Kyoko Yokoyama has been commuting twice a week to Tokyo from Sendai to attend training with Lyra Precaria.
Lyra Precaria is a pastoral harp ministry within the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church and sponsored by the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Association Foundation. This ministry, led by ELCA missionary Carol Sack, provides comfort to those facing death. (See The Lutheran, February 2010 and The Little Lutheran, October 2010.)
Yokoyama’s commitment to this ministry is not just personal, but expands beyond as she takes what she has learned with her Lyra Precaria learning group every week and shares this with a small group she formed at her church.
On March 11, Yokoyama’s husband and two children happened to be home at 2:46 when the Magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck. They saw the tsunami coming at them, and ran to get in the car.
And this is what happened next, in Yokoyama’s words: “In Lyra Precaria, I remember having read an assignment question, ‘What would you choose to take with you if you had to choose in an instant?’ I was prepared, and I said to my husband and kids: ‘Wait a minute – give me a hand!’ Together, they helped me take my harp and guitar to the second floor before we got in our car.”
Though located on a hill, Yokoyama’s house was directly hit by the tsunami. Miraculously, all members of her family escaped.
Later, when they were able to survey the damage, the whole first floor of their home was destroyed. But the tsunami waters did not reach the second floor, so her instruments were spared.
Yokoyama’s home is no longer usable. But she can continue her learnings with Lyra Precaria as she prepares to serve those in need of comfort. And there will be plenty of those in need of God’s comfort in the days and weeks ahead.