Saturday, March 26, 2011

First nighttime blackout

We had our first nighttime blackout last night. It actually only lasted one hour instead of three as we had expected. Tomoki thought it was great fun running around with his flashlight! We had just gone up to our attic to work on a project (putting a protective plastic cover on the front of my dollhouse--which by the way--really looks like an earthquake happened as I didn't have any sticky putty to anchor all the little things in place!). Anyway, Akihiro was commenting how strange it was to look over the city and see it all dark except for the red lights on the top of tall buildings in the distance. It was about then that the lights went on--quite a site to see the city "come alive" again.

We spoke with our Chinese friend, Li-san, who returned to China. He said he won't be coming back to his apartment or work because his wife is too worried. While we will miss him in our church, we are very happy to see him with his wife and daughter. We spent some time yesterday helping the owner of his apartment clean it out and brought some of the stuff back here to our place to go through.

Akihiro did not been feeling 100 percent this week (cold symptoms along with the seasonal allergies which are 1o times worse this year), but we were able, though, to put together some supplies for Andrew to take up this weekend. It felt good to do just a small bit to help the people there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A change of plans for Akihiro, feeling prayers, etc.

After finding out more information about the medical organization which he was going to help, he decided it wasn't the place for him. He couldn't support some of their strategies. Instead he is going to try to work with the same organization with which Andrew Klaus is working--CRASH Japan.

The gasoline situation is much better this week. My Japanese "dad" next door said he was able to fill his tank without any waiting yesterday. This means that Akihiro's work will be able to resume to normal as of next week. He has had plenty of his online medical education work and real estate work to keep him busy, though.

I was talking to my brother today and I commented how I could feel the prayers. I'm sure many have experienced this feeling--it feels so good. Perhaps it is not really the best way to say it, but if one could manufacture this feeling and sell it, they would be rich! It is the same way I felt when my parents died and we had so many people praying for us--the same way I felt on my wedding day when I could feel such overwhelming support and love. Though thankful for it, I feel very unworthy as now our lives are so very easy compared to those severely affected by the disaster. I hope and pray they can feel some of the same comfort and peace that I/we feel and that the Holy Spirit can guide them to Truth! This disaster has made us look at our lives and our purpose here in Japan more closely--how would God have us to reach out to these people?

Monday, March 21, 2011

A place for Akihiro to help

Akihiro has been in touch with several medical organizations to see how he can best help the tsunami victims. Today he went to the Japan Primary Care Organization Headquarters in Tokyo. There he learned that there are many doctors wanting to go to the site, but the problem is a lack of medications, IV fluids, etc. on the sites and there is limited information about where to go and how to go. Apparently most of the universities have already sent their teams to address the crisis. This primary care organization is aimed at more of a long term approach and is addressing the chronic needs of the victims. The doctors' terms are a week long, so that isn't really a good option for Akihiro, being the only minister in Shioda, so it is a blessing that at this time there are so many doctors wanting to serve. Some of the doctors who want to serve need refresher courses in the care they will be giving. Others are pediatricians or surgeons with little experience in the this area of medicine. Akihiro and several other doctors are working to develop a 1 or 2 day educational program for the doctors who will be going to the site. This opportunity is an answer to our prayers. He wanted to help so badly, but didn't know how he could do it and still be in Shioda for church on Sunday. He can do some of this work from home, but will be going in to the office to help with other coordination of this project.

We had a three day weekend here, so no power outages--the downtown businesses are closed, so less usage. Gasoline remains a challenge. They are rationing it--only 10 liters of regular or 30 liters of high octane. Many stations run out of gas by early afternoon.

Please continue to keep the refugees in your prayers. For us, we are adjusting to the little inconveniences and feel less stressed.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Slowly returning to normal

We had a fairly normal day today. I was looking forward to reporting no earthquakes today, but then we had one around supper time. The three nights previous to last night there was always an earthquake while we were brushing our teeth--kinda weird.

We walked to the grocery store--which is normal for me (We live about a 10 minute walk from the grocery store and it is a good chance to get us out for a walk and then I can put the groceries under the stroller). I didn't even think to be thankful for the blessing of being able to walk to get groceries, when someone mentioned that they probably wouldn't walk to Wal-Mart! Anyway, most things were available, but things like milk, natto (fermented soy beans), bottled water, eggs, toilet paper, etc., had signs on them saying that we could only buy one per family.

We plan to go to church tomorrow. Apparently in Yamanashi (the prefecture where our church is), there aren't lines for gas and most of the gas stations are open. It is more "country" than Tokyo. We look forward to being able to assemble together again.

Friday, March 18, 2011

First power outage for us, updates from Bro. Andrew Klaus

We had our first power outage today between 9:30AM and 12:30. It has become colder here the last few days, so people are using more electricity, I guess. We were able to use our solar energy to run a few things, but Akihiro just took the opportunity of a sunny day to take Tomo-kun to the park. He said the park was full of dads and grandparents with their children. He wondered what the line up of cars was near the park, but as he walked farther, he discovered that it was the line for the gas station many blocks down.

