A network of churches and organizations supporting churches and communities in Iwate Prefecture stricken by the Great East Japan Disaster
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(23rd year of Heisei)
Mar 11th
2:46 p.m., “The 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake” strikes

With the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami, fires and aftershocks, a massive disaster is triggered. 15883 perish, 2681 remain missing (as of 10 Apr 2013), and there is extensive damage across cities, towns and villages on the coastline. At multiple churches in Iwate prefecture, buildings are damaged by the tsunami, earthquake and aftershock, and there are casualties among people associated with the churches.

Mar 17th

A team of OMF missionaries from Aomori visit Morioka Bible Baptist Church. Pastors Kondo and Otsuka make a survey of Miyako.
The OMF missionary team started recovery work on Ofunato Bible Baptist Church after this. They also started up the OMF Iwate Relief Project and became involved over the longer term in the relief effort.

Editor-in-chief Taniguchi of REVIVAL JAPAN visits

Editor-in-chief Taniguchi of Revival Japan returns from a media coverage trip of the stricken area and visits Kitakami Bible Baptist Church, and gives us information about the situation on the ground (such as damage to churches along the coast, the condition of transportation systems).
Subsequently, Revival Japan put together a long series and continued to report on the relief work in Iwate.

Mar 20th
Skype conference

Four pastors, Kondo (Morioka Bible Baptist Church), Otsuka (Morioka Minami Church), Wakai (Mizusawa Bible Baptist Church) and Sasaki (Kitakami Bible Baptist Church) held a conference via Skype to discuss the conduction of field surveys and future collaboration.
Rain continued to fall today in Iwate till the following morning. Rain containing radioactive particles from the explosion of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station mainly fell on the southern parts of our prefecture, eventually leading to soil contamination issues, to restrictions on shipping out of agricultural products, and to health concerns.

Mar 21st

Surveying the ground

We split up into two parties and headed to the stricken coastal areas to conduct a site survey, carrying relief supplies with us. We also visited members of pastorless churches whom we had been unable to contact and confirm their safety.

Mar 22nd
The first relief team dispatched by Hocmin (Hokkaido Christian Mission Network) arrives in Iwate

Hocmin gave us long term manpower and economic support, continuing to send a total of 61 teams over a period of a year and a half.

Mar 23rd
A survey team from United Project (a disaster relief project by Chiba International Bible Fellowship, later made an NPO) comes to Iwate

Subsequently, we received their long term support including sending of volunteers, giving of relief supplies, financial donations and sending of personnel.

Mar 24th
The 3.11 Iwate Church Network is confirmed over another Skype conference session

The framework for cooperation among various churches within Iwate and with other relief groups was set down. At the same time, our official website was started up to disseminate information.

Core Members’ mailing list

With the core members of the Network all located inland, we started operating a mailing list to share information, and improve reporting, communication and consultation.

Mar 25th

Reconstruction work on the “Ofunato Bible Baptist Church”

A team mainly made up of OMF missionaries from Aomori started a project to restore tsunami-damaged parts of the church and to reconstruct other parts of it. Until then, only mud outs and cleaning up activities had been carried out. The Network participated in this work in a cooperative role.

Mar 26th

“Let’s play!” teams

This is an activity that involves just playing flat out with the children who continue to spend their evacuation time living in evacuation centers. We were already aware that the key to our mission would be a “slow and steady continuing support based upon a trusting relationship”.

Mar 27th
We organized the basic principles of our Network and introduced ourselves to many churches
Mar 31st
A location to base our activities in Miyako

This location (Nisshokan) was a Japanese inn (ryokan) damaged by the tsunami and would later be known as the “calling out” ryokan. It was through a small misunderstanding that we had the privilege of helping out at this place, but this in turn led to our being allowed to use the place to house our volunteers and to base our activities in Miyako.

Apr 3rd
Newsletter Vol No 1 published

We introduced some of the relief work we had started, even though it had been like groping in the dark. We also introduced the American missionary Tamasine Allen who committed the rest of her life to the mission in Kuji city after the 1933 Sanriku Great Tsunami Disaster and lifted up a prayer that a “second missionary Allen would be raised up”. Eventually, this prayer would be answered in the form of many staff and collaborators sent our way.

