Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Weekend in Japan and the start of a new week

 So Sat the Steppin Out team worked on the house for a half day (till 2:00 actually).  Then we came back to camp early. Now, the reason we came back early... so we could do more carpentry work! Earl, Wes, John, and Gary all set to cutting, measuring and nailing 
the minute we got back to camp. All for the sake of a personal bedhead shelf for each of them. Needless to say I rebelled against such foolishness. lol I mean it was Sat!  
So now we have our own little room separated from the rest of the room. It is really quite nice (though I haven't admitted it to the rest of the guys).  See the situation is this. We were supposed to get moved out to the bunk house as soon as some carpenters moved out, but then more moved in (long term, three month, paid carpenters. They rank above us) before we could.  So now it looks like we are stuck in the volunteer room for the rest of our stay here. But now we have our own little room and probably have more room than the guys out in the tents do)
 What I'll have to do is get some pictures of the finished product to show you guys.  I never realized how handy it could be to have a few carpenters around to adapt the surroundings.

And then there was Sunday.
It was a fairly eventful day. There was a lot of driving but it was worth it for the most part.
Our adventure started mid-morning with us driving through a place that was hit much harder by the Tsunami than the place where we are working. There was not really anything left that could be repaired. 

Our first group picture

 Basically, after a while everything starts looking the same. Piles of junk cars, piles of trash being sorted for recycle, broken homes, broken bridges, it all starts to blend together. But! There was one thing that really stood out John took us to.  Well inland of the sea there was a gianormus ship that the Tsunami had carried all that way!

 We found this little Buddha statue a little ways from the ship.  At first I was just taking a picture of the statue, but then the juxtaposition of the smiling jolly Buddha and the and the reality of the destruction behind caught my eye. Buddha cannot save from the Tsunami. Nor can any kind of ceremony or ritual save you from death. But a scripture verse that Matthew McDonald shared with me yesterday reminds of of the truth. 

Psalms 29:10-11 "The LORD sat as King at the flood; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace" 

I probably took like 20 pictures trying to get it to look right.

 After the ship we continued our journey on to the Sepita (or something like that) base camp. This Samaritan's Purse camp was located up in a mountain village.  By the providence of God and to my great joy there was located next to the camp a Japanese Baseball stadium/baseball camp! It was pretty awesome! Plus!!! a street away from that there was a Japanese festival going on! That was even more awesome!

 This is Gary standing in line for his Ice cream cone! They were good! I had a Japanese green tea ice cream.
 Carving a bird statue. Lots of cool stuff like this was there. Plus some good food as well. Plus there were tons of Japanese people there (we were the only white people). There was a parade and everything! And I got to talk to a few people and learned a word or two in Japanese. (I heard several more that I have not figured out yet)


And then we did alot more driving and then went home (at least that is my version of the story).  I've left something of the trip out.  Actually something that has happened so far this whole time in Japan.  The only stores these guys will go into or even take me to or tool stores! We've been to three or four different tool stores already and not once have I been able to get to a regular store to do any kind of souvenir shopping (or just to look at anything besides tool which we've already been looking at all day!).  LOL.  I am asking asking for help from all the wives, children, and close friends of these guys. Please start sending some emails reminding them that you expect some kind of present upon their return (something besides Japanese tools!) LOL I'm just joking, but seriously, these guys never get tired of looking at tools.

Alright, you can look at more pictures from today's upload at

Something I've found recently is the Samaritan's Purse facebook page. If you would like to read about them there...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Second day of Work in Japan

I am hoping that through the pictures and my random comments everyone will eventually get a pretty good idea of whats going on.  You may have to put the different post stuff together in order to understand some stuff.

This was my second email to my church

"Hello Church family!

We made very good progress on the house we are working on. Tomorrow we want to do more talking with the house owners Kato San to find out their story on the Tsunami. I can't really share everything from each day but I will try to share a little bit.  Right now we are having our sharing time. We have that everyday after dinner. 
We worked very hard today (at least I know I did!). I spent an hour or two (felt like half the day!) crawling around in the craw space beneath the house (they say I am the youngest and most limber). I only took a few pictures but also got some good video clips I think.

Some of the pictures I uploaded today are from the first days work.  In some of them you can see the mountains of trash and the piles of cars and the houses that are barely standing in the ruins (even 6 months later!).

In the pictures I just noticed there are several photos of people unloading a truck. This was my only excuse to not be in there unloading with them LOL! (I did help)  These pictures are taken at the supply shed.  Me and our translator for the day had gone back to the shed to get 28 sheets of drywall. Then, after we got them, another van pulled up so we helped the guy load his drywall, BUT THEN the supply truck pulled up with ALL the drywall sheets, plywood, and foam for the shed so we had to unload all that.

Brock, the head guy for this base, is a really cool guy. Maybe I will try to share a little of his testimony next time (he shared it this morning). He used to play football for Gary Pinkle before me was at Mizzu. 

See You all! I got to go play some ping pong!

Billy Jackson"

I am in Japan!

I am in Japan with Samaritan's Purse! Working on homes damaged by the Tsunami that hit Japan back in the spring of this year. Many homes have been damaged beyond repair or have just been COMPLETELY demolished! But the homes that can be repaired, those that are still structurally sound, we are fixing.  For us this means going in and repairing the subfloor, putting in installation, doing drywall (a pain! They don't use mud! you have to make the joints fit flush!), and lost of other stuff. This is after the mud-out team comes through and cleans out all the refuse (dead fish, seaweed, worse stuff), clears the rotten wood away, and bleach the whole place (there is alot more to it. I over simplify).

Now I don't have a whole lot of time to spend so I am going post some of the email updates I have sent to my church.

