Sunday, March 10, 2013

Remembering 3.11.11, Two Years Later

I honestly am not sure if I can write anything better than what I wrote one year ago, today, as I reflected on the Japan earthquake/tsunami of March 11, 2011.

It was the scariest five minutes of my life, crouched between my bed and my desk with my pillow over my head as if that might protect me somehow from any falling debris, desperately praying to God to make it stop and that I would live. God did protect me, but over 20,000 others died that day. As I sit here on my sofa in my cozy house in Dallas, TX, it hardly seems real that it was two years ago. Two years seems so long ago, and yet so recent. So much has changed in two years, and yet so little.

Japan needs our prayers no less than they did two years ago. "Pray For Japan" is not just a catch phrase or a hashtag or something to make into a cool artsy design. It's a promise, it's a call, it's a warning, it's a mission, it's a battle cry- for all of us. After the earthquake, I set an alarm on my phone to 2:46 pm, the time of the earthquake, so I could pray for Japan every day at that time. Some time ago I stopped doing that- I am shamed to admit that I honestly do not know why. But I am committing to start that again today, and for anyone else who wants to join me, I ask that you'd also set an alarm to remind yourself to pray a quick prayer every day for Japan and it's people. They are still so broken- physically, emotionally and spiritually, and need our prayers now more than ever.

Continue to #PrayForJapan.

Here is my blog post from a year ago- no less relevant, and perhaps even more so today:

"One year ago today, at 2:46 pm Japan Standard Time, a 9.0 earthquake struck of the coast of Japan, instigating a 130 ft tsunami that devastated the coast. Over 20,000 people lost their lives, and over 110,000 lost their homes. I will never forget the feeling of a 5 minute earthquake, and thinking I might not live. I will never forget desperately praying to God to make it stop. I will never forget seeing image after image of the tsunami destruction. I will never forget driving through Tohoku one month later and seeing the devastation without end. Mile after mile, hour after hour, never-ending debris, twisted cars and toppled ships. I will never forget staying at the evacuation center and playing with children who lost their families, and cleaning out homes filled with mud. And I will never forget standing alongside Japanese believers at church that Sunday, singing "Everlasting God," "How Great is Our God," and "You are God" and crying...Here is an excerpt from my blog after that church service:

"I looked around and saw and saw a room filled with Japanese Christians, singing of hope, love, and of a God greater than earthquakes, greater than tsunamis, and greater than our fears. Needless to say, it was a moving moment, and I cried all during worship. Our pastor reminded us that while we are such frail beings, the Truth tells us we have no need to fear, because we are held in the hands of the Almighty God of the Universe. Hebrews 12:25-29 reminds us that we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and to that hope and truth we must cling to during times such as this."

I want to thank you for all of your love and support during that time of fear and uncertainty immediately after the earthquake and during the nuclear crisis. Those were dark days, filled with huge aftershocks and fear that we may be sent home due to nuclear meltdowns. Your prayers and words of hope and encouragement were such blessings to all of us. While we may never understand why the disaster happened, I know that the Lord continues to work in Japan. Last week, Franklin Graham spoke to over 12,000 people in Tohoku, and over 400 people accepted Christ. Join with me in celebrating our new brothers and sisters, and continuing to pray for the millions of Japanese still without hope. I ask you to never forget the Tohoku Triple Disaster of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant. Please take some time to pray for Japan today as they remember all that was lost.

Here is some footage I took in Tohoku about a month after the earthquake. While thankfully it no longer looks so bad, it will take many, many years to rebuild. Please feel free to share this with others-

May the Lord bless you today and remind you that He "is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling...The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." - Psalm 46:1-3, 7

がんばろう、日本。私たちはあなたの為に祈りを。"わすれないで、we fight together."