I woke up on the morning of 3/11 at 2am and couldn’t fall back to sleep until around 6am. I tried my best to pray for friends who lost loved ones four years before. I honestly think I could actually feel the pain in the air, it was that palpable. So many people here lost their loved ones on that day in such a horrific manner. I am haunted by a woman at our house church who cried out two years ago on 3/11, “Why? Why did my mother die like that? What was running through her head right before she knew her life was about to end in the depths of those black waves?”

In the morning of 3/11 I visited a friend who lost over 20 relatives in the tsunami. I have to confess she didn’t seem very upset but rather quiet about the whole matter. We watched the coverage on TV and she didn’t say much about the matter, but I know she enjoyed our visit. I think that Japanese people are doing their very best to move on and not really give too much thought to what happened. For the most part, we have seen that folks just want to move on and rebuild their lives. As a Westerner, so much of me thinks it would almost be better to see some tears shed, but this is a culture that does not easily allow people to mourn and wail and throw ashes on their heads like we read about in Scripture.

The city of Ishinomaki rang the siren at 2:46pm (when the massive earthquake hit) to remember the deceased. I clung to my sweet daughter and wept for those who lost so much on that day. I prayed and sang, “Kyrie Eleison,” a beautiful song I learned in high school choir which means, “Lord, have mercy.”

The Be One house church network has hosted an event on the evening of 3/11 for the past three years. It was somber and short and as I looked around the room, I felt deeply honored to be present. I watched my husband pray with a man whose wife died in the tsunami. My friend Y, who I invited to come, was weeping as several Japanese Christians laid hands on her and prayed for her. “Y” will soon have to leave the temporary housing unit she’s lived at for the past three years and it’s terrifying to think of leaving behind the people who she considers her family. Everyone will go their separate ways and it’s very scary.

Singing a few songs

One of the men in the back row lost his wife in the tsunami

My friend “Y” with our special friend, Mr. T, an ex-homeless man who now loves Jesus Christ

In other news, we attended a sweet Hinamatsuri festival, Girls’ Day, at our favorite nursing home where we’ve done English time.

In front of the doll display

Being fawned on by the old folks and staff

Sophie’s first time in a kimono

In other news, our dear teammates, Katherine and Jonathan Long, will be leaving Japan this week and heading to the Fresno, CA area. We are very sad to even think about them leaving! It certainly doesn’t seem real but it’s happening whether we like it or not. We are praying their transition to the US will be smooth and that God will provide them with work in California.