A Project in Onagawa?

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July 2013

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While living in Sendai in 2012, we (Dale and Ann Little) tried to link our tsunami recovery ministry with the proclamation of the gospel and church planting. For example, we served at the Sendai Izumi EFC church planting project alongside Larry and Bella Mori (ReachGlobal, EFCA). 

So we are delighted to report that we are now partnering with RG personnel who have a similar goal. They will be developing a handicraft enterprise in Onagawa Town that will serve as a place for gospel networking. The project will be to develop a compassionate social enterprise that brings sustainable income, community, dignity, and hope to tsunami displaced women by providing them an opportunity to make and sell handicraft products. 

For example, they might make jewelry from broken pieces of pottery left in the wake of the tsunami. Each piece of jewelry could be named in honor of a loved one, either one who perished or is a surviving victim of the tsunami. These handicraft products will be offered for sale online.

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Onagawa had a population of about 11,000 before the tsunami of March 11, 2011. But 10% of the town perished on that day. The entire main business district, located on the waterfront, was wiped out. Over 40 percent of the people in Onagawa still live in temporary housing. Over the next five years the surrounding mountains are being terraced to allow for the rebuilding of homes above the tsunami line.

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An Onagawa NPO leader asked RG personnel to use her land at the southern entrance of the town to set up a trailer as a Nozomi Project site. The Tourism Association has suggested that the site could become a welcoming spot for the town. So RG personnel hope to set up several temporary trailers for the project and a small drop in community center.

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This is a remarkable opportunity to see the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed and demonstrated in Onagawa. Currently there is no church in Onagawa. RG personnel plan to offer their facility to other denominations and groups for starting churches. They envision several groups starting house churches or small groups. They would eventually like to see various church planting groups meet quarterly for a combined worship time at the RG facility, whether they are using a house church model or a more traditional church model.

By linking hands with local people, community leaders, and other organizations, the body of Christ can become significant in helping to rebuild Onagawa and its social fabric. It is a privilege to partner in this kind of compassionate, Chirst-centered tsunami recovery project.

japanquake.ca (dale little)