On April 8, [ELCA missionaries] Carol and James Sack, Yasuko-sensei and Ai-san made a trip to our house in Wakabayashi Ku in Sendai City. On their way here, they waited for the highway to open up just after a strong midnight aftershock. What surprised me was that it happened the highway was opened up again only as far as the interchange that is close to my home. It was as if God had opened the way so that they could come to us.
When Ai, Yasuko, Carol and Jim stepped out of the car, I felt that Jesus had come into the midst of our disorientation. I was so happy, as though a light had burst into our darkness. I could feel secure in my sadness. My heart that had been strained in tension for so long felt deeply wrapped in peace.
We walked into the house with the song “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God.” Tears welled up in my eyes. And then, as I received some of relief materials donated by the Lyra Precaria group together with their written messages, I knew I was being told: “God is with you. Be at peace.”
Things are still indeed severe, but being supported like this, I feel strength coming from everyone. I know that through such support, God is expressing God’s Love to us. Just as it says in Psalm 23, even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, the Lord is with us. Our cup overflows. I felt, in my heart, that it is truly literally like that. I am so thankful that members of Lyra Precaria were so willing to copy the learning materials that I lost to the waters of the tsunami.
Up until now, I have been one to be on the giving end of things. Now, the tables are completely turned, and, finding myself only able to receive, I am learning to lean on God. I am so thankful to God for having led me into studies with Lyra Precaria. My friendship with each in the group is a precious treasure in my life. I thank and praise God. Hearing Ai’s wonderful voice and seeing her smile gave me courage. Hearing Yasuko sing, I realized, “I’ll be OK.” The cake Carol brought seeped into my heart, and Jim’s jokes were so fun: we found ourselves laughing out loud.
I thank everyone. My husband also is grateful. When we prayed, he said “Amen.” My husband did! This is God’s blessing.
I passed on some of the treats around to children in our neighborhood and they were so happy. Their hearts are wounded too. This was God’s present to them. And we also shared the relief materials brought with our neighbors. God blessed even our neighborhood.
Following this day, Kyoko Yokoyama reported on how Campus Crusade volunteers from Tokyo helped clean much of the mud from her house and those in her neighborhood. She spoke of how God’s love is overflowing not just in her own cup, but all around the neighborhood. One joy was to share with others the song “Light and Darkness” (See “Prayer Around the Cross” from Augsburg Fortress). “It was at that moment [when singing this together with neighbors] that I realize that in life there are moments of light and darkness; that it is about a cycle of orientation, disorientation, and new orientation; that there is always the hope light in the midst of darkness; and that there is the time when God lifts us up.”