Bro. Andrew is currently working with an organization called CRASH Japan who is organized to help the tsunami victims. He went up to the area and has been emailing updates. If you are interested in receiving these emails, please email me or make a comment with your email address on this blog or facebook.

As always, thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for that more souls can come to know the Lord through this.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

About the same...

No change in our daily lives today. We haven't had any blackouts yet, but Jana has. The electric lines are quite complicated here, so I guess that is why it is hit and miss.

This morning I read Psalm 27, a particularly comforting scripture when I was traveling home when my mom had her aneurysm. How encouraged I was to find it read also on a sermon I listened to tonight as I washed dishes. heart shall not this will I be confident...hide me in his pavilion...set me up upon a rock... I lean on these words so much for it is easy to become fearful and unsettled. Thank you so much for your prayers!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Radiation levels, gasoline, etc.

There has been quite a bit of concern about the radiation levels. We are thankful to be 300 km from the nuclear plant. Akihiro is very diligent to check on the status of the nuclear situation and how it affects our health, for which I am also very thankful. At this time, he feels that there is no danger to our health. We feel peaceful and comfortable to remain here. Following is a message from the U.S. Embassy with more details.

After a careful analysis of data, radiation levels, and damage assessments of all units at Fukushima, our experts are in agreement with the response and measures taken by Japanese technicians, including their recommended 20 km radius for evacuation and additional shelter-in-place recommendations out to 30 km.

Let me also address reports of very low levels of radiation outside the evacuation area detected by U.S. and Japanese sensitive instrumentation. This bears very careful monitoring, which we are doing. If we assess that the radiation poses a threat to public health, we will share that information and provide relevant guidance immediately.

The United States will continue to work around the clock to provide precise and up-to-date information supported by expert analysis to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and to help Japan in its time of great need.

The gasoline stands have gas, but you might have to wait an hour to get it. They don't feel it is a lack of gas, but more a panic response from the public.

Akihiro's work has mostly been cancelled. Fortunately it is spring break for the residents he teaches, so his services aren't needed very much. Many residents and doctors want to go to the site to help, but at this time, the workers there are requesting that they wait to come. I don't understand all of the details. The international clinic where he was scheduled to work on Saturday will be closed on Saturday, but was open all this week. Some companies are closed because of a lack of demand for their services. Akihiro has his online work that he can do, but we have all found that it is hard to concentrate on our work.

Some areas around us have had the blackouts (scheduled) due to lack of power, but so far, we haven't had any. It is on a bit of a rotation schedule, so I'm sure we will get our turn for candlelight dinners yet! We are trying to limit our use of electricity (using the lights and heater minimally), but we are still using the phone and computer.

I talked to my brother today and he commented on how calm we seem. I credit much of the calmness and peace we feel to the many prayers that are uttered on our behalf--thank you so much!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Preparing for power outages, etc.

Our outing today was to the grocery store. We didn't see many cars, but lots of people on foot and bicycle. Akihiro rode his bike over to the home center to see if he could get some more candles and batteries and counted 40 cars lined up to get gas at the only gas station in our area that has any gas left. He said he didn't even have to go in the home center--there was a sign at the entrance saying they were out of flashlights, candles, and batteries. He was able to pick up the last couple of bags of diapers on the shelf at the drug store ( we might be pursuing potty training earlier than later!). Back to the grocery store... it took me at least 30 minutes to get through the checkout line. No eggs, bread, or natto (apparently natto is mostly made in the area of tsunami damage). Most of the cup of noodle was gone too. While I was standing in line, a salesperson started announcing something and a few people started running--he said they had just gotten a shipment of rice. He was handing it out as fast as he could get it open. I was thankful to have bought a 10 kg bag just last week. Otherwise, groceries were ok.

We ended up not having power outages, but they keep making announcements that it may happen. They make announcements over a PA system in our neighborhood requesting that people limit their use of electricity.

Most people weren't able to go to work today--many train lines aren't running because of lack of power and if they are running, they often stop because of continued tremors.

While these are inconveniences to us, they pale in comparison to the thoughts of a thousand bodies of these dear Japanese people washed up on the shore following the tsunami, refugees and their situations, etc. Makes one's heart heavy. Thanks for your continued prayers!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Electricity, groceries--things we take for granted

As I had said before, we cancelled church in Shioda and Akihiro preached to me and Tomoki in our living room and 8 people over Skype. It worked fairly well, but we missed the fellowship!

As of tomorrow, they are going to be rotating electricity usage. We will be out for 3 hours sometime during the day--not sure when just yet. We are hoping it is in the day and that our solar panels will kick in and cover for it. It isn't too cold here, though, and we have lots of candles and flashlights and batteries, so should manage ok. Our all electric house is somewhat a disadvantage from this standpoint I guess. The nuclear plant sounds like it is under control as far as danger, but it is no longer going to be able to be used to provide energy--thus the shortage, I guess. A few candlelight dinners might be nice, but I'm sure it could get old quickly. I am just thankful we have electricity--the numbers of people without is astounding!

