survived; he is looking for possessions of friends who had lost everything.

The infra-structure of another village lies destroyed – many years of repairs and recovery lie ahead

The future of local fishing enterprises lay torn to pieces on dry land

Points of Call 9-14: Other RCJ congregations, relief-organizations and broader church groups in Sendai

Praying and talking together at RCJ SendaiEast, after a long day’s voluntary relief work

Provisions at RCJ Sendai East (and Rev. Tateishi as pastor) to be distributed in community

RCJ Sendai-Kaanan church building is unaffected after the earthquake

Local pastor (Rev. Yoshioka) with goods from the congregation that will be taken to children and the elderly

Conversing with fellow-missionaries at RCJ Sendai-Megumi congregation

Distribution point of a USA relief organization

Rows of bicycle are standing ready to be transported to needy disaster victims

International volunteers planning the destination of the next consignment

RCJ Sendai Kitanakayama congregation in a residential area

Rev. Sakamoto (local pastor) indicating damage after the quake

Interdenominational meeting - leaders of various Protestant and Roman-Catholic churches in Sendai region – planning next steps of coordinated relief aid

Rev. Yoshida (RCJ Moderator) as chairperson of the interdenominational initiative (with hiscolleague from a Roman Catholic Church)

Various church groups - also an international rescue team from a Baptist church - are involved

On the way back to Tokushima after 3 intensive days, the last signs of winter to be seen...

...and the first signs of spring (near Watari mission station)

The distress call from Japan is unmistakable…

And in this disaster-stricken country there are at present

only about 1% Christians.

They are your brothers en sisters

who, with the millions

of people in Japan

need your support.

Please pray that from this misery and heartrending pain there will be countless

people who will know for the first time:

“Suffering produces perseverance,

Perseverance, character; and character, hope.

And hope does not disappoint us,

because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,

whom He has given us.”

(Romans 5:3-5)

Thank you very much for the support we as missionaries and church in Japan have already received from you! This inspires us…

Mission Japan Disaster Fund(051) 406 6729

For a comprehensive report on this visit to the disaster area, and on how to become more involved go to:


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