Japan Quake Rpt: Hysten Apr 7 ’11
Report from Ken and Etsuko Hysten – April 7, 2011
Three weeks into Japan’s recovery from the massive 9.0 Earthquake and Tsunami, the people of Japan are still reflecting on and recounting all that has occurred. Although the nation as a whole has been in a state of repair since that fateful day of March 11, the rebuilding process, albeit steady, will no doubt test the resolves of many who call Japan home.Last weekend we traveled to the Ibaraki Prefecture to help Etsuko’s parents make repairs to their home. We took rebuilding supplies that were not available to them in their area. The damage to their home was extensive. Like many houses in their area, their home had roof, wall and structural damages. Thanks be to God, we were able to put our limited carpentry skills to use and make some measurable progress during our brief visit. During the course of our two-day stay, we experienced ten minor earthquakes, the largest of which measured 5.0. In view of the many recent tremors and earthquakes, several have been suffering from what the Japanese have coined “Earthquake Sickness.” This is when a person feels dizzy or shaky— even though at the time, no earthquake is occurring. Apparently, as a result of the daily tremors and quakes, “Earthquake Sickness” has become quite a common ailment for many in the North.
Etsuko’s parents and brother also admitted suffering a few bouts of this rare form of motion sickness.In addition to helping Etsuko’s parents, while in the area we also made a partial assessment of what supplies are needed that we might potentially acquire to assist the brothers and sisters in the Ibaraki Prefecture. However, in talking to some of the leadership in the area, most of them indicated at the present time they are not in the position to provide an ample appraisal of what their members need. This is due to the comprehensive nature of the disaster and assistance being offered, being in such a state of flux. There is a Japan area wide ministers meeting on April 18th. God willing, following the meeting we will be able to get a clearer picture on where to focus our collective energies. In the interim, the ministers in the Shizuoka area will be working to make our own assessment of how we can contribute in the most productive ways. We are coordinating with key people in the areas affected, to pool the information acquired in an attempt to be the best stewards possible in the use of our time and the resources we commit in our attempt to make a difference. Next week, God willing, I will travel with two brothers, minister Tomoyuki Shinozaki and missionary Eric Robinson, from the Numazu congregation, to the Iwate-prefecture to bring supplies and aid to perhaps one of the hardest hit areas in Japan, Rikuzentakata (陸前高田). As of 2008, the small city, Rikuzentakata had an estimated population of 23,687. It is estimated that about half of the residents of the city perished in the March 11th Earthquake/Tsunami.
Although the initial sting of recent events is beginning to subside, the complexity of dealing with the overwhelming enormity of what remains to be done still faces those within the nation of Japan. Since the tragedy, our daily conversations with those with whom we interact in our
Shizuoka English Bible Classes have surrounded recent events. Among the continual echoing of fears over further earthquakes, tsunamis and radiation poisoning, many of our students are grappling with how to handle and comprehend life after March 11th. On the whole, we have tried to keep our conversations encouraging and positive. We want to uplift, yet bold in seizing the opportunity to exemplify just how important it is for one to have true life in Christ. In these times, we must be diligent in our efforts to not only meet people’s physical needs, but their spiritual needs as well. In a moment of time Japan was devastated physically; however, spiritually the nation has been devastated for a long time. Please continue to pray for our rescue and relief efforts not only in meeting people’s physical needs, but also to supply the needs of their souls as well.