Seriously. That was my first concrete thought as my students dove under the table in our English classroom, and my first action was to step across the room to try to steady the bookcase that was precariously swaying from side-to-side. Looking outside, I could see the students' cars rolling and bouncing in the parking lot.
Coming from Minnesota, I didn't know that the earthquake I was standing through was big. But it was forty-five minutes later when my students decided to come out from under the classroom table, and I walked with the pastor into the sanctuary, where part of the wall behind the altar had come down.
Because the electricity had gone out, Cindy and I didn't know until this morning that Sendai, a town about 40 miles away, had huge damage and numbers of deaths. We didn't know about the tsunami, wiping away homes and people. We didn't know about the nuclear power plants, of which people are still waiting for news.
In the city of Fukushima, we've heard that five people died in a nursing home collapse. Walking our neighborhood, one can see broken stone walls, large cracks in buildings, broken glass, etc. The apartment that Cindy and I share looked like a disaster area after the quake--things had fallen from cupboards, shelves, desks, etc. and were all on the floor. Last night we saw many people stranded, huddled in blankets in hotel lobbies and on supermarket floors. This morning we joined what seemed like a large portion of the city in searching for water and food at the grocery store. Pastor went to a water distribution line and said 200 people were waiting to receive water. The church members all seem to be okay, and I think right now we are all just...waiting. For water, and more news, and an end to the aftershocks and directions of how to help.
It's a strange and slightly ironic thing to have no water, while I'm feeling slightly sea-sick from the multitudes of waves that keep rumbling through. I always thought that earthquakes just happened and then were over. Apparently not.
We are so thankful for the prayers of many! As news of damage and death continues to pour in, I hope that prayers also continue to flow out like an altogether different "tsunami"--one of God's power, truth, and love.
We've been warned that it's highly likely that we'll lose electricity again for a bit, and I'm not sure yet about water, etc. I'll try to post updates when possible! Thank you for so many prayers and words of love!
And now I'm signing out...because we're going to go walk around and look for bathrooms. People survived walking to outhouses for years, right? :)