Apr 4th

Cleaning up at Airin Offset Printing Company at Kesennuma city

We helped do mud outs and cleaning up at their printing facilities that had been inundated by the tsunami, in response to a request received from the Disaster Recovery Support SBS Network. This firm was eventually able to reopen for business.

Apr 10th
Newsletter Vol No 2 published

We introduced the many organizations and churches that rushed to help immediately after the disaster. The list includes OMF, Hocmin, Covenant Christ Church teams, Presbyterian church teams, Japan Alliance Christ Church teams, CRASH Japan, Campus Crusade teams. All these organizations have continued to render their long term support to us.

Apr 15th

The “Onsen Project”

This was an activity limited to Yamada town. We invited the elderly living in evacuation centers to inland hot spring inns, so that they could recuperate through a time of dipping in hot springs and good food. This project was held four times with the help of donations received from Tohoku Help, Disaster Recovery Support SBS Network, Conservative Baptist Association of Japan, and from individuals. Though this town did not have a church, OMF have since set up “Ippo Ippo Yamada” to do support work over the long-term.

Apr 17th
Newsletter Vol No 3 published

Coordination with the relief networks in Sendai and Aomori commence. We also noted that, increasingly, there were problems surfacing due to mismatches between the burning passions of those who wanted to help and the actual situation and needs of the ground.

Apr 23rd
English versions for our website

Mr Ryoichi Miyao (member of Budounoki Christ Church), who came to Iwate as a volunteer, started translating our website into English, making it possible to reach out to a wider audience.

Apr 24th
Newsletter Vol No 4 published

Our work expanded to cover the cities and towns of Miyako, Yamada, Ohtsuchi, and Ohfunato. Our activities also increased in variety covering things like the provision of food and daily necessities, extending support to isolated communities, cook-outs and lunch box deliveries, “Let’s play!” teams, the Onsen project, mud-outs and cleaning up of stricken houses, and the reconstruction of church buildings.

May 8th
Newsletter Vol No 5 published

We continued to distribute vegetables and foodstuffs received from many places. We also tried to help out the local economy by increasing local purchases of foodstuffs and daily necessities for distribution, as the supply chain infrastructure began to bounce back. We continued to do cook-outs, mud-outs, clean-up activities, and “Let’s play!” teams, working together with volunteer teams coming in from many places.

May 29th
Newsletter Vol No 6

Around this time, we started making consolation visits using music. As we continued our relief work, we started to hear people tell us that they used to go to church, that they remember stories from the Bible, that they know about a church in their area.

Jun 1st

Michio Nagata comes onboard as our staff

He comes onboard as our first long term staff, sent by Chiba International Bible Fellowship. We quickly sent him out to serve in Miyako.

Jun 15th
”Mobile Café” activities commence

Micah Ghent used his summer vacation time from his college studies in the USA to drive around a light van and provide coffee to the residents of temporary housing (kasetsu). Mobile cafés were embraced across the stricken area as a good means to start working on rebuilding communities. This eventually led to the cafés and ochakko sessions at the activity rooms of kasetsus.

Jun 16th
A retreat for pastors of the stricken area

A retreat for pastors of the stricken area sponsored by a number of organizations was held in a hotel in Shizukuishi, Iwate. Associates from our Network also participated. It was an opportunity to reflect after having run flat out for the past three months and at the same time talk about prospects for the future.

Jul 3rd
Newsletter Vol No 7 published

The traditional inn that we were using as our base in Miyako was about to restart full-scale commercial operations, so we had to move out. By this time, around 200 volunteers had come and stayed here to engage in the relief effort.

Jul 5th

Portable radios donated by PBA

We received donations of portable radios from PBA (Pacific Broadcasting Association), who produce and air the radio program “Light of The World”, as part of their activity to support the relief effort. M/s Suzuki, who is the manager, and Tanigawa, the radio program producer, came to Iwate to deliver these in person. After the disaster, portable radios were in short supply. They collected and hand carried 20 of these to Iwate. We received another 100 sets in August and a hundred more in December, all through PBA.

Jul 7th

We have a logo now

Our logo was designed by Sho Kubota of Morioka Bible Baptist Church.

