Missionaries safe: Sisters spend time visiting members, giving service

Sister Emi Maki and Sister Mai Kado were working in the Ishinomaki Branch, located on the coast in one of the areas hit hardest by a devastating earthquake March 11.

The sisters immediately called Japan Sendai Mission President Reid Tateoka to report they were safe at a refugee shelter. However, there was no word from them again for four days in spite of efforts to reach them.

Sisters Emi Maki and Mai Kado are in good spirits after boarding a bus to the Sapporo mission.
Sisters Emi Maki and Mai Kado are in good spirits after boarding a bus to the Sapporo mission. Credit: Photo courtesy Asia North Area

Electricity, water and gas were all down, and their cell phone batteries were dead. There was no way to contact the shelter. Many people, including the area presidency and General Authorities at Church headquarters, were worried about the sisters.

The mission sent out a senior missionary couple, Elder Kounosake Higashi and Sister Mitsue Higashi, with Brother Ishikawa, the stake clerk, March 14, but they were not able to find the sisters in the shelter, the Church building, or the apartment. The members had seen them, but didn’t know where they were.

Elder and Sister Higashi drove out again the next day, a considerable distance given the traffic and state of the roads. They were eventually able to track down the sisters, who had been out doing what missionaries do — visiting members and investigators to make sure everyone was all right.

The Higashis brought them back into Sendai where they joined many other evacuated missionaries. They were the last of the 72 missionaries in the mission to be brought into a safe zone. The next day they boarded a bus headed for the Sapporo mission where all the Sendai missionaries have been transferred.