New Life Rises in Sendai
First Night of Tohoku Celebration Brings Fresh Hope to March 11 Survivors
March 2, 2012 - Franklin Graham shared the hope of the Gospel Friday in a place that served as a temporary morgue after the March 11 disaster. It has since been remodeled, and standing over a spot that once held death, men and women from across Sendai found new life.
God is using Mariko Otomo's painful memories of the tsunami to bring hope to other survivors.
by Janet Chismar
Her husband tried to carry the disabled, old man on his back to safety, but the man was too heavy. The two kept falling. As the tsunami wave threatened to overtake them last March 11, the elderly man told Tsuneo Otomo to let him die.
Tsuneo made a quick attempt to ask the man if he wanted to accept Jesus. But because the roaring water was rising rapidly around them, Tsuneo never heard the response.
Mariko Otomo is thankful her husband survived the tsunami, but said both she and Tsuneo grieve for the old man who perished and wonder if they will see him in Heaven.
She has since prayed with the elderly man’s wife and tonight, at the Tohoku Celebration of Hope, Mariko prayed with two other women who made decisions to ask Jesus into their hearts.
“At first, I wasn’t sure about being a counselor at the Celebration—wasn’t sure if I was prepared,” Mariko said afterward. “But my friends asked me to do this with them and now I am so happy!”
Both of the women that Mariko prayed with had their homes repaired by teams from Samaritan’s Purse. They watched as the Christians came in and showed the love of Christ with each pound of the hammer and each step it took to fix the tsunami damage.
Their hearts were plowed for the seed that Franklin Graham watered with the Gospel and that the Holy Spirit birthed this night.
“I was here last year just after the tsunami and I felt your pain,” Graham told the audience at the Grande 21 Arena, a place that served as a temporary morgue after the March 11 disaster. It has since been remodeled, and standing on a new floor over a spot that once held death, men and women from across Sendai found new life.
“Tonight we pray to build on a foundation of the past—to bring you the hope found in a relationship with Jesus Christ—and give you an eternal future,” said Graham.
Preaching from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, Graham explained to the crowd that the redemption of each soul is precious in God’s eyes. “If you are not sure your soul is secure in God’s hands, tonight you can ask Him to forgive you for your sins and invite Jesus by faith into your heart.
“Your soul will never die.”
Using the Fukushima nuclear disaster as an analogy, Graham explained how sin has contaminated God’s perfect world, and how Jesus died to redeem us and cleanse us.
For 21-year-old Giamyeong, it was the first time that God’s plan of redemption made sense. “When Mr. Graham talked about sin that way, I finally understood and am glad I came to be saved tonight.”
His counselor—the young man who prayed with Giamyeong—said he is thrilled to be a part of something that gives new life where so many died.
Please pray for a great harvest the next two nights of the Celebration.
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