This weekend we received an amazing gift of love from our friend Mrs. Watanabe, who owns the hotel up in Tohoku that we have frequented thanks to her family’s hospitality. The hotel was destroyed in the tsunami (See the original story from last month here). As far as I know, she is the only member of her family who is a believer, but she has been a remarkable example to many of one who loves Jesus.
She sent us moment-by-moment photos of the tsunami rolling in from their hillside perspective (where they remained safe), as well as a ten page letter in which she shared her heart and her experiences with us. I will try to post some of the photos and the letter soon – when I have a chance to get them scanned. What we realized was the tsunami didn’t wipe away the hotel, but came in and ripped through the first floor of their home and the hotel and through that means reaped destruction.
I wanted to share from her letter. (It’s generally translated into English from Japanese). My mentor Bobby Clinton often said about challenges/changes/trials that come into our life, “What matters the most is how we respond to them.” Here is a wonderful example of a woman who is struggling through pain, being real, but holding tightly to her Savior’s hand.
“I have been a Christian for 43 years. I had a plan for my life. I am turning sixty this year and was looking forward to the next stage of life, and not working as much. Then we experienced the earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear accidents. I couldn’t believe this was real life. No words come out because it was so horrible – I was speechless. The only word I could say after that was just “God.” I couldn’t pray.
“Since then I have been praying over and over ‘God, please give me strength to get over things. I have been reading Henri Nouwen’s book ….[I am learning} don’t try to control your life and your future, but let God control your life. Believe that He is protecting us. The life of the Spirit means living in hope.
“I may have hardships — I can’t tell you how bad the pain is — but I’m not going to let it take over me. Even though people died, and so much is destroyed, and I have pain, I know God is alive. I’m trying to understand and see what God is doing in my life. I trust His work and accept everything He does. I am fortunate to have this pain because I have learned God’s principles. I still have pain even saying this but I will continue to work hard towards my goal – that when I die and see God and loved ones, I will hear “you did a good work”
“It’s going to take a long time to get back to normal. If we borrow money we don’t know if we can pay it back. I get depressed but try not to worry too much because I know God gave this job to me and I’m sure He takes all the responsibility and He is with me. James 5:16.
“Sue and Eric, I pray for your work, and to have fruit. Please pray for me, as I believe that the ‘prayers of a righteous person accomplish much.'”
Please join with us in praying for this amazing friend and her family. They are planning to start reconstruction of the hotel in October. We hope that we can find a way to visit them in the coming months.