A City On Its Knees

Day 5: Friday, 26 October 2012

By Alan Yeo, Peng Beng Tian & Calvin Pang


Alan Yeo:

It was no coincidence that as we entered Higashi-Matsushima, our driver, Nozomi, played the familiar song of “City on Our Knees” by Tobey Mac through her iphone. This was the theme song of POR 2011, support edition to Sendai. Tears just welled up in my eyes as the land came into view. It has been over one and a half years since the POR first visited Sendai. The river that now flows through the devastated tsunami site which was then a horrific scene of smashed up cars, driftwoods, broken houses and garbage strewn both sides of its banks had all been cleared up.

Except for the lamppost bent in an awkward angle, the broken railings on the bridge and the railway station that is no longer in use, one might not have guessed that the tsunami had swept through this quiet town. It was difficult to fathom at that time what good may come out of the tragedy but God is faithful. There is a serenity that gives one a glimpse of the renewal and restoration that God is bringing to Japan.

Our driver, Nozomi (means “hope” in Japanese) is currently a volunteer with Izumi Gospel Church together with Toyo and Simon, who played host to the peacemakers driving us to and fro. Nozomi used to live and work in Yokohama but decided to relocate to volunteer in Higashi- Matsushima after the news of the Tsunami. She has already volunteered for 18 months. We also met a missionary, Eric and his family (his children were all named after hurricanes - Andrew, Isaac and Katrina) who had just relocated here as volunteers this week. It’s amazing how God is calling different ones to participate in His story for Tohoku region and the Peacemakers on the Road are blessed to participate in God’s story for the Japanese.

Peng Beng Tian:

The day has finally arrived for the POR team to minister to the people at Amazing Grace Relief Center at Higashi Matsushima. This relief center is situated near the children’s playground where 7 peacemakers led by Pastor Dale Lim were clearing the mud from the ground back in April last year. This relief center is open to anyone from the community, and it functions as a church on Sunday. Everyday, there would be people coming to the center seeking for someone to talk to.  It reminded me of the cities of refuge during Joshua's time.  The relief centre is headed by Pastor Hiroshi Ito from Izumi Gospel Chapel, and a group of dedicated volunteers from Sendai city, Yokohama and Saitama.  One of them is Mr. Toyo who has a Master Degree in Physics from the United States. Toyo's responsibility is to open the center in the morning so that people who needed help can come to the center first thing in the morning.  As such, he sleeps at the center every night.  I met Toyo only twice but I could see the joy beaming from his face as he serves as a volunteer in the center.

We called our party at the relief center the Little Red Dot Party.  The menu for the day is kaya toast- the Singapore style with half-boiled eggs, milo and coffee.   At 1.30pm people started streaming into the center.  By 2pm, the center was already filled with people from the community.  Every Peacemaker was either busy preparing food or serving the people seated around the tables.  In between serving food and drink, different individuals from the POR team also participated in the programme. Nicole started the ball rolling by introducing our Japanese friends to the peculiar culture of Singapore. We were also favoured with four special numbers from Hui Xin, Sing Tee and Gaylonda.  Though we only have the keyboard, the special numbers all were beautifully sung.  Our artists, Calvin Pang + Kanako captivated our Japanese friends with their creative arts.  Both had spent hours preparing clay stones with the word ",” carved on one side of the stone and a cross symbol carved on the other side.  Our Japanese friends were each given a stone, and they were greatly touched by our sincerity. People in Higashi-Matsushima loves to listen to stories about life and we had Jamie and Hui Xin to share with the people about the grace of God in their lives. Each of our guests was also given a goodie-bag before they left for home.

We are indeed grateful to God for this opportunity to participate in bringing cheers to the community Higashi Matsushima.  This precious 2.5 hours of afternoon being with the people is itself a reward from the many days of preparation.

Calvin Pang:

A Land

Broken Bridges,

Fallen Streetlamps,

A Land,

While time stood still.

Torn apart houses,

Sparse overgrowth,

A land

That smells of sea.

Fourteen hearts,

Done their part.

A land

Where love begins


Check out the story of our recent trip to Higashi Matsushima that was also featured in the Japan Assemblies of God Disaster Relief blog here.


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