Accompanying families suffering from the tsunami is one of hundreds of ways in which Medical Mission Sisters and our Associates around the world try to be a healing presence to others today.
Raised in the Buddhist/Shintoist tradition, Medical Mission Sister Yumiko became a Christian when she was 18 and made her First Vows as a Medical Mission Sister at age 34. Now in mission in Tokyo, she joined in her country’s recent gatherings marking the one-year anniversary of the tsunami that killed over 15,000 people and injured nearly 6,000.
The families who lived near the Fukushima nuclear plant have endured a year of great suffering. She explains, “92% of the people in Fukushima still feel themselves at a loss and have no prospects of recovery yet.” The farming families, fisher folk and dairy farmers in this area have lost their means of making a living. They must wait for word from the Tokyo Electric Company or the government.
Sister has done relief work with the Association of Japanese Women Religious at a base in Shiogama, where the main task was to assist at an island about half an hour by boat from the mainland. At the base, Sister Yumiko provided hospitality and food to volunteers and other visitors, and helped dig a fishing boat out of deep sand. .
Sister Yumiko has also accompanied a “Listening with Compassion” group in Iwaki City, about 31 miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant, where a thousand displaced families are living in temporary homes. She visited with the people, listened to their concerns, and offered encouragement.
With gratitude for our continued prayers, Sister Yumiko shares the words of a woman who lost her newly married son and parents in the tsunami. “How she wishes she could go back to the days before March 11th. Knowing it is impossible, she said, ‘Embracing the sorrow, we will live. We will move on beyond our tears.’ Yes, life goes on, and the people have the courage to say Yes to life no matter what.”
April 1, 2012