Trip to Earthquake Tsunami Damaged Miyagi, July 2011

July 22, 2011 at 12:43 am 2 comments

I was born and raised in Kesennuma-shi, Miyagi-ken. Kesennuma-shi is located at the Northeast part of Miyagi-ken. The city had one of the biggest ports in Japan and was mostly supported by fishing industries. During the recent earthquake and Tsunami about 1000 people died, 400 people are missing and 2000 people are still living at a evacuation center. My parents were rescued by a neighbor and are safe. The 1st floor of  their house was flooded and a large part of the house was damaged. My brother’s house was destroyed by the tsunami and burned completely during the fire after the quake. His family lost everything including 2 cars. My parents have been asking me to return to Japan to help clean their house. I stayed in Japan for almost 3 weeks and spent 10 days at parent’s house. While I was there, there were several after shocks almost every day. One time it was big and there was a Tsunami warning so we had to flee to the evacuation center. We need to pray that all the aftershocks will cease soon. A ongoing concern is the abundant amount of flies from the dead fish and some corpses that the army still finds as they continue to search.

One of the area that was severely damaged in Kesennuma-shi

On the 4th of July, I was able to get a ride with Jin from Noda Home who is working with the relief project, “Funbaro Higashi Nihon” in Minamisanriku-cho. He has been bringing relief aid and young volunteers to Minami sanriku-cho which is right next to Kesennuma-shi. I was able to help dividing the relief aid with Mr. Mira who has started this project. (Mr. Miura lost his house and business. He was frustrated that the relief aid wasn’t distributed efficiently amongst the victims so he decided to start his own project. First relief aid was brought to his center little by little but now it is coming in every day from all over Japan. Many volunteers are coming from all over Japan as well. They provide lodging and food for the volunteers to make it easy for them to volunteer. When you volunteer for the government, they tell them to find their own lodging and food. ) At that time Jin had brought 3 young volunteers. One of them commented that he appreciates the communication with the people there who are simple and honest and he felt good that he came to help. I discovered that the project has been a big help not only for the earthquake victims but also for the young volunteers as well. After that Jin drove me to my hometown.

Ready to go!

with Mr. Miura in Minamisanriku-cho

With Mr. Miura at his warehouse sorting relief aid

Before arriving to the house, we went around the city to survey the damage. The Tsunami hit directly around Kesennuma bay and there was a big fire after the earthquake. There was dark black mountain of Gareki (mixed trash) everywhere, here was still sea water on the road and you couldn’t discern where was the road.  Large shipping boats which washed on the street were put back into the ocean. We saw one big burned black boat, too.

My parent’s house is by the ocean. Before there were houses and pine trees in between and we couldn’t see the ocean. But everything is now washed away and nothing left in between and now we can see the ocean right there. The house is made out of 2 houses. Left side which is the ocean side got hit hard, severely damaged and many things were washed away. Right side got flooded on the 1st floor but the damage wasn’t as much as the other side. I saw the photos of the house right after the Tsunami. 3 cars as well as Gareki were piled up in front of the house. But it stopped just before the house and it looks like God’s hands stopped it right there in order to prevent the damage to the main part of the house. Back of the house was same way. Some building materials were piercing some part of the windows and walls but most of the Gareki was stopped right before the house therefore the main part of the house didn’t get damaged so much. What a miracle!  My parents were in the house. After the shaking ceased, they were watching toward the ocean and weren’t thinking about evacuating. Then the water slowly came into the house. At that time one of the neighbors were going around and telling people to evacuate so they moved toward the car. By that time water was covering the top of the tires of the car. The neighbor came and carried my handicapped father into the car and drove them to safe place. The Lord was faithful to send a helper to rescue them. My parents stayed at the evacuation center for 5 days then my father moved to his sisters house which was safe on the hill, my mother moved to another relatives house which was also safe and close to her house so she can go there during the day for clean up. PTL!

With Jin (left) and my Mother (right)

My parents hired a handyman and repairing and rebuilding had started. During that time John and Marianne from Sendai home (see pictures of them on the director’s site) visited them with relief aid 2 times. Recently our son in law, Aiki visited them as well. Jin drove me all the way to the house this time. When I was going back, John from Sendi came to pick me up and drove me to Sendai. (3 hour drive GBT)Ruth’s (of Sam) mother sent my brother water cooler and air cleaner (my brother’s daughter has asthma), too. All my family and relatives are so grateful for the help and support from the Family.. When I arrived, repair for the house was almost done. I worked on cleaning the shelf, drawer, storage, etc which was untouched after the earthquake. Thick dry mud was covering the floor and wall, all the bowls were filled with mud water to the top to the brim and so I can imagine how high the water came.

