| Apr 08, 2011
When the earthquake began, It felt like a giant had picked up our house and was shaking it. When he was finished, he threw it back on the ground with a final, fierce jolt.
Most of the 37 volunteer workers in the house were asleep when the earthquake struck. All of us were awake when it ended. We threw on our clothes and rushed out into the cold night, afraid that the earthquake was not done.
After checking to see that everyone was present and ok, we stood around for awhile-not sure if we should go back into the house. Finally, someone said a prayer and we wandered back to our beds.
All over the region, as far away as Tokyo, people felt the earthquake. Millions of people did what we did-rushed outside into the cold night air. Some stayed outside all night, afraid to return to their homes.
Throughout the night, the house continued to rock with smaller aftershocks. In the morning, we learned that the strength of the earthquake was 7.4 on the Richter scale.
We lost electricity for a day as a result of the earthquake. There was no water. Most stores and gas stations were closed. Cracks in the roads from the previous 9.0 earthquake had reopened. A three-foot tsunami hit the coast.
The terrible earthquake that killed thousands in Haiti measured 7.0. The recent earthquake here in Japan that spawned the tsunami measured 9.0.
The Japanese do such a great job of earthquake preparedness. About 125 people were injured by our 7.4 "aftershock." That doesn't mean that people weren't re-traumatized or that no one suffered. But, in another place, like Haiti, it could have been so much worse.
In the morning, we sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and "I know who holds the future," reminding each other that we were all in God's hands. And, after an improvised breakfast of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, we packed up and left to do our work of the day.