|Volunteers packing goods for delivery|
Because it involves material support and it is done by the local church, there were some roadblocks the church had to experience. These roadblocks came from both within and without the church. I was very privileged to hear some of the stories of both the positive and negative impacts of such assistance. The criticism coming from outside is easy to understand in today's world. Local churches in many countries have over-used formula of 'relief goods + dying poor = rice Christians' trying to fill the pews of the building through providing food and other material goods. Japan was not an exception to this. Disaster victims in Japan are not dying poor, but had credit cards and cell phones in evacuation shelters trying to navigate the devastating crisis in their own ways. In a developed country like Japan where basic infrastructure is well built, local residents have high expectations that "the government must do something! (by the way, in Fukushima the expectation of efficient government assistance is now an eroding belief.)
|A temporary housing block in Koriyama|
The integration of relief work with the local church is a very delicate matter to address that I will save for another day, but now I want to share stories of positive impact made on victims when assistance is provided with genuine motives.
But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?
It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.