Colleagues from Japan visited the national setting of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland to share information on the continuing effects of the 2011 disaster in Japan which included an Earthquake, a Tsunami and a Nuclear Power Plant Radiation Explosion. Staff and visitors gathered for a lunch, and heard of the lingering effects the nuclear contamination is having.
The UCC was honored with a certificate of appreciation for being a church who has walked with them through the devastation.
Thank you so much for your support of this disaster. Continued prayers are requested.
Blog page written during an OGHS delegation to Japan and the Philippines, Summer 2015
JAPAN - It is painful and extremely moving to bear witness to those who are living with the effects of nuclear contamination. Most of us were moved to tears as we listened to our hosts share their personal stories as well as the changes to their communities and families they have experienced since March 11, 2011. That date is known here in Japan as 311.
My mind began to think of the United States and its experience with 911, a day that changed our country forever. Likewise in Japan, 311 changed Japan forever, and it has also changed our planet forever. Nuclear radiation contamination is invisible. Japan remains a beautiful lush green country. We have heard repeatedly that one of the most difficult concepts for people to accept is that everything has changed though nothing appears to have changed. This past week's lectionary readings ask us to look beyond appearances, to not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, and to mature as Christians. " Speaking the truth in love, we must grow into Christian unity..."
Bearing witness to uncomfortable truths and then sharing these stories by speaking and blogging the truth in love, is promoting the up-building of the body of Christ.
Hope and despair often live side by side for the people of this area. It is through relationship we create hope, even when disparate feelings are also present. These raw and honest stories share themes of fear of government under reporting, broken trust within the local community, contaminated food fears, short and long-term health issues, and also great love for family and place.
The question was posed and answered by one speaker: "How do you go on when everything could be poisonous yet nothing seems to have changed its appearance? 'Life.' For future life, and for our lives given by God, these must be lived as long and honestly as our natural lives were intended."
It is challenging to find words which adequately express the experience our group is sharing. Looking beyond appearances, we all are, no doubt changed forever by bearing witness.
For more in depth information about Japan, follow the blog of Global Ministries Missionary Jeffrey Mensendiek, at: http://jeffreyfromjapan.blogspot.jp/.
Written by Rev. Merida Wilson and Samuel Wong-Wilson (11)
St. John's UCC, San Francisco, California
The travel blog is still available for review at: http://www.ucc.org/japan_and_philippine_trip_blog