International Ministries

Pray for Japan in the Wake of Earthquake. IM Missionaries Reported Safe.

March 11, 2011 PrayerCall
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Pray for the people of Japan tragically impacted by an earthquake of 8.9 magnitude and tsunami. Our American Baptist missionaries now in Japan, Roberta Stephens and Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang and their family, John and Tomoko Armagost and their family and David and Leslie Turley and their family are reported safe.

Stan Murray, Area Director for Southeast Asia and Japan has sent this report:

 Roberta is safe! She had to evacuate with the students (up to 22,000) at Kanto Gakuin University and will not be able to return to her home until at least tomorrow. Japanese practice for these events all the time and are cooperative in carrying out the plan. The Hwangs should be fine if they were home. Soshin School, where Lee Ann teaches and where they live, is a very high point in Yokohama.

E-mails from John Armagost and Leslie Turley have come in and they are safe. Alisen Armagost was at a different location at a soccer game but she has now checked in with her parents and is safe. Armagosts are far from the affected area. Turleys are also safe and do not expect much of an issue when the wave reaches Okinawa. I have yet to hear from Roberta Stephens and the Hwangs. While they live closer to the shoreline in Yokohama, they are both on pretty high ground so should be fine. I have tried repeatedly to phone and e-mail them. No success yet. I will let you know when I do hear.

John Armagost writes: We just wanted to send a quick note to let you know that all of the Armagost family is okay after the earthquake and tsunami here in Japan.  I just got off the phone with Alisen, she was off to a soccer tournament and will not be home till tomorrow, but is fine.

Please keep Japan and the victims in your prayers.  Prayer for our Baptist churches in the hard hit area, we have not yet made contact with our friends, but pray that they are okay.

We will keep you updated if we find out anything more significant. 

Thank you for your prayers for our safety.

Roberta Stephens writes: The biggest tsunami carrying cars that you first saw was in the flat area just below Shokei University.  The airport was completely flooded as well.

Shichigahama has been totally overwhelmed, I think, since it's only a few miles from what I just described.  As for our area, the prediction was for 2 meters tsunami.  From my place I can see the canal running right beside Kanto Gakuin.  The shaking was quite severe and then for the next several hours off an on.  Nothing however compared to NE Japan where I used to live.  After the word came about the tsunami in Tokyo bay, which flows in front of KG school, the word went out that we needed to evacuate to the 4th floor of the building next door to my house.  I went there with Rev. Amano, of Kanto Gakuin church who was in the chaplain’s office, and others who were there.  One is a secretary in the chaplain's office and the other had had come to practice the organ for her part-time job of playing the organ at KG.

As we watched the water completely disappear from the canal, then fill up to almost the top, it's was pretty scary. It happened twice.  Finally the school officials herded the faculty and office workers into another building and said we could leave, but they had to sign out on a master list that had been printed out.  I would not be on that list because I'm not an employee, so I went home with the three people mentioned. 

No trains anywhere are running and won't till tomorrow, so everyone has to either stay at the school or hoof it home. Now it's 9 pm, but we can still see that the cars all stuck on the road. The two women with me will stay overnight, and so we just finished dinner.  They keep trying to contact their family.


To read additional journals, prayer requests, news updates and how to give to Japan relief, click here.