Japan AGMF Relief Efforts

Japan AGMF stands for Assemblies of God Missionary Fellowship and is made up of AGWM (Assemblies of God World Missions) missionaries serving in Japan. There are 31 missionaries and all have been accounted for during this time.

Give to JAPAN DISASTER RELIEF at the Assemblies of God website.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A report from Toyomi Sanga of Koriyama Grace Garden Chapel (Koriyama Christ Church) 4/4

Our deepest thanks to every pastor and believer in Japan that has offered up precious prayers.
We are currently praying and asking what we should do next.

Yesterday the church held a “Coaching Mama Special” meeting.
This is a seminar that we started 2 years ago which invites local non-Christian mothers to meet once every two months for a “child rearing seminar”.

At 2PM we had 10 mothers and 20 children gather.

Starting from March 11 I and some of the high school students from Koriyama Christ Church volunteer 3, 4 times a week at the “kids class”.
We prepared games as well as reading picture books, one of our members made a “fish pond” game that went over really well.
The children’s laughter and cheers filled the sanctuary.

In another room, an employee from our local cake shop, which just recently reopened, treated all of the moms to a Springy strawberry topped cake.

We all began to share about what has happened from THAT day until now:
-When the shaking stopped how were you, your children, your family?
-What happened to family members in places like Sendai, Kesennuma, Minami-Sanriku, Minami-Soma
-Some people evacuated out of the prefecture, how everyday life has become difficult in Koriyama, feeling guilty and crying everyday.
-Always frustrated and the endless tears.
-Fears over our children’s future and health, and worries whether it is safe to raise children in this town.
-Hearing angering and deplorable things on the radio like the person on the Tokyo Yamanote line train who said, “Anybody who evacuates here from Fukushima prefecture should hang a sign around their neck that reads ‘Fukushiman’”. These moms are afraid that because the nuclear accident has affected the people of Fukushima that their children will be discriminated against.

Everyone shared their fears with tears streaming down; some merely cried and could not even speak being comforted by the others around them.

However, one young mother said,
“Day after day I am at home with my senile grandmother, a one year old, a six year old, and a seven year old. One time when I was worried about what would become of us in the future and was just about ready to burst out crying I heard “Grace Garden Chapel Relief Distribution” from a lively young high school students who had come to my house to pass out bread. All alone I was growing tense over the fears of radiation poisoning but seeing their smiling faces and hearing their cheerful voices helped me to breakthrough the gloom. And that is why I am here today.”

I selected a portion of “The Emotional State and Needs of Disaster Victims” printed it, passed it out and all of us moms discussed it. Some of the things that we discussed were...
-First, we and our families are disaster victims.
-Going forward we will continue to have chances to meet and interact with other disaster victims.
-Fear and anxiety is normal.
-What are the specific needs of children and the elderly etc.

Everyone shared and listened so intently that they did not even touch their cake or tea.
I shared, “I like this town, and Fukushima! Most likely there will continue to be heartless and painful things said and people with discriminating attitudes that spread troubling information.
But I choose Hope!
I choose to be proactive!
The Bible says that God gives us the strength to overcome adversity.
Let’s stick together and keep pushing onward!”

One mom said, “I too was encouraged by Toyomi, who is not from Fukushima, and by her church members, and now I am not afraid of anything!” Everyone had a laugh.

With that, we all dived into the strawberry cake, “Wow, deeelish! It’s almost too good to eat!”… Then more tears.
Then someone mentioned, “The most important is that we moms are strong.” “Of course the radiation leak is scary but if all we say is ‘scary, scary’ we will only frustrate and frighten our children.”

Another mom said, “My daughter had been looking forward to coming today but this morning out of the blue she said, ‘I know that its weird but I don’t want to go today.’ Seeing my daughter like that, I knew that she was serious so I left her with her father and came to church knowing that I would learn something important. I’m glad I came. I know that even though my house wasn’t destroyed by the tsunami, I am still a disaster victim.”

We went well passed our scheduled time and finally finished after 4:00 in the afternoon. But everyone was refreshed and smiling. Many said, “Hey Toyomi if you or your church need any help just call me!”, “Yeah, me too!”, “You can call me too!”

We ended the time by getting some needed exercise; running around with the kids and having a tug-of-war contest.

1 comment:

  1. Toyomi, praise God you are ministering to these mothers and their children through such a difficult and traumatic time. Your love, compassion, peace, joy, and courage are imparting God's peace into these women and their children. You are overcoming fear with faith and confusion with God's peace. God bless what you're doing! your old missionary friend, Josiah Friberg