Exhausted doesn't even begin to describe how I've felt for the last almost two weeks.
The events of March 11 shook up our world in ways we could not have anticipated at the time. Shortly after 2:30 that afternoon, the ground started shaking beneath our feet. Having spent several years in Southern California, this was not a new experience for me. The earthquake didn't seem particularly big to me at the time it was happening - but what did stand out was how.incredibly.long it seemed to go on. I kept thinking it must certainly be done and I was just feeling dizzy, but then I'd notice the door was still swinging, or things rattling on the shelves. However, once it was finally done, we thought "No big deal. We are in Japan - there's earthquakes here all the time." We were even surprised it took us nine full months to get our first one. Back to business as usual. Boy, were we wrong!!!
That evening, however, things were still going on as usual. I even attended the dinner to kick off the women's Bible conference our chapel was sponsoring that weekend. We followed our scheduled program but took the time to pray for the people of Japan, since we were already starting to hear reports of damage from the tsunami that had hit Sendai following the earthquake. We had no clear concept, however, of how extensive that had really been.
It wasn't until the next morning that the reality of what had happened in the aftermath of the earthquake started taking place. The women's conference went on with Day 2, which was in a nearby town about a 45 minute bus ride away. I opted to pass on that day, feeling a little too nervous to be so far from my crew. Initially, we focused on how merciful God had been that in such a BIG quake (it was measured as a 9.0 at the epicenter), there had been so little damage from the shaking itself. We heard virtually no reports of major damage due to the earthquake. That, however, turn to a deep concern as the realization of the massive damage from the tsunami became a reality. And a true and very real concern for a nation of people who for the most part do not know the Lord.
The next few days were spent in prayer for those experiencing loss due to this tragedy, and pleading that this would be used for God's glory and that those in need would turn to the true source of all comfort.
I can't even remember when we started to hear about the concerns relating to the nuclear plant. The days all kind of blur into one another now. We did not want to panic, and patiently waited out the first few days hoping the situation would be reversed and it would turn into a non-issue. We tried to reassure family members stateside, telling them we would be sent home when deemed necessary. We just didn't know how fast that would be.......
Part 2 to follow........