April 2012: Hope Through Resurrection
By God’s great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ… I Peter 1:3b
Each day of the week prior to the March 11 anniversary, the newspapers carried articles related to the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan. At the Emmaus Center, our mission church partner in Sendai, we planned a simple opening ceremony for a new base of operations in the village of Shichigo. The villagers invited us to be a constant presence there, and have gifted us with a base of operations. Many of the volunteers who worked through the Emmaus Center returned for the anniversary. At 2:46 in the afternoon we all held hands for yet another minute of silence in remembrance. Lost lives, lost homes, lost livelihoods, lost community, lost relationships, lost security of life. Yet in the midst of all this loss we celebrated that we had come together in a way we had never come together before.
This was a simple way to witness to the HOPE that is newly resurrected within our hearts. I read that 260,000 people are still displaced and that only 5% of the debris left from the tsunami has been disposed. The number of volunteers at any given time last summer was 100,000, in the month of January it was 5000. The needs are greater now than ever, and yet interest is declining. Here at the Emmaus Center though, we have a constant number
of volunteers coming to help. There are schools, churches and individuals who have benefited through their experience with us who come back to help. To date we have had 1750 volunteers. It has been an incredible year. It has been a blessing to be at the heart of a relief effort so genuine and fruitful.
Our prayer today is for the peace that comes with patience, time and understanding, bringing hope even in hopeless situations.
Global Ministries missionary, Jeffrey Mensendiek, serves the Council on Cooperative Mission in Japan. He is assigned to the Emmaus Center in Sendai where he had worked as director of youth activities, and has now become coordinator of volunteer recovery efforts.