I went to the grocery store yesterday and stocked up on food. We keep extra food and water around on purpose, but I got fresh stuff, etc. The grocer was telling someone that the things they can't get more of is bottled water, bread, and natto (fermented soy beans)! Don't ask me why the shortage of natto! Anyway, I got two of the remaining packages as my "men" love it!

Thanks for your prayers. Though we aren't suffering at all, we feel the stress in the air. We read many comforting scriptures today. Our Psalm that we read this am at the table spoke to us--Psalm 9:20 Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Indeed we are "but men". May many more put their trust in and rest in the peace of an all powerful God.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thankful he's home!

Akihiro got home about 3PM today--it took him 6 hours to do a trip that normally takes 2 hours. Thanks for your prayers for his safety. Our next concern is this nuclear power plant situation. I am not following it very closely, so can't reliably say too much. I talked to my Japanese "parents" next door and commented about what the Bible says about earthquakes and the end of the world. My Japanese mom didn't know what that meant. These concepts (and the gospel) are so foreign to them. Please pray that we can be good witnesses to them.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Akihiro is on his way home. He called just now and said that the highway is open in some areas, but the traffic is really jammed up, so he is staying on the other roads which are crowded too. He said he didn't see any damage on his way so far. Thankful to hear that Andrew got home safely last night by taxi--quite an adventure, I guess. I talked to Akihiro's mom this morning and she said she walked 3 hours last night to get home from the office.
We went ahead and canceled our church services in Shioda tomorrow as there were more earthquakes in the northwest area of Japan last night. We plan to have services via Skype and telephone. So thankful for technology! Thanks so much for all the prayers and messages. As we see the reports of the devastation, we can't be thankful enough that we were spared. We remain prayerful for those affected.


Thankful to report we are all OK! You may have heard that we had a very serious earthquake off the northeast coast of Japan. It was the strongest one for Japan if I understand correctly and the seventh strongest in history? Oh, there goes another tremor now... Tomoki was taking a nap and I was cleaning the bathroom when I heard something and thought it was him stomping his little feet as he had woke up. Soon, though, I realized that it was an earthquake. I saw my Japanese mom running out of her house with her little dog in tow and saw their big white van lurching as though it was a stick shift being driven by someone who didn't know what they were doing at all. Water was splashing out of the bucket near their back door. I ran upstairs and found Tomoki sitting up in his bed wondering what was all the racket. The whole house--especially our light fixtures were swaying pretty heavily. I grabbed my coat and wrapped Tomoki in it and went outside. Most of the neighborhood was out. It was almost hard to walk straight. It took a while for it to be done--5 minutes, they said. I tried to call Akihiro, who was in Chiba prefecture, but the call couldn't be connected. I emailed him instead. I thought he must be ok and it was probably a good thing I didn't realize that he was in the area which was going to get hit by a tsunami until I went to Jana's for supper and Caleb was telling me and showing me the map. I checked my email again and got a note that he was ok and that we would talk later. Soon we connected via Internet. His clinic which is nearly on the seashore, all evacuated and walked about 40 minutes inland until they got word that the tsunami had come to that area and it was safe to return. He is now back at his hotel which is on the sea shore, where he will stay tonight. He assures me he is safe on the 6th floor, but I would appreciate prayers for his safety. He was staying an extra night there as he was planning to attend the graduation for the residents he teaches there tomorrow, otherwise he would have been on the road--perhaps even on the very long bridge/tunnel that spans Tokyo Bay--at the time of the earthquake--3PM in the afternoon today. He would have probably been ok, but who knows if he could have gotten home because soon most of the highways were closed. We don't know if he will be able to come home tomorrow--will wait and see. Jana is waiting for Andrew to come home from work--we have an email that he got a taxi from Shinjuku as the trains are all not running. The traffic must be terrible! The Costco in our area had its parking deck slopes collapse and we thank the Lord as we think that Jana went there this morning and perhaps would have gone this afternoon, but she had a meeting at the childrens' school. Please pray for our continued safety. It really makes one think about the end of the world. Also pray for the people of Japan--that they may think of the Creator of this World and desire to know and serve Him. Thank you--we love you!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Japanese children's song Tomoki likes--well, we all do!

I tried to get a video of him doing the hand signals, but it didn't work so good. Sorry for my terrible singing.

Cool view of Mt. Fuji, Tomoki in "hanten"

Our house doesn't have central heat--just wall units, so we rarely turn the heat on in the second floor during the day. Tomoki and I wear these quilted jackets that are very warm. He is so cute running around in it. He loves to "mop"
Last Sunday on the way to church, we saw this very interesting cloud formation on top of Mt. Fuji. Our Creator God!