Thursday, September 1, 2011

Brother Yamauchi's Story

On our way home from Ishinomaki on our last work day before leaving back to the United States, Brother Yamauchi shared a bit of the history of the church in Furukawa.  I thought it was fascinating.

Fourteen years ago or so, Brother Yamauchi was Bishop Yamauchi.  He said, at that time, they were trying to find a building to have meetings in, so they were submitting suggestions to the church leaders in Salt Lake for approval.  They had submitted many and had been turned down on every one.  They were becoming a bit frustrated.  When they came across their current location, Brother Yamauchi said he knew they would be turned down, but he submitted it anyway.

It is an office building with apartments above.  There is a nail and hair salon next door to it (at this point in time).  I'm not sure what was there back then.

He was delightfully surprised to have Salt Lake approve it, but the members in Furukawa were given specific instructions not to use the large storage room inside.  He said he didn't understand why, but they didn't use it.  Every so often, they'd put boxes in it or other little things like that, but they were told many times, "You may use all the other rooms, but do not use the storage room."  There is a kitchen area, a bathroom, a few classrooms, an office or two, and a room for a chapel along with the storage room.

Over the years, the storage room stood mostly empty.  When the tsunami hit, they received word that they could now use the storage room.  Miraculous that they had it available to them?  I tend to think so.  God is very aware of His people--all people.  No matter where they are in the world.

People from all  over the world started sending supplies.  Each morning, we would go in and get our boots, gloves, shovels, bags, etc. which were all laid out nicely on the shelves the current bishop had since built in the storage room.  There were also plastic crates of supplies for needy families that were setting up housekeeping again in their own houses after leaving the shelters.

The man on the truck is the bishop who built the shelves in the storage room.  They are loading crates of supplies on the truck for some families.
They say the effort in Japan by Mormon Helping Hands will conclude until mid-September.  Some seem to be unhappy about this.  I, for one, agree that the effort is no longer needed.  The Japanese people are extremely resourceful, and the church's purpose is not to babysit but to give the people a step up where needed and then step back and let them be self-reliant.  It is great wisdom to know when to back up and step out.  I figure, those who understood the eventual need of the storage room also know the perfect time to let the people do for themselves.

The Japanese are such an AMAZING people.  I don't think I can reiterate that enough.  What a great work they're doing!  What a great example of what to do when bad things happen--jump in, and get to work.


Mike and Jen said...

I just love stories that show how Heavenly Father always sees the longterm picture rather than indulging our finite vision! And as simple as a closet.

On a side note, I really respect the choice you made to serve this past month. I'm sure your kids will never forget the strength you showed to go!

Darilyn said...

I love this story about the storage room. I'm going to share that at FHE this next week.

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