Friday, March 11, 2011

Strong shakes...

"Oh, geez, I don't want to pick up all of the glass from broken candle holders when that bookcase tips over..."

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? :)


  1. We pray for your safety and a fruitful ministry. Love...Rich & Cindy

  2. Oh Haidee!

    Thank you for your update. I love the idea of a tsunami of prayers... I can't help but wonder if this tragedy will bring you and Cindy many new opportunities to speak truth to the Japanese people. One can't deny God's power after feeling what you have all felt! Thank you, my friend and sister, for your words. I rejoice that you and Cindy are safe! I can't think of the last time I prayed for someone as much as I have for you two! :)

    Love in Him,

  3. I found your blog mentioned in Minnesota Prairie Roots...I'm glad to hear you are okay and thank you for your post letting the rest of the world know what it was like!

  4. Praying for your safety and ministry in Fukushima.Psalm 46:1

    Eric's Aunt Beth in CA

  5. Hi Haidee--I suppose that when tragedy strikes, you can find all sorts of people. Rich and Sandi Nelson forwarded your blog and the picture of the church to me today. My husband and I worked with VYM in Fukushima from 1999-96. We've heard a little, but it's so nice to know that the church members are safe. We communicate with most of them by mail and have no way to reach out to them. We've been so concerned--first when we heard that the church sustained damage, and then knowing that the power plant had an explosion. Please know that we are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers each day. Lois Hughey

  6. I was so thankful to learn this morning that you and Cindy are safe. Your words are a shining example of your strong faith and trust in God. Continue to be safe and keep us updated.

    With ongoing prayer and hugs,
    Audrey Helbling, Minnesota Prairie Roots