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Japan Tsunami Update...encouraging news


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From an elder in the Seattle Japanese Congregation:

Dear Friends,

We had a very good report the other morning on the situation in the Tohoku (North-Eastern) Region of Japan. Especially on the situation of the brothers. There hasn't been much to write lately, but this is encouraging news.

During our zone overseer's visit in May, the two brothers, Geoffrey Jackson and Isaac Marais visited the area and really gave encouragement to the brothers there.

At present there are 6 Circuit Overseers who have been assigned temporarily to the area to care for the spiritual needs of the brothers in the congregations. As you might imagine, many are suffering from PTSD and those who have lost loved ones especially need encouragement.

697 elders and ministerial servants from all over Japan have offered to move to help out and as of this writing 104 have had applications to move accepted. 64 of these are elders and 12 of them have already been able to move to the assigned congregations. Finding housing is very difficult. One couple who were reassigned as special pioneers to an area hit very hard have to travel an hour and a half to the congregation territory and the house they were able to rent has no bath - so they go out to the local "o-sento furo" bath to bathe. Very self sacrificing work indeed. But the brothers are making that sacrifice willingly.

The congregations are doing well spiritually. Of the 10 congregations most affected by the tsunami and earthquake meeting attendance has increased from 864 before the quake to 909. Some of the congregations lost 40-60% of their territory in the tsunami, so that is really a great increase when you consider many had to move out and will not be coming back to live.

One congregation in Ishinomaki had 30% of its territory swept away in the tsunami but recently 23 members of the congregation did auxiliary pioneer service. Who did they preach to? Well, they called at any house they saw standing - many have gone back to their damaged homes because they have no where else to go. They also made effort to reach all the temporary housing the government has set up. The brothers are trying hard in this difficult situation.

Kingdom Halls are being rebuilt and repaired. 24 Halls were partially damaged and 7 were totally destroyed and will be rebuilt. One, the first structure in the city to be rebuilt, was finished this past weekend in Rikuzen Takada. Two congregations meet there and they were able to rebuild on the same property. The Hall is right next to high ground and the houses right behind it were undamaged by the tsunami. However all the property in front of the hall is totally destroyed. So, the brothers felt that rebuilding would be worth it as it doesn't present a risk to the brothers even if another tsunami came, they could get to high ground in seconds. The brothers have been helping clean up the neighborhood for several weeks in preparation for the construction. Volunteers from different RBC groups from all over Japan have been helping. They helped demolish a community center and other buildings that were falling apart around the area and cleaned all the streets. The community is very happy they are there and when they went for permits to rebuild on the same site, the officer in charge thanked them profusely for all the help they are rendering the community. All the people living on the high ground behind the Hall are cheering the brothers on. The brothers called on all the houses and told them that they loved the community and wanted to stay so they hoped for the cooperation of the neighbors during the rebuild. As a result, the neighborhood offered land for the support departments and parking etc. for the rebuild and watched in awe. This is the very first building in the city to be constructed since the tsunami.

115 homes of the brothers have been repaired and 3115 offers of accommodation have been sent in from all over Japan. Many brothers are not able to leave the area due to government policies on getting reimbursed for the Fukushima reactor accident and the city repayments for the tsunami, so they have to stay, but 150 families have moved and accepted the offers of even temporary housing.

So, as you can see, spiritually, the brothers are doing the best they can and the branch is helping a lot. They are reorganizing the congregation territories too.

The Personal Services department is doing a lot to ease the situation. Qualified elders and sometimes couples are meeting with each member of the congregation to ascertain what their individual needs are. They are not just asking do you need anything? They are asking questions that will tell them what is needed. The brothers need everything from electrical appliances to automobiles. 28 circuits are cooperating to fill these needs. They have sent everything from clothing, PCs cars, make-up and various appliances. 480 cars were donated and so far a little over 300 have already been delivered.

Many unbelieving relatives have changed their attitude toward Jehovah and his organization since the disaster. Many have started to study and attend meetings. We look forward to hearing more encouraging reports in the future.

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Hi Musky, thanks so much for that wonderful report. It is so encouraging to get good news like this.

42441=1783-coffeeandpapergif.gif I also wanted to thank you for using paragraphs in your long post so that it is easier for us older folks to read it. Sometimes I loose my place when the posts are long and don't have paragraphs to separate the thoughts.

42441=1784-peace.gif

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That is such a wonderful report, just wanted to cry reading it. Seeing how many are moving to help out in the areas hit, not having their own bath, etc., just an incredible report.

Thanks for posting it.

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To go along with this report on the KH Rebuilding, a few photos.

Kingdom Halls are being rebuilt and repaired. 24 Halls were partially damaged and 7 were totally destroyed and will be rebuilt. One' date=' the first structure in the city to be rebuilt, was finished this past weekend in Rikuzen Takada. Two congregations meet there and they were able to rebuild on the same property. The Hall is right next to high ground and the houses right behind it were undamaged by the tsunami. However all the property in front of the hall is totally destroyed. So, the brothers felt that rebuilding would be worth it as it doesn't present a risk to the brothers even if another tsunami came, they could get to high ground in seconds. The brothers have been helping clean up the neighborhood for several weeks in preparation for the construction. Volunteers from different RBC groups from all over Japan have been helping. They helped demolish a community center and other buildings that were falling apart around the area and cleaned all the streets. The community is very happy they are there and when they went for permits to rebuild on the same site, the officer in charge thanked them profusely for all the help they are rendering the community. All the people living on the high ground behind the Hall are cheering the brothers on. The brothers called on all the houses and told them that they loved the community and wanted to stay so they hoped for the cooperation of the neighbors during the rebuild. As a result, the neighborhood offered land for the support departments and parking etc. for the rebuild and watched in awe. This is the very first building in the city to be constructed since the tsunami..[/quote']

43561=1869-Image1-2-3-4.jpg

43561=1870-image005.jpg

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To go along with this report on the KH Rebuilding, a few photos.

Thanks for posting the picture, it really make the article come alive!

Me, too! Thank you for post and pictures. Only in Jehovah's organization will you see such love and encouragement. We experience that when devastating hurricanes come our way. Thanks again.

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