Christmas at Temporary Housing Complexes in Kamaishi

by Hirata Nobuyuki, Kyodan associate staff member

 

Disaster Relief Center, “Heartful Kamaishi

 

We celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, with people who live in temporary housing in the earthquake-stricken area of Kamaishi. There are presently 3,124 units in 65 temporary housing complexes in Kamaishi, with 5,086 people who have no other option but to live in them. The rebuilding of homes is slowly proceeding, however, with 261 units in 15 neighborhoods within the city of Kamaishi and 232 units in 7 neighborhoods outside the city having been completed, and thus the move of people out of temporary housing into rebuilt homes is continuing. This process, however, will likely take at least two more years until all the temporary housing units are no longer needed.

 

Even in such circumstances, we were able to hold Christmas events at nine locations in the temporary housing complexes and also at one location in a new permanent housing complex, as a part of the activity of the “Occhako Salon” (a coffee-shop style ministry) of the “Heartful Kamaishi” project. Normally, we are not allowed to engage in religious activities in the temporary housing complexes, but Christmas is the exception to the rule. We celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ together with 111 people, with three volunteers coming to help us serve through music to add to the fun of the Christmas celebration.

 

The Christmas messages were given by Pastor Iiijima Makoto, Kyodan executive secretary, and Pastor Yanagiya Yusuke of the local Shinsei-Kamaishi Church. We sang hymns together and ate Christmas cake during this time of celebration. Participants gladly received Christmas presents, and we heard comments from the people who live in temporary housing about how “the true Christmas had come.” We felt that God had surely spoken to each person’s heart.

 

As life in the temporary housing drags on, the aging of the people living there also advances. Likewise, there are many single people among the residents. Thus, we will continue our “tea-time” ministry to these residents as long as they continue to come for a bit of respite from their situation. From January, we added three new staff persons at an additional four locations to increase our “Occhako Salon” ministry so that we can expand our positive impact.

 

We reaffirm our request for your prayers and support while we continue this ministry as time passes since the disaster and the flow of information flow from the disaster area decreases. (Tr. KY)

釜石の仮設住宅のクリスマス 平田信之

被災者支援センター ハートフル釜石

御子イエス・キリストのご 降誕を被災地・釜石で仮設住宅にお住まいの方々と共に迎えました。

釜石には現在65団地3124戸の仮設住宅があり、5086名の方々がいまだに仮住まいを余儀なくされており ます。徐々にではありますが復興住宅の建設が進み、釜石市分15団地261戸、岩手県分7団地232戸の募集があり、仮設住宅から復興住 宅への移動が進もうとしております。仮設住宅全戸廃止されるまでは、まだ2年以上の月日がかかるものと思われます。

そのような中でも、今年も“ハーフル釜石”のお茶っこ生活応援の活動の中で、9箇所の仮設住宅、1箇所の復 興住宅でクリスマス会を行うことができました。通常宗教活動を仮設住宅で行うことはできないのですが、クリスマスだけは特別!!。111 人の方々と共にイエス様のご降誕をお祝いいたしました。この為に3人のボランティアの方々が駆けつけ、音楽を通してのご奉仕をして下さり クリスマス会に花を添えてくださいました。

教団幹事の飯島牧師と、地元新生釜石教会の柳谷牧師によるクリスマスマッセージを頂き、讃美歌を声を合わせ て歌いクリスマスケーキを頂きお祝いの時を持ちました。プレゼントも喜んで頂きました。仮説の方々からは「本当のクリスマスが来たみたい だね~」との声を聞くことができ、お一人お一人の心の中に神様からの呼びかけが確かに届いていることを感じることができました。

仮設住宅の生活が長くなるにつれ、仮設住宅の高齢化が進みつつあります。また、独居の方々も多くおられま す。そのような中でも“お茶っこ”に集まっていただき一時でも心がホッとする時が持てればと企画を進めています。3名のスタッフが加えら れ新年からは更に4箇所の仮設住宅でのお茶っこ生活応援の活動を増加させ積極的な関わりを続けようとしています。

震災からの年月が経つにつれ被災地の情報がが風化してきている今日、皆様のお祈り・お支えをこれからも宜しく お願い致します。