On Tuesday, 2 April 2013, Rev, Randy Golter, Executive Director of the Office of International Mission (OIM); Rev. Dr. Naomichi Masaki, Professor at Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne; Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations, arrived in Tokyo, Japan at the invitation of the Japan Lutheran Church (NRK), LCMS partner church, to discuss our ongoing partnership and to visit the sites damaged by the 2011 Tsunami.
This morning we left Sendai to visit the areas most damaged by the Tsunami. Dr. Masaki points on a map where we will visit.
A memorial marker in Ishinomaki, Japan, an epicenter of tsunami wave. The memorial says, "Hang in there, Ishinomaki.
Rev. Randy Golter looks at photographs of how the tsunami area looked before the disaster.
A sad moment was the visit to Old Ohkawa Elementary School, where 10 teachers and 76 children died. Although this region had suffered from earthquakes and even a tsunami in 1938, the location of the school had been considered safe from tsunamis. On the day of the earthquake, it had been snowing. The teachers conferred to decide whether or not to seek higher ground or to simply relocate outside the school. Unfortunately, they make the wrong decision and the teachers and students lost their lives.
A young boy goes to a shrine at the site of the Elementry school to pray for the souls of the deceased. In Japan, popular religion is a syncretistic mixture of Shintoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Praying for the souls of the deceased is a sort of good work you can do. It is believed that prayers for the deceased brings them comfort and makes the afterlife more pleasant, particularly when life ended in a tragic way such as from the tsunami. In Japan, the preservation of the remains of the dead is very important. In fact, the Japanese government went to great lengths to recover the remains of those who died in the tsunami. The remains are important because there is some hope of a resurrection in Confucianism.
Drs. Collver and Masaki at the site of the elementary school.
The LCMS in cooperation with the Japan Lutheran Emergency Relief assisted in the reconstruction in the affected tsunami regions.
Even two years after the tsunami, there is a great deal of recovery remains. There also is great need for the Gospel of Jesus.
Rev. Shinri Emoto of the Japan Lutheran Church at site of the elementary school.
The Japan Lutheran Church (NRK) hopes that the Lord will move the LCMS to continue support for theological education and the sending of personnel to assist in Japan.
- Posted by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations.
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