Sunday, July 17, 2011


Guest post by Neil Verwey

Hundreds of moving stories can be told of family members who thought their loved ones were swept away by the tsunami of March 11, 2011, and how they were re-united.

Yuko Sugimoto, 28, feared the worst. She had lost contact with her 5-year-old son, Raito, whose kindergarten stood in the path of the tsunami that devastated Ishinomaki on March 11. Two days later, wrapped in a blanket she stared bleakly in the direction of Ishinomaki Mizuho Kindergarten. She still had not heard anything about the fate of her son.

She was in an office building in a neighboring town when the earthquake struck. She immediately jumped in her car and drove to Ishinomaki, but the roads were impassable and she was forced to turn back.

On March 12, accompanied by her 36-year-old husband, Harunori, she again hunted in vain for her son . Torn with grief, she kept receiving conflicting information: “The children were rescued,” or “The children were swept away.”

Finally she learned the real story. There were 11 children and 14 teachers and staff members in the kindergarten when the earthquake hit. Everyone evacuated to the second floor as the tsunami swept in.

However, as the black, muddy seawater quickly rose to the second floor, the teachers pulled the children up to the roof. Gym mats were used to keep the wind off the children and stuffed animals and curtains were used to keep them warm.

Three days after the disaster, Sugimoto learned the children had been evacuated to Ishinomaki Senshu University. She rushed to the university and was finally reunited with Raito. She hugged him so strongly she thought she would never let him go.

“Thank goodness,” she could only say repeatedly while clutching Raito's legs and arms and listening to his voice!

Since then, Raito always clings onto Sugimoto and will not even go to the restroom by himself.

The Sugimotos live in a rented house in Osaki in another part of the prefecture, but Sugimoto cannot stop smiling with happiness!

“As long as my son is with me, I can look forward to anything,” she said.
Source: Yomiuri News, H. Inoshita 2011-04-16

Israel said to Joseph,
“I never expected to see your face again,
and now God has allowed me to see your children too”

(Gen. 48:11, NIV).

Jacob thought his son was dead for many years, and then found that he had not only survived, but had become very prosperous. Not only did he see Joseph again, but also his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Let’s treasure our families and treasure our spiritual families even more!

No comments: