|Pastor Sumiyoshi's Testimony|
Written by Pastor Eiji Sumiyoshi (Fukushima Christian Network)
The 3.11 disaster forced 60% of the population of the city of Iwaki to evacuate. Iwaki had suddenly become a ghost town. There in Fukushima prefecture we coped with radiation damage by covering windows and staying home. We needed food and water so we went with other survivors to get those necessities from the city relief center. We survived by helping each other. Supplies began to arrive from DOMEI (the Church of Japan), other Christian organizations, and individuals from around the world, but the Japanese government and other religious organizations hardly did anything in our area.
As supplies arrived we piled up them up in a narrow space of the church building. Soon people started to coming to receive relief supplies. The total number of people who came to receive supplies is over 1500. We also began distributing water to church members who didn't have access to any, cooking outside (at parks, etc.) and distributing that food to the local residents, and distributing other food and supplies to the evacuation center as well. Through these ministries, we were able to meet a lot of people in the community and some of them started attending worship services and prayer meetings.
On April 10, 2011, we had 13 new people at our worship service. It was amazing! Also, these people started bringing their friends and young people have started attending as well! At our Sunday worship service on Dec. 4, four people were baptized! Even now, some seekers are attending our regular church services. 55 children, three mothers and 10 church staff came to the Children's Christmas party hosted by our Sunday School. It was miraculous to see that many people at such an exciting event!
Because of the support and volunteers we've received from CRASH Japan and other relief organizations we're able to continue our relief efforts. Through this experience I have seen that the Body of Christ both gives and receives.