Today was free day, so we decided to go to Higashi-Matsushima and Matsushima. Pastor Nakada and Hisako, a EEC volunteer, drove us there which is about an hour away. Hisako, is a non-christian, but has been volunteering at EEC for a long time and she also helps out at the church as well. She is very kind and is always bringing us food or anything we may need. We are very grateful for her and her time.
We first went to Higashi-Matsushima, and went on a small boat tour to see all the small islands around that area. The tour was about an hour and we had a really good time. The boat captain was very humurous and made the ride very enjoyable. We then went to Kibotcha which used to be an elementary school, but after it was damaged by the tsunami back in 2011, they renovated into a restaruant and a place to learn what to do when there is a disaster like an earthquake and tsunami. They have a children’s playroom which is made so that the children can learn how to act when there is a fire, earthquake, tsunami etc. They also have programs which teach those skills and knowledge. We went there to eat lunch and to look around the area since that whole area was destroyed by the tsunami. Most home had to be rebuilt or renovated because of the damage. Many homes only had a foundation left, so they rebuilt the house on top of that foundation. They were still making houses today.
We then went to the 3.11 Disaster Recovery Memorial Museum which was nearby. There was a train station right next to the museum which is no longer in use since the tsunami. They relocated the train station to higher up in the mountains to prevent further destruction in case of another disaster. Thankfully, many people that were on the train when the earthquake happened, survived because the train went to a station further up in the mountains, where the tsunami did not reach. The museum was affected by the tsunami and the people working there escaped to the second floor. The water barely stopped just before the second floor. Because the water seemed like it was going to flood to the second floor, people started stacking tables outside on the patio to escape on the roof. But since the water stopped just before the second floor, everybody in the museum survived. In the museum, the tour guide explaned to us which areas were most affected, how people tried to escape, and shared with us their personal experience with the tsunami. It was very difficult and heartwrenching to see the photos that were displayed. They later played a video with English subtitles, which was a documentary about the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. They interviewed victims of the tsunami, and it was tough to listen to their stories and how they lost loved ones. Many people died not only by getting swept away by the tsunami and drowning, but by hypothermia, because it was so cold. The weather was about -8 Celcius and people who got wet from the tsunami, froze to death if they were not able to warm themselves up. But it was nice to see how they rebuilt and how they are taking precautions so that when another tsunami comes, there won’t be as many victims.
After we visited the museum, we went to Matsushima, and walked around for about 30 minutes before we had to go back home. Once we got back, Hajime Yumoto, from Chino Christ Church visited us! Hajime is a member of Chino Christ Church, which is the church we used to send a mission team to. It was very nice to see him and hear about how the people at the church are doing. He drove a long way for us and we really appreciate his time and am grateful to have been able to see him.
For dinner we had beef tongue and it was so delicious! Unfortunately, Monica could not join us as she was not feeling well. Please pray for her as she feels a little sick. Danny also feels sick but he claimed that if he eats beef tongue, he would feel better. But please pray for him as well since we have a taco party tomorrow for the children and families who came to EEC. We will have about 50+ people coming and we are very excited! We have never had this many people come to the Saturday lunch gathering so we are a little concerned if we have enough food. But we are so grateful that we are going to have so many people coming! We miss the kids already so we cannot wait to see them again!
We thank you for your continued support and prayers! We are all very exhausted, so please pray that we can stay healthy and to heal those who are not feeling well.
Thank you again.
Sendai Mission Team 2019