Jul 10th

Hiroko Matsui (member of Sapporo Fukuinkan), sent by Hocmin, arrives as on-site staff at Miyako
Aug 7th
Newsletter Vol No 8 published

Despite the summer heat, many volunteers came from far and wide to serve across many different locations. The activities included cleaning up of tsunami-inundated houses, carpentry work, distribution of supplies, cutting overgrown grass, cook-outs, etc. We also served in the distribution of illustrated books to children.

Aug 10th
Our base in Taro

Having used the “calling out” inn as our base in Miyako for two months, we then had a period of moving around. First we borrowed some space from OMF, and then we were permitted to use a vacant room in the local chamber of commerce & industry. We secured new space in Taro in view of the large number of volunteers expected for the summer.

Sep 1st

Missionaries Mike & Rowena McGinty arrive, become our on-site collaborating staff

They arrived in Iwate as team leaders of OMF’s Iwate Relief Project and as its local staff. They have commenced their work and will also be cooperating with The 3.11 Iwate Church Network.

Sep 4th
Newsletter Vol No 9 published

A great number of volunteers came to serve during the summer, from abroad and from within Japan.

Sep 12th

Hocmin House

Hocmin rented a house in the Miyako city center to use as a volunteer base. Hocmin continue to rent and pay for this house, although they have ended sending volunteer teams. Through their gracious support, we continue to use this house as our activity base in Miyako.

Sep 14th
”The Onsen Project” ends

The last of four Onsen Project events was held. Overall, we were able to bring an accumulated total of 70 elderly folk out to a time of recuperation through a trip to the onsen and good food. We continued to lend a listening ear to the shifting sentiments of the people stricken by the disaster, as they moved on from a time of living in evacuation shelters to living in kasetsus (temporary housing).

Oct 1st

Hidetaka & Sanae Honma arrive as on-site collaborating staff

They come to Iwate as on-site staff of OMF’s Iwate Relief Project, and will reside in Miyako. They will work together with missionaries Mike & Rowena McGinty.

Oct 2nd
Newsletter Vol No 10 published

From around this time, the number of times we need to make a trip to Tokyo or Sendai to report on and give thanks for the relief effort increases. These opportunities not only allowed us to convey our gratitude for all the support we received, but as we prepared these reports, it also gave us a good opportunity to reflect on the past work done by the Network and to have a good, hard look at where we could be heading down the road.

Oct 8th

”Hope Concert” held in Ohfunato

The “Hope Concert” was held at the Rias Hall in Ohfunato, with a performance on the harp being the main event. Post-disaster, the Hall had been used as an evacuation center, and up until this time no such event had been organized there. It was also a first for the Network to organize such an event.

Nov 13th
Newsletter Vol No 11 published

This volume carried articles covering our past eight months’ activities across our various locations. By this time, our area coverage had expanded to include Taro, Miyako, Yamada, Ohtsuchi-Kamaishi, Ohfunato and Rikuzentakata.

Nov 15th

Missionary Poh comes onboard as on-site staff at Ohfunato

Missionary Paula Chen (aka Poh) started work at Ohfunato as our on-site staff. She had already been serving as the team leader of the United Project (Covenant Christ Church IBF). At the same time, missionary Fang Ling and Rachel Burney joined her there to provide support.

Dec 22nd

Ohfunato Citizen’s Christmas

We invited people we came to know through our relief work for a Christmas event at Ohfunato’s Rias Hall. It was a delightful time with concerts, hula dance, a Christmas talk and food. Around 120 people came.

Dec 28th
Fukushima Family Snow Retreat

We worked together with the Hokushin Calvary Church in Fukushima prefecture, who hosted a snow retreat. Parents with children from Fukushima city were invited to C-on Kinshuko in Iwate for a time of recuperation and recovery from the anxiety triggered by radioactivity concerns. We were glad to see they had a great time playing in a huge amount of snow they had never experienced before.

この投稿文は次の言語で読めます: Japanese


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Ambient Dose

Morioka: 0.027
Hanamaki: 0.036
Ichinoseki: 0.053
Ohfunato: 0.049
Kamaishi: 0.043
Miyako: 0.047
Kuji: 0.043

Date/Time 2015-02-10 / 11:00
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