Friday, April 15, 2011

God's Little Army

My last few posts have been centered around the March 11th earthquake and Tsunami. I have written before about the amazing courage and discipline shown by the Japanese people, which in itself is a lesson for the world. I had mentioned briefly in one my previous posts about the relief and rescue operations which are being carried out in the disaster struck areas. In this post, I wanted to share more on this topic thanks to a wonderful friend of mine who alongwith her family was part of a group of volunteers in a relief centre.

My friend has been posting messages and pictures on Facebook about the relief work which their group has been carrying out in Iwaki city. She lives with her family in Iwaki and they have remained in the city not choosing to evacuate like hundreds of others. Instead of expressing their helplessness or recounting problems faced by them, this family has been helping out in Relief work. As I know from her updates on Facebook and the many messages that we have exchanged during the last one month, they were not alone in this mission. They are part of a group of people who gathered at the Global Mission Centre in Iwaki and volunteered to help the needy and homeless. In the weeks following the earthquake and tsunami, this little church in Iwaki's Taira area had transformed from a place of prayer to a relief centre.
The relief work began with cleaning the center which had broken glass all over.

Then they had to make place to stock the supplies which they began receiving. They would help in receiving and arranging food and other essential items when deliveries came in from other parts of Japan and sometimes also from other countries like South Korea.

They would sort the incoming deliveries before sending them out to evacuation centres and other relief centres in the disaster struck prefectures.

Most of these deliveries comprised of donated goods. The group also cooked for about 300-400 people. Many of these people had to escape from their homes during the tsunami and they had nothing except the clothes they were wearing. My friend's group baked and cooked delicacies from whatever little ingredients they managed to get. At times my friend writes that she felt like a "cabbage-chopping machine".

The positive attitude was evident from my friend's cheerful messages - when they had cupcakes or hot chocolate or some hot Nabe or some Korean food. This was her way of assuring her friends and family that they had accepted these times as a challenge and were bravely facing it and even enjoying those moments. It is touching too know that these good samaritans worked long hours each day to help others even as they were experiencing the repetitive aftershocks and short supply of essentials.

After helping at the relief centre for over 3 weeks with her husband, my friend is back at her teaching job. I feel proud and blessed to have a friend with a golden heart.Thanks my friend "SM" for sharing the pictures and for all your Facebook updates. I wish I could have been of some help too.


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