The first earthquake hit at 9:30 pm. My companion and I were on the fifth floor doing daily planning and all of a sudden, the ground started shaking beneath us. All the appliances, shelves and my beloved rice cooker fell. Incredibly enough, no one got hurt. We grabbed everything we could and ran out the door.
The aftershocks had settled down the next day so we carried on doing missionary work. We taught a lesson, went home, planned, then went to sleep. It was a normal night.
Suddenly, we were being tossed around. I jumped up and hugged my companion tightly. It was unbelievable. All our furniture had already fallen over. We looked outside and it was pitch black. I could hear nothing but sirens blaring.
We jumped up and frantically made our way to the door. I tried to open it but it was jammed.
I was one of the missionaries affected by the Kumamoto Earthquake that struck Japan. That night, we felt the 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit our city, and consequently heard the reports of the hundreds of people whom had lost their lives or had been critically injured.
Outside was a devastating sight. There were people outside not knowing what to do. I felt the desperation of the people. It was surreal. We came across a girl who was staring up at a building. She was crying and said her parents were stuck in the apartment. Luckily, after twenty minutes, her parents managed to escape. The traffic lights were down and people were panicking, lining up with their cars at the gas station.
Members, friends, families and neighbours gathered at the chapel. All the water, power and gas had gone out in the neighborhood so people from nearby came for shelter and safety. We were told another earthquake was on its way so we weren't allowed near any buildings. We huddled together in the car park.
I remember pleading with my Heavenly Father in prayer for comfort, safety and protection.
I felt saddened by the loss of so many lives but the assurance that I received through prayer helped me remember that because we are all of great worth to our Father in Heaven, He has provided a way for us to find everlasting peace and happiness no matter what happens in our lives. That is through our Savior Jesus Christ. It is because of Him that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored and that family relationships can be perpetuated beyond the grave. It is because of our Savior that we, as President Nelson said 'can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy'. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and an assurance that everything was going to be alright.
Since the earthquake, my companions and I decided to work even more harder each day to find those prepared to hear the joyous message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We found many people who were humbled and ready to accept our message.
As I reflect on this experience, I feel privileged to be a servant of the Lord in Japan.
Despite the magnitude of the earthquake, there was not one moment where I was scared or frightful. Faith overcame that. Hope overcame that. It truly is the gospel of Jesus Christ that brings peace and hope and joy and light to our lives.
Terina Walker is from Hamilton and served in the Japan Fukuoka Mission from July 2015- February 2017. She is currently in the Dinsdale ward.