"Hello everyone!

We have safely made it to the Samaritan's Purse base and have made it through our first day of work.  So far every experience and been new and awesome! We slept in a room with over 50 people last night. From our base site where we eat and sleep is about an hour and a half from the work site.  We just started on a new house today. We met the home owners and started putting insulation    Tomorrow we will start on the sub floor and stuff.  The guys I am working with including Gary are way better at carpentry than I am, but so far I think I am doing pretty good and what I'm told done.

Once we got to Tokyo on the plane we staid the night in a hotel where we met up with about 13 other SP people. Then the next day we took off for Tome where our base station is.  There were some very cool SP people that helped us along the way after we got off the plane. They already had the rooms reserved for us, had our train tickets for us, and showed us where to go all the way to the camp.  With out them there is no way we could have made it. (at least I would not have made it)

I have not taken many pictures so far. The first day I wanted to see what it was all like.  I took some on the way here though and you can see them if you click the link.  The other guys we are with are awesome people, and the base is run by people who really love the Lord.  

There are still many many new experiences ahead of us so keep praying for us, but with your prayers praise the Lord for the many many blessing he has given to us already!

By the way, we traveled on the train with people from all over North America (Canadians!) and now at the base we are with people from all over the World!

Love you all!   (Hey! Guess what! There is a ping pong table here! Praise the Lord again!)

Billy Jackson

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rockport Family Camp Video

Rockport's first ever family camp was a blast!  The idea has been floating around for a while to do something like this, but it took Bro Bob Schembre and Amy Lee's combined efforts and "step up to the plate make it happen" attitude to actually get it done.  So much thanks to both of them! And to everyone else that helped. Hopefully next year it will be even better with even more people involved. Now that the path has been forged the delegation of tasks and projects can be more easily done.

"Bro! That was awesome! Lets get some more of that!"

So I hope you enjoy the video!  Hope to see you at next years family camp! And that God's blessing will continue to pour down on us!

If any of you watch it a second or third time for some reason could you tell me whether you think it would be better if it were shorter?  (Just trying to improve my editing skills :-)


Monday, October 17, 2011


Manfrotto Monopod 561bhdv

I am pumped today! In one week from today I will be on a plane headed to Tokyo Japan.  I already have as much stuff packed as possible.  I got some new stuff that I ordered for this trip.  Last Fri a brand new Manfrotto-561BHDV-1-Fluid-Video-Monopod arrived via FedEx, and just today a new external hard drive arrived to hold all the awesome video I'm going to capture. On top of new toys tools and an exciting trip ahead going to see the movie Courageous  for the first time today definitely added to the sweetness.  I highly recommend the movie (recommend  is actually to weak a word for it). It was very moving and really helps drive home a weakness that is very apparent in this country and in this world today. Especially fathers and young men should see it.  Now if you think all this is enough to make a great day I still have two more things to add to that! THE CARDINALS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES! sorry :-) just had to throw that out there because it is so awesome that they have gotten this far (far beyond anywhere we expected them to get to).  

OK, and now about this trip to Japan.  So a few weeks ago a man named Joel Corey came to our church and shared about a mission trip opportunity in Japan with Samaritan's Purse.  Joel and Steppin' Out Missions have partnered with Samaritan's Purse as part of a project to repair as many damaged homes in Japan as possible before the winter months. Thousand (maybe millions) of homes were damaged and destroyed in the Tsunami that hit Japan.  In many of these houses have families now moved back into them though they are in no way prepared for the cold and wet weather that is coming.  Not only that but some of these homes were flooded on the lower level and so for now the families are living in the second level while their bottom level remains in ruins.  So Joel explained about this need and about how Samaritan's Purse is sponsoring workers who are willing and ready to go NOW!  Not only that but for those who are willing to stay at least a month airfare will be covered as well! "Amazing!" is what I was thinking.  After checking with my dad to make sure he would be able to find another assistant to take my place on wedding days (Thank you Matt Fells!) and explaining to my instructor at Jeffco that I would be mission about a month of classes (he was very gracious especially after he heard why and he is going to work with me to help me get the projects done. He's actually letting me do my video news package that I'm supposed to do with the class in Japan! Thank you Matt Keeney!) I was all in! It is a three month project and I along with Gray Northcutt who goes to my church, and two other men will be joining up with the workers who are already there for the last month.  I am really looking forward to all the opportunities ahead!  Awesome christian fellowship, on the job training and instruction, improving my construction skills (bought my first tool belt Sat. it was on the to bring list), getting more experiences in missions and the different methods of missions (this will be my longest mission trip so far), the opportunity to get some good photos and to further explore the world of video production (I actually have to get something and put it together to pass my class. Good motivation :-), AND just being able to watch God work in more amazing ways. Thinking about all this gets me more and more excited plus these things have long term benefits for my future service to the Lord!

So they say that we will have internet access while we are there (at least some kind of access that is) but that is in doubt because our team may be called on to open up a new operating base (did I mention that we will be housing army camp style? Well not really but kinda), but whatever the case I will do my best to give some kind of updates every so often.

Two more completely awesome things that have happened to me recently are the Get in Motion Tour and my first studio shoot at Jeffco. I am starting to see an improvement in my video skills and in grasp of the knowledge needed to produce good videos.
OHH! and also my church just had its first ever Family Camp! It was great! I did not take my camera because I was helping in other ways, but I collected video and photos from people afterwards and am now working on putting a video together. Here is a sneak peek... 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Billy Jackson
Photographer for Christ

I'm Going to Japan! 
Lord willing of course.  Also another member of my church is going at the same time as me, Gary Northcutt.  More info to come (and hopefully pictures!)