Back of my parents house (photo was taken in March, 2011)

Left Side of my Parents House Getting Repaired (photo was taken at March, 2011)

Left side of my parents house, getting repaired (photo was taken in March, 2011)

Also I had a chance to visit Erwin from Aomori who has started a relief work in Minmisanriku-cho, OGA for Aid. OGA has been involved with relief work inMinamisanriku-cho since the very beginning and working closely with the local Community. This time Erwin drove a tractor from Aomori and came to pick me up. Theyhave started new Hatake (vegetable field) project. Hatake has been left alone (farmers have deserted the area) OGA will prepare Hatake which is provided by local farmer. Then the farmer will take over the rest of the work. The OGA relief will buy crops and the farmer will get income. Then OGA will then distribute the vegetables as relief aid.   I went to one of the Hatake to help fertilize the land with fertilizer that was bought by the OGA. When we were coming closer to the place, the place was somewhat familiar. Then I remembered I saw the interview of the couple that own this place on the internet when I was in the States. Also we found out their grandchild goes to school where my brother works as a teacher! My brother helped the children of that school to a higher elevation and no children were lost! PTL So our conversation became alive! They are running a Minshuku (Inn)That has been in their family for 130 years. Tsunami washed away everything in the area except their Minshuku which is on the hill. They provided food and lodging for about 30 people for over 2 months. They also own a field on the hill and offered the land to build temporary housing. But there is no proper road going to the field and the government declined their offer as it will cost a lot to build the new road. But they are hoping that the land will be used to help rebuild the community. OGA has been providing food, drinking water, solar panel for Minshuku and when they heard about the Hatake project, they were happy to offer their land. I helped to place fertilizer on the Hatake on that day. My parents and relatives were very impressed with Erwin who speaks Japanese fluently and eagerly working to help rebuild the community in Minamisanriku-cho.

With Mr. and Mrs. Miura, owner of the Minshuku and their grandchild

Unloading the fertilizer

Most of the people I had encountered with had some kind of damage and loss. They all had different stories to tell. The house of carpenter that was working on my parent house was washed away and he lost all his working tools. His friends gave him different tools and he goes to work from a evacuation center. Painter didn’t lose his house but he has been going to the hospital 3 times a week for dialysis but he couldn’t get dialysis or sometime it was less time and it gave him hard time. One of my classmates lost 5 relatives.  Another classmate who runs a fishing industry lost 5 factories and is trying to restart again. I was able to distribute the booklets  called “Action One”  that Jeremy has provided to all I had contact with. I met a classmate whom I met over 20 years ago told me how she was sad and felt forsaken when I joined the Family and didn’t want me to leave my hometown. I apologized for it and she commented that how she was thankful that she could meet me again because of the Earthquake and after all she thinks I am having the happiest life helping others.

With my classmates, love and happiness overcome the disaster!

It was  a very fulfilling time. My parents were very happy to have me, too. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support! There are still a lot do to and more likely I will be visiting again in the near future. I will be praying for safety, Lord’s abundant supply and anointing for your ministries. Note from Joseph:  Sarah mentioned to me that looting is taking place there and police from all over Japan are patrolling to keep this under control. Let’s keep prying for Japan!!

Garden at my Parents House, still Grawing Strong even after Washed by the Sea Water

Flowers are blossoming, too


Meanwhile Joseph was able  to deliver clothes in 14 black bags and also 12 pairs of crutches, 5 blood pressure machines, 12 back supports, 4 wrist supports. 1 neck traction kit and 2 nursing school teaching aids and stethoscope to the General Hospital in Cd. Juarez, Mexico.  Plus a cooler of different snack food donated by the Bread Store.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Happy Birthday, Elena! 6 Years Old!!

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ruth  |  July 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Good job Sarah-chan… You have done so much and so as your family back… You two are such a great couple and we are so proud of to be your friends…. Keep going for Jesus and Thank you for sharing these news with us….Love you

    • 2. jonesfamily77  |  July 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      It was so nice to see you! Thank you so much for everything!!


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