Thursday, March 17, 2011

Please pray and please help

At 4:31 in the morning of Martin Luther King Day, January 17, 1994 my world shook. That's when the Northridge Earthquake hit Southern California. My wife and I were teaching at Los Angeles Lutheran Jr/Sr High School. Her parents were visiting us that weekend and staying with us in our tiny apartment in Sylmar, CA.

Our apartment was shaken off it's foundation. By the next day we'd realize we were temporarily homeless. I'd never been through even a mild quake before. I held on to the bed for dear life. Seconds seemed like an eternity. I was frantically reciting the Lord's Prayer. We assumed this was "the BIG one." I wondered if it was the end of the world or a nuclear war.

As we struggled to find each other and leave the apartment building we heard the constant crunch of broken glass from windows, mirrors, picture frames and dishes. When we returned to salvage our belongings later, we saw that what kept our bare feet from being bloodied were the layers of books that had fallen from shelves and covered the shards of glass.

The four of us sat in our underwear under blankets on the curb. Frightened neighbors smoked cigarettes to settle their nerves, but this frightened us because we could smell the gas leaking from severed pipes and watched as a fire blazed on the hill across the highway from us.
I remember that one of the things that made me realize the magnitude of the destruction was the fact that we could hear and see sirens of emergency and police vehicles and helicopters but that none of them ever stopped at our apartment complex. The pool had been emptied by the jolt. There were frequent after shocks where you could literally see the asphalt roll and the buildings sway.
God got us through and as stressful as the next year, including the post traumatic stress was, we now look at it as a time when He was forging our faith.

Our quake was said to be a 6.8, though many accounts vary from 6.4 to 8.0. I can not imagine what it was like for the people of Japan to go through a 9.0!
This morning, my mother forwarded a prayer request from the K-12 school I attended growing up. Because of my own experience with an earthquake, you can imagine that I had to post it here. What follows is the forwarded email and the notes which I included when I posted it on our church's website.

From: Julia Perry-Clark, Christ Lutheran School, Phoenix, AZ Sent:Friday, March 11, 2011 10:07 AM 
Dear Friends of our Japanese family of Urawa Lutheran School;
May the God of protection surround them now as they are remaining at the ULS campus following the powerful earthquake that struck  Friday at 2:46 PM.  Mr. Hodgson and I reached the school about an hour ago, 12:30 AM their time and we spoke directly with Miss Ishii and she shared that all of the students and faculty are still at school and not allowed to leave. Please keep them all in your prayers today.  We will call them again later to check in.Please pass this prayer request on  to your circle of family and friends.May God use this time in a powerful way as the Christian community at ULS reaches out to all of the students and faculty in the name of Jesus.
In Christ,Julia Perry-Clark
Dear Members of St. John, Charter Oak- 

I attended CLS growing up in Phoenix. Bill Hodgson was one of my junior high school teachers and one of the reasons I became a teacher. Please pray for Bill and Julia, for ULS and for all of the thousands of families that have been effected by this tragic disaster in Japan.

Christ's servant,
Ted Mallory

Here is a downloadable bulletin insert to help churches wishing to support LCMS relief efforts in Japan:

If you would like to support the people of Japan through Lutheran World Relief, please send your donation to:
Lutheran World Relief - Japan Earthquake/Tsunami
P.O. Box 17061
Baltimore, MD 21298-9832

Or, click here to make a secure gift online. Be sure to designate it "Japan Earthquake/Tsunami"

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