A Japan Evacuee’s Perspective of Heartache and Hope

Lis Bennett (top right) poses with some of her Japanese students.

Lis Bennett is a young American who has been teaching English in Japan for 5 years.  When the earthquake and tsunami struck, she lived only 25 miles away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that is now the focus of much international attention.

For security measures, she was evacuated yesterday by her employing organization to the United States as radiation fears increased. After spending many years pouring into the local community and lives of her students, it is difficult for her to suddenly leave behind these dear friends and a country she’s grown to love.

The Daily News out of New York ran an interview with Lis in which she discussed what it was like at the school when the earth started shaking and the state of Japan in the days after. You can read the article here.

The school where Lis taught.

A friend of The Salvation Army, Lis shared with us via email how these events have affected her personally:

“Since this started, there have been days of peace and days where there is NO peace. It’s been a real roller-coaster ride for my emotions… Since there became concerns that the radiation was reaching our area, our bosses (the family who takes care of us so well) made a very difficult decision to send our whole team home. Which is a relief in some ways, yet so heartbreaking in others. I know in my heart that it’s best for us to go, but my heart aches deeply for the people of Japan, leaving these friends that I love so dearly, while they are here amidst devastation.

The family who takes care of us and many of my friends will stay in their homes until the [government] tells them they can no longer live here…this is their home, the one they’ve spent their lives building up…my heart is breaking.

It’s humbling to realize that some things, no matter how hard we try, can never be on our control. But what a relief to let go and just fall into the loving arms of our heavenly father, who’s the one IN control…THAT’S when we find our rest, reassurance, comfort, and peace…I am so thankful to know that God will make a way where there seems to be none…especially for Japan.”

To learn more about how The Salvation Army is providing relief to Japan, including Fukushima evacuees, click here. Thank you for your continuous prayers for the people of  Japan.