Our second week in Ishinomaki has flown by lightning fast! We continue to enjoy meeting lots of new people, both foreigners and Japanese, and are feeling so thankful and honored to be living in this city. It’s going to be hard to keep up with all the names of the many new people we are meeting! 🙂

Here are just a handful of the many photos taken this past week:

the house where we are temporarily staying

Sunset view from nearby the house

A funny t-shirt I saw at the supermarket (which I bought)

wearing the shirt and teaching a kid to play “Twinkle, twinkle little star”

A visit with my former English student from more than ten years ago!

Matthias grilling at a community barbeque

We were reminded afresh on Saturday evening how much the people here need healing and hope. We attended a barbeque and met a 60 year-old man who lost his wife in the tsunami. He was there with his college-aged daughter and we talked with both of them. I even joked and laughed with this sweet man about marriage and being a newlywed – he seemed to enjoy teasing me! When I was alone in the car I cried softly as I thought to myself that this sweet, smiling man who I had just interacted with has suffered so deeply, so tremendously. He never found his wife’s body and I am sure he wakes up each day feeling like he is dreaming – is his beloved wife really gone? I also cannot imagine the pain that this young woman must be feeling – can you even imagine your beloved mother being swept away by a tsunami, never to be seen again? I certainly cannot and I often feel so inadequate to think we can help people like this who have suffered more than I can ever imagine.

I am thankful that there are so many people here who are reaching out to the survivors of the tsunami offering practical help, a listening ear, and friendship. We love seeing the relational bonds being formed between the survivors and the volunteers, both foreign and Japanese, and we pray these bonds will last for many years to come.

We know it will take time for us to make friends here and feel like we are a part of the community here; a key part of this will be finding a place to live long-term. We are still looking for housing and have no idea how long it might take to find something. A friend is going to take us to meet a realtor on Friday who has a few apartments available – maybe we will find something soon. It would be so wonderful to have a place of our own here and be able to start reaching out to our neighbors.

I am thankful that this is not the first time I have uprooted my life and moved to a totally new community in a foreign land. Though past experiences in Japan and Germany, I have learned that wherever I have gone in the world, God seems to have a special community of friends prepared in advance. Matthias and I can hardly wait to see where God decides to plant us in Ishinomaki, Japan.