International Ministries

Hope for the Hopeless

March 31, 2017 Journal
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Are you getting ready for Resurrection Day (Easter)? While Christians worldwide remember the Lord’s Resurrection, this is the time of year in Japan when kids are graduating and many people are moving or changing jobs. March also marks the sixth anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan (Tohoku) earthquake. 

While most of the nation has returned to business as usual, people in Tohoku live with constant reminders of the tragedy. Rebuilding has begun in some areas, while other areas are still in limbo. Many people remain in temporary housing. Possible nuclear contamination is a constant source of anxiety. As a family, we took a trip to Sendai to visit some friends and encourage them.

This was our first time to visit Nozomi Project in Ishinomaki City, about an hour from Sendai. Sue Plumb Takamoto, Director, invited us for a tour. As a missionary, Sue helped in the cleanup in Ishinomaki directly after the tsunami. She said she saved some of the beautiful broken dishes and thought, "What if we could make something beautiful from this devastation?"

 After moving her family to the area, she saw her new friends needed a place of hope. The idea to make jewelry from the broken pottery was born. Nozomi means, “hope” in Japanese. They train women from Ishinomaki to craft high-quality jewelry from up-cycled broken pottery. Over 30 women have received employment and hope through this ministry. Currently, they have 15 on staff. One of the staff, Chieko, gave us a tour. Afterward, she shared her testimony.

Chieko is a survivor like others, but her story involves her disabled son. She was lonely and unable to talk about her struggles. At Nozomi, she found a safe community that has given her hope. She says the Bible has helped her to share openly about her son. Please pray for her as we did. Her hope is for a society that will accept and encourage people like her son. 

If you are interested in seeing a short (1:20 min.) video of our visit, please click on this link:

We love Sue, the Nozomi story, the staff, and their products! The end of our tour included shopping! They have expanded their lines of jewelry! If you are interested in learning more about Nozomi and their products, please click on this link:

I will share about some exciting happenings in Rifu (Sendai) in the next journal. May the Lord continue to richly bless you!

With Thanks and much Love,

Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang

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