Sharing the Hope of Easter with Children
Over the last three years OperationSAFE has held more than 20 child trauma camps in response to the 3.11 disaster in Tokyo, Fukushima, Ibaragi, Miyagi and Nagano with over 650 children affected by the tsunami and evacuated from the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station. Our philosophy is to work with local organisations that will be there for the children long after teams from outside have gone home. Seaside Bible Church, whose church was also swept away by the tsunami, is one such local organisation that has reached out to these children and will continue to give comfort and hope with them for years to come.
It was such a beautiful day to drive to the Northern part of Japan. On the way there we saw cherry blossoms were blooming and all the volunteers were excited to see the children in Sendai who had suffered from the Tsunami in 2011 because this was our third time to visit them. Last summer we provided our Five-Day program and then last December we shared our Christmas program as a follow-up. Most of the children who came to this program go to a nearby pre-school.
Pastor Naito and his wife Nozomi started the Kids’ club at their church to share God’s word to those children. For this Easter event God provided nine OpSAFE veteran volunteers and some came from far away by bullet train. The children were excited to start our Easter program since they knew we were providing games, crafts, snacks and also stories. We spent two hours with them and shared why we celebrate Easter with them. For craft we made a Easter basket to put five different colorful eggs with bible verses to take home. We all prayed that they can hold onto those verses and they will share the meaning of Easter to their families. We had such a blessed time with those children. Thank you so much for your support.
Rie Wilson, Japan OpSAFE Leader
Testimony from Mrs. Nozomi Naito
“Let the little children come to Me.” Mark 10:14 was the verse that encouraged me to start the Wednesday Kids Club in the fall of 2012. In the first month there were no kids showing up, but one child came and then little by little we started to gain in the number of children. In 2013 April all of a sudden five mothers who send their kids to the local pre-school started to come to church and they desired their kids to come to Kids club. In 2013 July, Nov. and 2014 March for those Kids club kids we invited OpSAFE to do the program.
The Kids who attended all of the OpSAFE programs were excited to attend and I could see their concentration span is growing each time and see God’s blessings were upon those kids. Some kids could not attend our club since the last OpSAFE program and I was wondering why and praying for them. But for this program they showed up and they told me that since it was winter-time schedule, they could not come to Kids’ club.
7 volunteers from Tokyo, one from Shizuoka and one from Osaka came to do the program. Most of them joined our Sunday worship service and shared their worship kids dance. It was such a blessing to see one elderly man who is over 80 years old enjoying dancing with them.
I would like to ask your prayers that the seeds that the OpSAFE team planted will grow in kids’ hearts and fruit will come from them.
After the disaster in 2011, CRASH worked with a baseball team from Tsukuba (Ibaraki prefecture) to bring equipment to a team in Onagawa (Miyagi prefecture) that lost everything in the tsunami. A year later, when a tornado hit Tsukuba, the team from Onagawa was able to help out and return the favor. See the touching story in this video.
With all of the gifted volunteers willing to serve in Japan, CRASH Japan is sometimes able to channel unique talents and skill sets into their outreach events. One volunteer, Yukiko Hirano, has practiced Japanese tea ceremony for over 40 years. She was delighted to have the opportunity to serve survivors of the great earthquake and tsunami, who are now living in temporary housing.Hirano-san sees many similarities between Japanese tea ceremony and the Christian faith. The cloth that goes around the waist of the person performing the ceremony is much like the cloth Christ wore around his waist when he washed the feet of his disciples. It is meant to signify servanthood, and a position of humility.In this special volunteer portrait video, you can see the beauty and grace of Hirano-san’s art. Your prayer and donations continue to make it possible for CRASH to connect with survivors in a meaningful way. Thank you for the support.