I had been saved only 4 months and was living in Hiroshima when a 7.5 earthquake hit Niigata, northwest of us. The tsunami which followed totally destroyed Niigata's port.
"Lord," I prayed, "send Christians to help these people!"
Immediately the thought came, "Okay, go!"
It has been over 40 years now but I seem to remember getting on the train alone and only meeting other volunteers when I got there. They included an American missionary couple with four little children who were already living in Niigata and who became some of my lifelong friends.
Frankly, there wasn't much we could do. Nearby oil tanks had burst and the tsunami had swept oily black water into houses along the coast. We wandered up and down stricken streets and when we came across men and women salvaging belongings from their homes, we rolled up our jeans and waded over the doorstep to help sweep water back over the threshold and drag saturated mattresses outside. It took several people to move one mattress and sometimes when there weren't enough of us, we couldn't drag them very far.
But the appreciation was immense. It seemed to blow these people away that foreigners--or anyone--would come from other parts of Japan to help them when we didn't know them and didn't have to. They would ask us why. Then we would just say whatever came to mind, like "Jesus loves you. He sent us."
That comes back to my mind when I hear the same appreciation voiced to volunteers in Sendai. Why would you come all this way to help us?
Because ultimate reality is Personal--a Person named Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God. He loves you and He sends us.
"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998