ELCA missionaries in Japan, the Rev. Jim and Carol Sack, reflect on their ministry after the tsunami and in the midst of the radiation crisis. Jim is a professor at Japan Lutheran College and Carol is a director of Lyra Precaria, a bedside ministry of prayerful presence through harp and voice.
Carol and I continue to be amazed and dismayed at the images we see of the damage following the earthquake. Please pray for those who are now living in refugee shelters that may be many miles away from their homes that no longer exist. If you can imagine that in just a 10-second span everything you owned was ripped out of your hands and disappeared, that is what the majority of these people experienced on March 11. They have nothing. All of their possessions have been removed from their grip.
At the same time we have seen a great deal of compassion and genuine love expressed by many Japanese as they take in refugees and send supplies up to those who have been so greatly influenced by this disaster. Everyone in this country has been touched by this triple disaster: earthquake, tsunami and radiation. It is gratifying to see such tenderness by people who are reaching out to their fellow Japanese who have suffered so by this event.
One thing that we were very surprised by was the number of comments from Japanese when they see us remaining in Tokyo. Recently, we attended the annual meeting of the East District of the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church. We were told by a number of people how much they appreciated seeing us there. Comments like, “Seeing you remain with us gives us strength” and “You didn’t leave us, thank you!” Totally unexpected, these words gave us a sense of how important just “being there” can be at a time of stress and panic.
I was reminded of the “body of Christ” through these encounters with grateful people. To have so many people thank us for our presence (actually the presence of Christ through us) we have been encouraged to be better witnesses of Christ in Japan.
Peace to my brothers and sisters in Christ,
Jim (and Carol) Sack
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