"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tohoku update

The Power of Story

I realized I haven’t shared at all from the last 4 weeks of working in the disaster zone. It has become daily routine to drive through the unbelievable sight of destruction:rubbles,bare foundations,twisted railings and poles,bridges swept away. I was driving home after a winter relief item distribution the other day,and passed some high school kids going home. They were picking their way across the empty lot with just the bare foundation. What is it like to continue your ordinary life in what has now become completely un-ordinary? I can’t fathom. There’s also burdens in places we don’t see. The frustration and anger from people who are in their own homes,and are getting nothing in regards to winter items unlike the temporary housing residents. One woman had tears in her eyes,as she said:“We’ve worked so hard on our own,we’ve chosen to not use the temporary housing facility,and what we get in return is no help?”People who are displaced into temporary housing also face challenges,as they are now removed from grocery stores or kindergarten,making their routine of work and raising kids difficult and straining. Each story is different. Each story unique. The incredible thing is how people open up their hearts and share their stories. I don’t even ask. A man tells me of how he saw his house wash away,never to see it again. Another of climbing up a hill while pulling the hand of the elderly mother-in-law. Another of seeing people swept away,unable to do anything. All of them,left with gratitude for life and yet uncertainty for the future. When I hear those stories,my heart quivers. With compassion. And aches. For hope.
Pray for hope. Because hope gives life. Even in the midst of destruction. I believe that,though at times I feel like I see it not.

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