Voices from FUKUSHIMA Vol.3 Ms. Ikuko TAKANO

Transition – from Receivers to Givers

We had thought there must be something that we too could do for reconstruction effort. We joined CTVC volunteers in their activities at the temporary housing. At the beginning, we had been rather timid. We brought home-made cakes with us and gradually got acquainted with everyone there.

Although we were only few who could participate in the volunteer activities, more people came to join us in various activities. We began collaborating with nonprofit Catholic organization “Fukushima Yasaibatake” in Nihonmatsu.

Ever since then, we have been deeply involved in these activities. One year after the earthquake, finally a stream of light brightened us. This is all due to your continuous support and encouragement we received. If we remained closed within our parish, we could not make any improvements. Through this earthquake, we could widen a circle of friendship: a new bond was forged and we got acquainted with many people all over Japan. Above all, it was encouraging that many people joined us in celebrating Mass together. They helped us with reading and playing the organ saying “If I could be of any help, I would do it with pleasure,” “With pleasure…” How good and delightful to hear! The way they served challenged the parishioners to participate in church activities such as cleaning, reading, etc. They even helped with writing invitation cards and thank-you letters, etc. One who received the card surprised us by visiting the church one day after so many years’ absence. Or, there was one who left us, saying, “We evacuated from Minamisoma and would not come back. Please do not mind us hereafter.” But later, the same person made contact with us and said that she would like to send the monthly upkeep. Fortunately or not, our church, rather closed before, has started to open herself.

I am very happy that many people have made a pilgrimage to Haramachi Church, the barrier has been broken, and we have become open to each other. At present, I cannot tell how Haramachi Church will change from now on. I hope she will make her way towards the better and think she is making it for sure.