Three years ago today, I was siting in the boys’ bedroom in Mukono, Uganda, as we prepared for that night’s church service.
As I was sitting there, I didn’t know one and a half years later that that house would be my home.
And I also didn’t know, as we were hearing about the earthquake in Japan, that six months later, I would be there.

March 11, 2011.
That date may not be significant to many of you.
At that time, I knew what had happened in Japan was bad; I didn’t realize on how large of a scale.

And these are 6 to nine months later

debris pile in Rikuzentaka


DSC02538street in Kessenuma


DSC02548what used to be houses and businesses in Kessenuma


Those pictures, don’t do justice to the magnitude of what happened in so many places and effected countless people.

Here are a few recent pictures taken by a friend less than two months ago

trucks removing some of the debris


some people think everything is back to normal in Japan now – it’s not!

cleaned up area of Onagawa – some want this building as a monument


there are temporary stores popping up in different places


This morning I watched this video, if you want to take the time to watch it (4 mins:), I think you should.
The city in Japan, Rikuzentaka, was one of the places I would visit when I was there.
It gives you a glimpes at how one town in CA was impacted by March 11, 2011 two years later and how that connected them with Japan.


Recovering Hope from Facebook Stories on Vimeo.


much love!


Princess Diana’s daughter

Another blog already,  I don’t know what’s gotten into me:)

When I got home from work today, I found out a video was made for, “The Bethany Song.”  If you haven’t heard this catchy tune, you’re not alone; it was written by Paul and Nina for me before I left the base in Japan.

This is one of the many reasons I currently miss Ichinoseki base:


ps. for two months, I was introduced as Princess Diana’s daughter.


much love!

Japan (in a nutshell)

March 11th.

Today doesn’t really mean much to us here in America, but in Japan, this marks one year since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that has changed the country.

Oshima Island, Kesennuma, Japan

piles of rubble.  Oshima Island.

On a much less important note, this also means I have been home from Japan for about three months now.  One of the last blogs I wrote, on my world race site,  I briefly mentioned my time in Japan.  I thought today would be a good day to share more of what I saw and what I did while there.

While in Japan, I volunteered with an organization called CRASH Japan.  CRASH is headquartered in Tokyo and has five bases throughout Tohoku.  For my first month I volunteered at headquarters; October and November I was at the Ichinoseki base in Senmaya, which is about 7 hours north of Tokyo.

Senmaya, Iwate-ken, Japan

Ichinoseki Base in Senmaya

The staff at Senmaya was very international while I was there, Japanese, Norwegian, German and American, which worked very well for the various groups of volunteers that would come to help.

Senmaya, Iwate-ken, Japan

staff the day that I left Senmaya (Emiko, Paul, me, Nina and Strauss-sensei)

Rikuzentakata, Japan

after a cafe, Junior, Mayumi and me

Everyday at the base was different and unpredictable.  Some days we never left the base, but were busy cleaning or preparing for coming activities/groups.  Some days we passed out food, house-hold items, clothing or snacks at temporary housing.  We also held many mobile cafes at various temporary houses; which is where we would bring coffee, tea and waffles to the survivors in their community center, giving them a time to get together and talk and hang out.

Kesennuma, Japan

passing out goods, with another volunteer, who was from southern Japan

Pictures and videos can never do it justice, but I put together a very short video (maybe 2 minutes) showing some of the devastation and destruction I saw while I was there.  Most of the footage is from Kesennuma.

I am very thankful for the opportunity I had to volunteer in Japan.  I met and worked with so many great people.

much love!