Our team got to see the city of Ishinomaki today and all the tsunami destruction first hand. Most of the rusted cars and debris has been cleared out but the rebuilding of roads, buildings, homes, schools, and broken lives has really only begun.
One sight is a true testament to God's sovereignty. Amongst all the destruction is an old ship that escaped unharmed. Back in 1613 the original ship was built by a powerful samurai of Ishinomaki who was a Christian to sail to Rome and return with "a boatload" of missionaries. However, before the boat could return the famous shogun Tokugawa Ieyesu outlawed Christianity. The commissioning samurai suffered for his faith and the pope forbade any more missionaries from returning to Ishinomaki lest they die needlessly.
Now in the wake of the tsunami the Japanese will testify that the Christians were the first to arrive and have remained long after all others have left. When the locals ask the missionary families why they are moving here they can't help but think of the ship and the Ishinomaki samusai's prayer. (the Japanese Christian author Shusako Endo wrote the historical fiction "the samurai" about this story).
Being here, even as a short term missionary, feels as if we are part of God's answer to this old wish. We pray that we would be bold and faithful to God's mission even more so in light of this amazing revelation.
Reconciled by Christ, Brett & Beth recount their tales of service to God through their gifts of ministry & medicine with Jethro & Edessa in tow.