Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pray for Japan

On Thursday night, March 10th, around 11:30 p.m. pacific time, I was chatting happily with the then-future-bride Lisa in her family's home in Bremerton, Washington. We were giddy after a day of church decorating and were just about to call it a night, when Lisa's dad rushed into the room. 

"There's been a huge earthquake in Japan."

For the next two hours I was frozen in my seat--watching endless footage of the most horrible devastation I could imagine, desperately emailing everyone I knew on mainland Japan, and praying, fervently, for those in the affected areas. It was a nightmare.

New York Times

It also caused nightmares. When I finally was able to close my eyes, my dreams were riddled with those horrible images. Lisa said I even cried out in my sleep. 

For the next two days I did everything in my power to focus on where I was instead of on the disaster, and I was able to enjoy myself and the wedding preparations. But every break I had from making flower arrangements or decorating the church found me online, seeking an update, holding back tears, and praying even harder than before. 

God, help those people.

I am back in Japan now. Okinawa is far, far from the epicenter and experienced only a miniscule rise in water levels due to the tsunami. Everything is just as I left it, but there is a heaviness in my heart and a hint of sadness in the faces of those around me. During a moment of silence this morning, tears filled the eyes of many of my coworkers. We may be far away, but our hearts are right there with those suffering. 

(Here's a map of the damage. If you go way down southwest, you will find Okinawa and see that there was no damage in this area. )

I need to help. I need to do something, to go somewhere, to give. Especially, to pray. National AJET, a volunteer organization that works in connection with the JET Program, sent an email to all JETs with information about volunteering and donating. I found it incredibly helpful and encouraging. It seems that numerous JETs feel the way I do. That we have to do something. There may even be an opportunity to volunteer. I am hoping to be able to donate my time as well as my money and help in that way, but if nothing else I can give money to Red Cross, donate blood (I hope... last time I tried to donate they turned me away for anemia), and pray. Pray, pray, pray. 
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, please find a way to help. Japan may seem a million miles away, and the people affected may be nameless and faceless to you, but this disaster is real, and everything, anything you do can help those who truly, desperately need it at this time. Don't let your heart be numbed, but let compassion direct your actions.


  1. You should think about changing your Red Cross link to that of Red Cross Japan. Word has it RCJapan doesn't take huge cuts out for their administrative expenses and the $500,000 salaries of their board members.

  2. Thanks for the heads up, Dave! I changed it. :)

  3. Great post. I will be going through some of these issues as well..

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