Here in Tokyo, today (March 14th) was White Day! A holiday where you give a gift of white chocolate. It is sort of like the other bookend of Valentine's Day where you usually give milk/dark chocolate. There is a bit more to the tradition of this holiday than that, but that is not why I am writing to you. I am sure you can "Google" it to find out the details if you really want to know more.
Well anyway, from what I have heard the rolling blackouts didn't happen as much as planned today. People conserved energy enough so service wasn't stopped in most areas! Here in Shibuya we were told that we would not lose any electricity as the 23 wards of central Tokyo needed power for the companies, and government offices to run today. So, as of now I have power, gas, and water. Very thankful for it, but am trying to do my part and use each as little as necessary. Many train lines were/are not working, also to save power. Many stores/small businesses/restaurants are closed, or open but close by 6PM-7PM. Just like in HSV when snow has been predicted, the stores were sold out of bread and milk, and also toilet paper and batteries. Interesting that it doesn't matter where you are from, the basic necessities of life are the same. As I was out in the city today, it appeared on the outside that life was somewhat back to "normal." But you could feel it in the air that this was a different day. While I was sitting in the waiting room of my doctor's office another tremor hit. I must confess that it was more than a bit unnerving to hear the glass wall of windows rattle. There were two separate parents wit their children also in the room. The three of us (adults) all made eye contact, and they both immediately went back to reading with their children to help keep them calm. It was nothing like on Friday, but enough to get the adrenaline pumping, especially because this time I was not at home. I am so thankful for the hope I have been given through Jesus Christ. Praying for many opportunities to share His love and hope with these incredibly resilient people.
One of my Japanese Christian FB friends had this to say, "The situation is really bad here but we Japanese are strong enough to get through this horrible situation...Please keep praying for Japan." I pray that as she has found strength in Christ, the Japanese people will realize that they need His salvation and strength too.
I was reminded today by a colleague of Romans 8:38-39. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." How precious yet powerful are the words of those two verses. How comforting it is to know that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus!!!! For those of us with control issues, (hehehehe) Paul even covers the fact that the future won't even separate us from God's love. The future that we have little if any control over. But we know and should trust the One who does have control over it!
We have finally received another message from the mission family who lives in Sendai (the missionaries closest to the epicenter). They are all doing well, and electricity has just been restored. Their neighbors have been good to be sure they know what is being announced and what they should be doing. They have decided at this time to stay where they are to continue to minister to those God brings to them. Please continue to lift this family to DADDY.
I too have a couple of friends who are emailing me with current announcements to be sure I am aware of what is being shared by the leaders. Are you friends or neighbors with any internationals in your area? When there is emergency news being broadcast, have you thought about contacting them to be sure they know what is going on? I confess that thought never occurred to me before this situation. I encourage you to think about your "neighbors" the next time you hear that newscast, it really means a lot when you are not 100% sure what they are saying on the TV.
I know you are hearing all sorts of news reports about the condition of things here. Honestly, in Tokyo, we really are ok. As for the nuclear reactor concerns, we are also fine. We have not become "glow in the dark missionaries" yet, and don't think we will any time soon. Don't mean to make light of the situation, but finding humor does help a person work through the process. So, we really are doing well. We are waiting for the initial recovery to be complete so we can assess how we as a mission can "hit the ground" to help. We are not equipped to help with what is truly needed at this point in time, so we will wait until God opens the opportunities for which He has equipped us to help. Please pray specifically for the missionaries: wisdom, discernment, and connection with God during this time of waiting and seeking His direction. And that we will seize the moments given to us now to minister to those here in Tokyo who are also figuring out how to live through this tragic event.
P.S. The picture is one I captured from the Japan Meteorological Agency. It is a graphic of the earthquake on Friday. Amazing that almost the entire country is covered!