Monday, July 4, 2011

Fukushima Trip #1

From June 27th to 30th, I volunteered at Global Mission Chapel in Taira, Iwaki City in Fukushima prefecture (40km from the center of the nuclear crisis). God sent me to paint pictures for people who came to the church needing supplies, needing to talk, and for evacuees at shelters. Here are some of the paintings He gave me for them. (Other pictures of the trip are viewable here on my homepage.)

(Left) A picture painted for a man who used to work for an insurance company but lost his job because of the disasters. The Japanese is Matthew 7:7.

(Right) I painted this for a mother with children. The Japanese at the top says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)

(Left) For a young couple who lost their home in the tsunami just a month shy of their first anniversary, but who were safe (along with their baby daughter). The Japanese is John 14:2, meaning that He will bring them to a new home, and that even greater, He is preparing an eternal home for them.

(Right) I gave this to a mother and daughter.

(Left) God gave me this picture for a 19-year-old girl who had lost her job because her hospital was gone. She just seemed very down and like she was carrying some heavy worry or something. I was told that she brightened up considerably after we gave her the painting.

(Right) This painting was for a lady who's been coming regularly and just needs people to talk to. She's really sweet. God gave me this picture for her, and after I gave it to her she said that recently she's felt like she's had no exit, no way out from things. *And* since she's been studying John 1, she's been reading about *light* in the darkness!

(Left) I started painting this picture without knowing who it was for. An elderly lady sitting on the sofa nearby saw it and asked if she could have it, and God said, "Yes, it's for her!" The Japanese is Isaiah 54:10.

(Right) For an elderly lady who asked for a picture... I prayed and God gave me this one for her. After giving her the picture, she said that when the tsunami had come in, she was trapped inside her home and nearly died. The water came up to her neck but not higher! So He was showing her that He was holding her and protecting her---thank You, God!

(Left) This was for a lady who was sad because she had to leave her home in a beautiful small town inside the radiation evacuation zone. God gave me this picture for her with John 14:2 to let her know that He will bring her to a new home, and that He is preparing an eternal home for her, too. After I gave it to her she said that it was like the view she had from her front door.

(Right) The Japanese says, "God is near to you." I believe He was telling someone that He is near to them and will help them. It may have been for a mother... we had a lot of mothers come.

(Left) The Japanese is Psalm 46:1, and this is a picture He gave me for a lady to let her know that He was protecting her... she saw the tsunami coming and shut an elderly couple in her car because she didn't have time to get in herself. She held onto a deck when the tsunami came and miraculously survived. So did the elderly couple. Rachel Burney wrote about on her blog here.

(Right) This was for a lady whose elderly parents were saved because the tsunami stopped just short of their home. The Japanese reads, "God loves you!"

(Left) This was for a lady who was evacuated from the radiation zone with her family. She told us about her children seemed to complain or have difficulty re-adjusting. She talked about them, we could see that she herself was carrying a really heavy burden and wasn't able to unload. After she left, another worker and I were halted by God to pray and intercede for her, carrying her burdens to Him and leaving them, and asking Him to help her look up to Him and ask Him for help. The Japanese on the painting is Hebrews 13:5.

(Right) This was done for an elderly lady who had to evacuate to a home where she had a lot of stress. God told me to put Jeremiah 29:11 for her, to let her know that He preserved her like a seed because He has a plan and future for her, and He will re-plant her, and she will be a beautiful tree again.

(Left) At an evacuation shelter a fellow volunteer came by with a little girl and asked me to paint a picture for her. Apparently the girl was kind of morose or something, but she really liked the picture!

(Right) As I was painting the previous picture, a little boy came or was brought and sat with us so that he could have a picture, too. I asked him what he liked and he said he liked trains. Then God gave me this picture. Later on I would make another one of these for my own train-loving son! I didn't think until later... what if my own son was in a shelter like this?

(Left) This was for a young mother who I saw for the second time. I didn't hear her story completely, but I noticed that she was pregnant and things might be hard in her life. God gave me this picture to let her know that He is there and she can seek Him and ask Him for whatever she needs.

(Right) Immediately after the last picture, God gave me this and told me to give this to the young pregnant mother that I had just given the last picture to. The verse He had me put on it was the first part of Jeremiah 1:5 - "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." When she read the verse, she exclaimed, "The Bible really says that??" [See where this painting came from!]

(Left) This was given to a young mother who came with her son after picking him up from kindergarten. He had so much fun playing with two American boys (their parents were volunteers) that they just stayed there a long time playing, much longer than they needed. It was great. The verse is Mark 10:14. The mother liked it so much that she asked for someone to take a picture with me, herself and the picture. (She asked her son to come, but he was shy and wanted to play so I said it was okay, let him play!)

(Right) This was for a lady who wanted an art postcard of mine but her friend had just gotten the last one. I had printed out about 85 postcards of various pictures and they were all gone after three days. So I painted this picture He gave me for her instead! I can't remember her story, but she needed shelter and provision, and He was telling her that He will give her that, and she can feed on His love.

We went to an evacuation shelter to give a barbecue and I heard they had a lot of kids, so I painted a picture for each one. (I had to paint by faith! I usually didn't get to see the kids before I started painting!) The Japanese on eacy picture says, "God likes you VERY much!" in kid-style Japanese.

The last picture (on the bottom right) deserves special mention: There was one boy at the shelter who was just a little bit older than some of the others. He was running in and out of the barbecue area and seemed pretty mischevious. Bit by bit God showed me the picture... His arm around the boy, then His hand on top... resting on top? No. Finally He told me He was giving the boy bunny ears! Haha! Well, God invented fun and humor! (Of course, I worried about giving it to the boy!) When he'd gotten it he was upset saying, "What the heck is this?" or the equivalent of it, and complaining. And he kicked me in my shin as I was working on the next picture! He put this picture on the ground and stepped on it! As bad as this sounds, it wasn't! Because it was speaking His love language! In retrospect, I wish I had jumped up and chased him around after he kicked me in my shin... he would've loved that. But, as my wife told me when I got home, if I'd done that he never would've left me alone after that, haha. Eventually the volunteers gave the picture to his mom. =)

As I was finishing pictures for the kids at the shelter (saying "God likes you VERY much!"), a Grandma came up and asked for two pictures for her grandkids who weren't there that evening! I was tired and working at a very fast pace, and I had to make a bus to get back to Osaka soon, but then a Grandma asks for two more! Since the kids were brother and sister, I had her ask if I could do them together on one page, but she requested separate. Oh well! So I did them. It was a damp evening as it had just rained and being ink and water, it took time for them to dry. Read the rest of the story on Rachel Burney's blog here. (Grandma said it looked like her daughter!)

This was the last picture I did at the shelter on Thursday 6/30, saying
"God likes you VERY much!" A mother had brought up her son who was probably in early high school, I guess. I saw his face briefly before he left for other things. At the time I was working on other pictures, so his was last (after the pictures for "Grandma" that Rachel described). I think it was before I did this picture that Grandma saw me praying. =) Since this boy was a bit older, Jesus told me to draw him a little taller, and with His arm on his shoulder more side-by-side.

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