I suppose something like the day that Kennedy was assassinated, or 9/11, I remember 3/11 very clearly. Like the whole day. 3/11 of course, March 11, 2011.
That morning was a big morning. I had two big things to accomplish that day. I met a fellow missionary and a Japanese friend in Shinyurigaoka to file taxes. It was like a mountain of a task that I was worried about completing. I had 4 more days to file and was planning a trip to the states on March 17. Along those lines, I had to acquire my reentry permit to Japan or else I would have to reenter on only a 90 day tourist visa upon return a month later. After countless lines and windows and papers to fill out, my passport was stamped and I was a happy camper. I felt accomplished. Filing taxes in a language you can’t read! Imagine that? (then again… those US forms are kinda hard to read too…) I still had about 2 hours to spare before a prayer meeting at 4pm. I was going to celebrate by taking it easy and grabbing a coffee and perhaps window shopping at a nearby mall. However, I walked into the mall and took a few steps, perhaps 10 at the most and stopped. I had a peculiar feeling,
immediately thinking, no, I’m going to go to church and maybe help Christine (a co-director of the mission) make dinner for our team tonight. Out I went, got on the train and then walked to the church. About 5 minutes after I had arrived at church, the earthquake happened. 2:46pm
It seemed to go on an on. You could literally see the walls shaking, hear things falling off the shelves upstairs. As the overhead lamp was swinging violently, I urged our team members to get under the table as it was getting very serious. It must have been shaking around 2-3 minutes before we ran outside to an fairly empty parking lot. Our ankles rolled with the ground below as if we were on a boat, though everything looked flat.
I could go on. Our phones shut off. The country basically shut down. Praise the Lord He sent me to the church, else I’d have been stranded. We watched in horror as live feeds of tsunami waves and victims floating in cars and water and from rooftops waved. The terror felt multiple times overnight as yet another 5.0 or 6.0 aftershock would wake us up. It was a rough night. Friends told us that those who were old enough to remember said it reminded them of Japan during the war (World War 2). Store shelves emptied out. Trains not running. Rolling blackouts to conserve energy. People stranded. Friends desperate to hear from family members in that area. Uncertainty. Fear of going outside, fear of nuclear rain, fear of…
As it always happens, people got used to the stories. They got used to the situation happening up in north Japan, or happening across the world, wherever they were hearing it from. But 4 years later, rebuilding of lives is still taking place. Closure is lacking. Some people lost their entire families that day and are the only survivor. Some are still rebuilding after severe financial loss. Some are still living in temporary housing. Many still have loved ones classified as missing, all these years later. There are orphans. There are grieving parents marking the day they lost their little ones. The horror of being with their loved ones in those painful last minutes… or the horror of not knowing how their loved ones spent their last minutes.
And while Japan is known as a country that picks itself back up and moves along, I ask, where is the hope for their souls? Where, amid the terror and the grief of that day, is their hope? There is a Hope for them. But who will tell them of Him?
Please pray for Japan today. Right now even. Please pray for those still recovering. Please pray that the Lord will send the someone to tell them about Christ, our Hope. Christ our Savior. Eternal salvation. Just a quick prayer.
For a good article, check out: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/11/national/survivors-mark-4-years-since-311-disasters/#.VQBE7On9nmQ