|Justo Gallego's hands|
|Cathederal of Justo in Mejorada del Campo, Spain|
However, the situation doesn't seem to get better, but in fact, it looks like it is getting worse year by year. More homes were demolished in the neighbourhood since I came last year. More homes were domolished this past year.
The physical reality of that hope and vision is present in the building that is home to Futaba Hope Church and the people who are reclaiming the building for witness to the gospel.
Last year, Rev. Sumiyoshi started repair work last year with the help of volunteers and financial support from overseas churches. Proudly he shared with us that the owner of the building, a few other pastors and himself completed the work of repairing the roof. Now that there is no more rainwater leaking inside the house, the interior repair began just a few months ago. Renovation is progressing more slowly than he anticipated, but he is in no hurry and moving along with whatever God provides and how he provides.
We came inside to sit around to hear Rev. Sumiyoshi's vision and mission for the church in the community. "This house is to become a house of prayer where the Spirit of God dwells. It is to serve returning community people with prayer and give them hope from Christ." After much invigorating conversation with him, we started working. Our job was to clean inside and outside.
|From left to right: Ken Warren from Canada, Rev. Sumiyoshi, Rachel Phua from Singapore and Chie Yoshida from Canada.|
|Kaoru from Tokyo and Chie from Canada cleaning the small garden.|
|Before: The big flowerbed with piles of trash and overgrown weeds.|
|After: We spent two days to clear the flowerbeds all around the house.|
Shihoko received the vision of "spiritual cleanup" of Tomiyoka area when we first visited four years ago. She and her husband started a new church plant in Vancouver with a few Japanese immigrant families just before 3/11 disaster 8 years ago. Since then the church started New Eden garden ministry that offers practical gardening experience at a suburban farm outside Vancouver as a way of solidarity with Fukushima people, as a way of holistic discipleship, and as a way of serving local neighbours in the metro Vancouver area.
|Rev. Sumiyoshi and Shihoko|
With this vision, we come here each year to offer the little service of our own hands as a form of prayer and a form of friendship and solidarity.
Rev. Sumiyoshi hopes to finish repairing the interior this Fall and to start the service officially from then. But we know that he and others have already joined God's ongoing mission with prayers. We join them also through our prayers.
|Fukushima Seven!: Ken, Rachel, Chie, Shihoko, Sumiyoshi, Kaoru (and Maria, the dog)|
after two days' work.