Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Glimmers of Hope
Everywhere we look, there is negative to be found.  It's hard not to get pulled in and under by it.  It is tsunami-like in its proportions.
I have, naturally, been very intrigued by what has taken place in Japan.  I have been sent many links to information on it from friends who understand my interest in it.  I am deeply saddened by it, as I'm sure the entire world is, but I want to share a few glimpses at the other side of this Japanese coin.

I have found some amazing facts that I want to share--little glimpses of light in what seems to be an insurmountable darkness.

As I shared in a previous post, I have been learning more about God's tender mercies for his children.  Having seen these tender mercies in abundance in my own life as I've dealt with my own little challenges, it gives me great hope in what lies ahead for Japan as I become aware of some of theirs.  I know, with no doubting whatsoever, that God is in charge, and this is all part of His plan.  Prophecy is being fulfilled.  Good things will come from this.  But, amongst all the horrifying images we see on the news, are you aware of the good that is going on at this very minute because God's hand is in all of this?

First, of all, I want to share the miracle of the missionaries.  The more I think about this, the more aware I am that God has had something to do with this.  The area of Fukushima, the farthest south area in the Sendai mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was hit extremely hard by the quakes and tsunami.  It is the area with the nuclear plant.
In these areas, companionships of elders are placed in some of the most remote and outlying areas.  It is no question to me that, had these elders been out proselyting at the time of these disasters, there would have been little chance of survival.  But, all of the elders and sisters serving in Fukushima prefecture were at a zone conference--a meeting that takes place every six months (I believe).  They were all at the church at Koriyama (a very safe place in the area) all together with the mission president.

These zone conferences are not an every day occurrence--like I said.  Coincidence that they were doing this that day?  I just don't think so.  Someday I'd love to hear the mission president's story on how that particular date was decided upon because I would bet that it was no mere choice of a date.  I have little doubt that it was prayerfully decided upon and that the Lord had some say in keeping His servants safe.  Tender mercy #1.
On March 10th at 3:57am, my friend, Mayumi, a girl I knew from the ward in Yamagata when I served there, wrote this on her facebook page: "Leaving for Japan with my son today."  As you are probably aware, our March 10th is Japan's March 11th because of the international date line (the day of the quake).  In response to her post, there were many comments about how excited people were for her to see her family after so long.  She currently lives in Virginia with her American husband.  I commented, "Kiss the ground for me!"  This was the first opportunity Mayumi would have to introduce her family to her baby.

Needless to say, when I heard of the earthquake when I woke on the 11th, Mayumi came to my mind.  Did she make it?  I went to her facebook page, but of course, there was nothing but worry--people here, in America, inquiring as to her whereabouts and well being.

The next day, we heard from her.  She had arrived, but not without an amazing story.

On Sunday, March 13th, at 6:19am (Japanese time, I believe), she shared part of just what happened to her.
When the earthquake hit, they were on the plane and heading to land at Narita, the international airport of Japan, but they had shut down the runway, they headed for Haneda, a domestic airport.  They were stuck at Haneda for the night.

She said they were given a blanket and some emergency food.  While she was trying to get her baby to sleep, an old lady saw her and became concerned because she could see that Mayumi was alone with a small baby and had just flown in from a very long international flight, so  she asked one of the airport workers if they could find her a quiet room--these rooms are typically reserved for V.I.P.s.

They arranged it for her, and she was give place in the baby lounge. The next day, she found herself with a stand-by ticket and wasn't even sure if there would be a flight to Yamagata.  She said she was "constantly praying," and finally found herself given a seat on a flight to Yamagata.

When she arrived in Yamagata, there was no power, and Mayumi was unable to contact her family to let them know of her whereabouts.  She caught a taxi and headed to her parents' home.  I can't imagine their joy when she showed up on their doorstep.  Wow!  Can you imagine that reunion?  According to Mayumi, "They just repeatedly said, 'So happy to see you.'"

She will remain in Japan until April 16th.  I hope and pray for her safe return.  In the meantime, there is no doubt the strength that she is adding to her family.  Tender mercy #2.

The reason I know that Mayumi is a strength is because of what I know about the Japanese people by the short time I lived in their culture.  A few days ago, I ran across this amazing news article.  This writer sums up what I learned while in Japan.  I hope as you read it, it also gives you hope.  To me, this article was tender mercy #3.

So, what tender mercies are you experiencing?  What have you seen from all of this?  I hope these little instances give you a little added hope to combat the tsunami wave of ugliness that threatens to engulf us all.  God is aware of us, each individually, there is no doubt.


Anonymous said...

Such a coincidence. In my prayers for Japan, I've repeatedly asked that "thy tender mercies" would be manifest. If there is anything I know about life, out of the most ugly, comes the most beautiful...

Alyson said...

I do hope someday we'll get to hear the story of choosing the zone conference for that day, too. Such a blessing.

Shell said...

This is a very unique and hopeful way to look at what happened in Japan!

Emmy said...

What an awesome post. That truly is a miracle what occurred with the missionaries! Thank you for sharing this.

Clare B said...

The Japan earthequake and subsequent nuclear crisis is all a little hard to come to terms with. Such a tragedy that hopefully will have a silver lining.

Nonna said...

Tender mercies...a wonderful post !

Wow, I know what you devastating to even get a grip on the level of destruction there. Unlike other countries,the Japanese people are pretty tough and eventually bounce back even stronger.

Thanks for stopping by my little coupon blog and commenting...means so much. On that post you commented on, I put a link towards the bottom for inventory sheets you can print, similar to mine, which are so old, I can't find them anymore, just keep making new copies. I'm following you now too !

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