Monday, March 11, 2013

The Nozomi Project

Two years ago today, March 11, 2011, Japan was rocked by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region and affected the entire country. At 2:46 this afternoon the nation observed a moment of silence in memory of this disaster.

Rebuilding has been slow and, according to Voice of America, 300,000 are still in temporary housing. Hope is in short supply.

Yet my friend Roberta Stephens, a missionary for over 30 years in Japan, reports that hope abounds through efforts such as the Nozomi Project. At a recent women's conference she attended she "heard amazing story after story of how God is working. Lots of missionaries have been moving up to NE Japan, and a lot of small cottage industries have begun. One of them employing young women in their 20s and early 30s (most projects involve 50-80 year-olds) has a fantastic jewelry business that has started making necklaces from shards of glass and pottery washed up... We heard some stories of how these women are slowing coming to Christ."

In Japanese, nozomi is the word for hope, and that is what The Nozomi Project is offering these young women, many who lost loved ones during the tsunami. As they teach the women to craft unique jewelry from the broken pieces that resulted in the tsunami, they are helping them bring beauty out of the ashes of their own lives through the sustainable income, community, dignity and hope that results.

Thank you, Roberta, for alerting me to this wonderful project. I have spent quite a bit of time looking over their website and feeling grateful for the chance to share it with others. I encourage you to check it out and, as you do, lift these women and the millions of others who are still feeling the effects of the tsumani. You might even find a piece of jewelry or two that you'd like to purchase.

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