I (Peter) am spending a week in Ishinomaki City, northern Japan, to continue helping the recovery efforts from the March 11 tsunami. It is a very different place than when I was last here in May. On the good side, a lot of amazing work has been done to remove debris, provide temporary housing and create normalcy. On the flip side, there are vast open areas of nothing where community once stood. It breaks my heart to see all the dirt lots and the many places where houses still stand in rubble.
One day we spent working in Onagawa, a small city next to Ishinomaki. We were helping a fisherman who was doing his best to rebuild his company in order to provide jobs for local residents. A tenth of the population was killed by the tsunami and almost the entire city was wiped out. After helping this man, we took some debris to the towns makeshift dump. It was mountain after three-story mountain of trash. Literally, almost the entire town is now just mountains of garbage. Before we left, Mr. H shared some things with us, and one quote stood out. What we need is for people to be with us, walk with us, to let us know we are not forgotten. Amen. We’re here, Mr. H, and neither we nor Jesus have forgotten.