|From the Field - May 17, 2011 - Shoveling Out Sludge in Tona|
By Hiroko Shimoda
Tona City, Sendai, Japan — The handwritten note on the front door said, “March 20. We’re all safe.” Inside, the giant tsunami had almost reached the ceiling of the living room as it swept away family treasures and brought in tons of black slimy sludge.
Today I, two other volunteers from CRASH, five volunteers from JIFH (Japan International Food for the Hungry), and two volunteers from East Sendai Church are shoveling out muck alongside the owner of this house in Tona, near Sendai.
First we tear off the mud-smeared floorboards and scoop out the 50 cm high seawater with plastic buckets. Even though we wear towels over our hair, goggles, masks, gloves, boots, and raincoats, we still get covered from head to toe with the stinky sludge.
The owner, who is staying in an apartment nearby with his wife and daughter, asks, “Are you all Christians?” I answer, “Yes, we are.” His next statement moves my heart: “There are many religions out there in this world, but Christians always come first and help.” I hope a seed of Christ’s love has been planted in the heart of this man. And I pray that one day it will bear fruit.
Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope (CRASH) is a network supporting Christians to do relief work in Japan and around the world. CRASH equips and prepares churches and missions to be there to help their communities when disasters strike and coordinates Christian volunteers to work with local ministries in the event of a disaster. Since March 11, 2011 CRASH Japan has been leading efforts to meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs in the disaster-struck areas of Japan.