Last night at around 11:30 pm, Eric’s cell phone started beeping and he said, “oh no.” While doing relief work up in Sendai, he had downloaded an app on his iPhone that actually beeps before an earthquake hits (App name: yurekuru). He had set it for above a 5.0 (otherwise he said it would be going off all the time!) We turned on the news, and watched as a long 7.8 earthquake hit off the coast of Sendai. Because of its proximity to land, it was the same size in Sendai as the original 9.0. There were tsunami warnings for the next hour and a half, and people near the coast were told to evacuate. I just read that there were 140 injuries and four fatalities as a result.
Tonight we talked to our friend Kazue, and then received a call from another close friend who had been our Sendai neighbor, Kyoko. They shared more about last night’s experience. Although their homes have electricity and gas, they shared that much of the city and surrounding areas do not have gas, electricity or water – again. Still. Kyoko said she debated putting her older mother who cannot walk into the car to drive away, but she looked out and saw that there was a terrible traffic jam — everyone trying to get away. So she stayed put. Thankfully, there was no major tsunami that came this time.
Kazue shared that it was quite traumatic and scary. They are living in someone’s apartment temporarily — the earthquake knocked the refrigerator over completely… all the dishes fell out of the cupboards and broke, their borrowed portable oven fell over as well. But, she said, “We are all okay and are very thankful for that. We have gas and electricity and many don’t have that so we are very lucky.”
Kazue’s mother’s home had been damaged in the first earthquake – they have spent the last few weeks trying to repair the broken roof tiles but have not known how to fix the large cracks in the walls and structure. After last night’s quake, her home is no longer salvageable. They will need to tear it down and rebuild it.
I asked if they need toys for her two month old granddaughter, Shuu-chan. She said that was one thing she got when she went back to the house. I was shocked – I hadn’t realized that between the earthquake and the tsunami, she had returned to their home! She said she realizes now it was not a smart thing to do — many of their friends from that neighborhood who returned to get things from their home did not make it out — but she thought she would just grab a few things until the next day (assuming everything would be fine). I asked what she took from the home- she laughed and said it makes no sense, but she had no real time to think: her granddaughter’s toys; a few floor cushions; their bag with some cash in it (yeah!); and — drumroll please — her makeup bag! This made me laugh – I would probably do the same.
What is amazing to me is Kazue’s response to all of this. She is a new believer, but tonight on the phone she said, “I am just so thankful to God and I am looking forward to seeing how He works through this and continues to show His care for us.” She asked us to thank all of you who have been praying for them.
For those interested in helping us to bless Kazue and her family with a financial gift, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org . Our friends the Bernards in Los Angeles are collecting checks and will deposit the money so that we can give them a money gift. We are hoping to receive checks in the next week or so in order to help them as soon as possible. We want to help them to buy clothes and household items. These financial gifts are not tax-deductible but are a tangible way of blessing those with real needs as a result of this disaster.
Finally – I watched this 25 minute video tonight. (I’m not sure why it’s not showing up – but you can quickly go to youtube or google: “People & Power – Aftermath of a Disaster)
I thought i would just watch a few minutes but couldn’t stop till the end. I know I cry easily, but once again this found me weeping (I hid in the bathroom so the kids wouldn’t see me). It’s about one small town that has been wiped out twice in fifty years by tsunami. After the last one in 1960, they built a huge tsunami wall and then rebuilt the city. The tsunami last month had no respect for the wall and ravaged the city. I want to find the old man featured in this video and just hug him and weep with him. At the end he says, “I need to find my wife’s body. If I don’t, she can’t go to heaven. She’ll never have peace. I’m going to sit here until somebody finds her body.” I’m thankful we are in Japan; pray for Christians in Japan to shine the light and the hope of Jesus. I’m convinced it is desperately needed.