I am sorry I have not been able to contact everyone or send out mail. I will write this at the office and put it on a USB stick to transfer to my home computer, then send it out. The internet at the office is still out. I thought it would start working soon, but still nothing. My home computer is sending and receiving, but not here. All my addresses are here at the office. Anyway, I can do it this way, I hope.
In the first place, we are all fine. Jean and I were at the church building when the first earthquake hit. It just kept going and going. The electricity went out and then the water. Our cell phones went out for a while and came back on from time to time. We sent out a few messages on the cell phones, but not enough.
Our home and the church building are fine. There are a few more cracks in the plaster on the walls and lots of broken dishes, but nothing bad. The trains are still stopped and the highways are still closed in places.
We thought we had it bad until a few days later, when the TV came on. We saw what was going on north of us. It was unbelievable!! Then we heard that near to us on the coast in Oarai, the Tsunami hit and killed 19. We are far enough away that we were not affected. Later, we heard about the power plant in Fukushima. That was scary!!
But, again, we are farther south of that and have felt little effect except for the power lost. We are in a rolling blackout area, but so far it has not bothered us. We are expected to have one tomorrow morning. Except for the inconvenience, that will be no problem.
Two of our members lost their roofs. Most Japanese roofs are similar to Spanish tiles. The earthquake shook them off to the ground, breaking them. Today it is raining, but it had been dry since the quake. Most people, including the members, have covered the roofs with plastic sheets, waiting for the overworked repairmen. Hopefully, there will be no water coming in. My house is a metal roof which lasted quite well. The church building has a slate roof and this kind was also better. No problem.
Our biggest problem is gasoline. We must wait several hours to get any. Fortunately, we had filled up shortly before the quake. We are running on what we have. Further north, there is little and with the trains not running, it is becoming critical. Supply trucks cannot use the highways nor rail. Trucks are using the side roads to carry things to the hardest hit places. I guess you have heard about several towns of several thousand each that are completely gone. One town had a wall of 10 meters high to block the tsunami. It was too short. The wave was maybe 14 meters high. Houses moved like leaves on a stream.
Every day we feel aftershocks and new quakes. We had not had a bad quake in Ibaraki since we came here in 1975. A couple of days ago we got a magnitude 5, centered in Ibaraki. Again, no problems. They come at all hours, so we sometimes don’t get enough sleep. The School of Life is now on Spring break, so no classes. We didn’t cancel classes last week, but hardly anyone came. My nieces and sister were planning to come last week and this week. I am thankful this didn’t happen when they were here. Being from Texas, they would have been exposed to something new.
I have been calling around to see what we can do. This is part of a letter from a Japanese preacher, Obata-san. Our sponsor, Park Avenue church in Memphis is also working to get money to send to Japan. There are several different ways you can help. Please help so we can help these people in Sendai and Fukushima.
“Jon Straker at ACU started a group on Facebook , “Working and Praying for Japan earthquake victims” and many are responding. We have decided two windows, Park Ave. and some Canadian church for that. In Japan, Mito church will be a Japan office and after enough preparing, we will set Front depot at Sendai church. Now we are discussing and waiting to start.”
“Tokyo area preachers also decided to start working for this. Bro. Masao Suzuki is a head and now we are raising funds for that. Details are not yet. Later again, Shiro Obata”
I thank you for all the inquiries about us. I wish we could have gotten back on the net sooner.
Serving Him in Japan,
Marlin and Jean Ray