Heart’s Home has just opened a new center in Japan. Heart’s Home USA Member Rev. Paul Anel is spending some time with the founding team. Some brief news and pics about our first japanese steps.
"At the origin of Heart’s Home’s foundation in Japan, there is an encounter, or better: many encounters. During a short stay in Tokyo in March 2011, on our way back from Vietnam, we met many Japanese people who were deeply moved when hearing about compassion. "At this point in the history of our country, it is what we need the most," they all told us. Compassion for the countless victims of the natural and nuclear tragedy that hit Japan in March 2011, from the hundreds of thousands of refugees to the tens of thousands of children under close medical watch. But not only. "My father committed suicide on the day he retired," a woman told us. "Please come to our country, we are lost," a student cried. Suffering is such that "the thing Japanese need the most today, is a place where they can cry," a pastor said. Everywhere, he could feel an immense and urging need for compassion: compassion for the elderly and the orphan, for the student and the weary businessman, for the hopeless and the lonely.
Seven months later, on October 8, 2012, we were a team of four, including Sylvie Muller, a lay consecrated member of Heart’s Home and former Brooklyner, two volunteers and myself, heading to Sendai, the capital of Tohoku, next to some of the most heavily tsunami devastated areas, and a city with one of the world’s highest suicide rates. There, we settled down in a small, traditional Japanese house, set on a hill between an orphanage and a shelter. Everyday we ride our bikes to Sendai International Japanese School, where we take intensive Japanese classes. Besides learning the language, we also strive to embrace the depth and richness of Japanese culture, with its unique sense of beauty and respect. Though it is not an easy task, it is the way to go and reach out to the heart of Japan, and to plant there, through friendship and presence, small seeds of hope."