I wanted to make a few quick posts for those of you who check and pray. I’ve talked with Eric a few times today. One disclaimer – I am trying to get the facts straight but they come via cell phone and often many hours before I post, so if there are occasional errors I apologize. And I’ll try and correct them later if I find out! Also, we are fine with anyone reposting this information to share what is going on.
Today Eric and his team headed up the coast to the ravaged town of Ishinomaki. Yesterday, some of their team had been there and captured footage of the grandmother and grandson being pulled out alive from their home. (You can see it here). The first shelter that they came to turned out to be a gym in which families could come and claim bodies; it was a hard stop to make. After that, they were able to find two churches in the area still standing, and the pastors and families were so thrilled to see the team and receive supplies. They also stumbled upon a kindergarten nearby that was in need. As they were driving away they only had some boxes of water bottles left, and wondered what to do with them. They saw an older man walking on the street carrying an empty water jug. They stopped and asked him what he was doing, and he was going out in search of water. Hurray! He was thrilled to take them back to his home and receive the gift of clean water for himself and his neighbors, as well.
During this time Eric had been in touch with our pastor, Makio Sensei, who is also up in the area visiting all the churches in his denomination. Makio Sensei asked them to look for a missing pastor – the whole church had literally disappeared in the tsunami and he had not been found yet. They inquired at the closest evacuation center but he wasn’t there. They called Sensei with the bad news. A little while later, Sensei called them with the joyous news – he had been found at another community center. There was great rejoicing.
Here are a few photos taken by Eric, Peter and Kent the last 2 days. They have shared that the devastation is heart-breaking.
I am feeling much better today – perhaps at a 50% capacity. Thankful for that, and for the friends who have brought meals and bread and help to us. It’s been such a neat way to see God’s care.
Today I spent part of the afternoon at a holiday clinic (today was a national holiday here) with 3 of our kids being checked for the flu. The doctor ended up not doing the Q-Tip wire/up/the/nose test, thankfully, but is guessing that the 3 older ones do have influenza and gave me one day’s worth of tamiflu for the each. Tonight, the two girls came down with the high fevers… Still waiting to see what happens with Owen.
BUT my sister Hannah arrived, and even though we had some miscommunication and I was waiting for her at the wrong station, it was a wonderful reunion and we were all thrilled to see her. She had a great businessclass seat coming over, and Japanese people who helped her at each leg of the journey. Yeah Hannah! Tomorrow we need to go back to the regular doctor and get the rest of the five days of tamiflu for the kids, and I’m hoping to get some for Hannah as a precaution. Thankfully, Eric has had no flu symptoms- that is the greatest answer to prayer!
We continue to read reports and concerns coming out of North America about nuclear radiation. While we want to be cautious, we are not overly concerned at this point. Our family is many hundreds of miles away, if some of you are wondering. Eric is closer but even still not in the 50 mile zone that the US has set up as a precaution. Perhaps the greater concern for me is the ongoing aftershocks that are rocking Sendai 4-6 times daily. I am praying that the earth will settle, and the water as well.
Eric told me one interesting story. They stopped at a hotel and went inside. There was still no electricity there, so as they walked further and further into the lobby they were guided by flickers of candles lining the sides of the hallway. The front desk had a staff there, using candlelight to do all of his work. It reminded me of a verse that our friend Miya just sent us: “Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” (Isaiah 50:10) Praying for each of us in the places of our darkness to trust in the name of our Lord.