Hard Things & Great Things - pt. 3
Hard: We got on a train from Tono, the city we were staying, and arrived in Hanamaki for dinner. The night bus was supposed to carry us (another missionary and I) all the way to Tokyo. Little did we know the adventure that was before us!
Leaving Hanamaki the bus driver said, "Please buckle up since we may have an earthquake on the way." I guess it is standard procedure these days. While in Touhoku I experienced an earthquake or two everyday. There have been a total of 947 aftershocks in the area since 3/11, and many think they will continue until next year. (Look here for a very interesting time-lapse scene of all the earthquakes.) I can't imagine what it must be like to have lost everything and then, on top of that, to experience more earthquakes every day.
Right before entering the freeway we had a 7.2 earthquake just south of us in Sendai. The bus was stopped (thankfully) and was shaking really good. I didn't know how bad it was until I looked outside and saw damaged buildings, windows and felt the bumpy road underneath us. At that point the driver said that we were heading back because the roads looked dangerous.
As I talked to two other Japanese men in the bus with me, I learned a little bit and it began to create some conversation. One of the guys got off at the first stop leaving just me and another 20 year-old man. He looked, spoke and acted pretty rough, but he was SCARED. As he looked out the window he was saying, "This is the end, this is it. Two times, I can't believe this is the second time! I am ready to die. I am going to die."
I learned that he had been in another night bus on the way up to the area when the first big earthquake hit on 3/11. He felt that everything was coming to an end for him. He told me how they had just finished fixing up his father's convenience store that was damaged, and now this earthquake had undone everything. You could see he was losing hope. He asked me, "Do you think this is the end? What do you know about the Mayan prediction of 2012?" and other other questions.
By the time he got off the bus an hour later, we had discussed quite a bit and I was able to talk to him about heaven and hell. He agreed that there was a heaven but he said, "I think I'm going to go to hell though." I simply told him that we all deserve hell because we are all bad, but, I said, "I believe you can go to heaven," In the end I was able to give him the gospel of John. (Yeah, that same gospel of John that I had wanted to leave with someone else.) Please now pray that he would read and receive Christ!
I am excited for how God is using this event for his glory in Japan. Through your powerful prayers (and millions of others like it), Japan can and will be changed forever!
Here are a few more pics of my time in the Touhoku area:
It was great experience to team with over 30 missionary and 7 pastors and countless others during my time there.I was surprised to see this car in the neighborhood during our days of cleaning mud out of houses!