The first college I went to was a small Christian college in Arkansas.
I met my girlfriend there. When we went there there were only about 2000 students there.
Like I said.....small.
We had clubs. They were like fraternities but no one called them fraternities. I guess it sounded anti-Christian or something if you called them frats. So the school called them clubs.
Anyway, you could choose a club you wanted to be in and if the guys in the club accepted you then you had to do pledge week and then you were a part of that club.
Honestly for guys, being in a club was mainly for sports. We had pretty intense sports leagues and we always had fun.
Clubs held mixers for incoming freshmen and transfer students. It was a way for new guys to check out different clubs and for the clubs to see who they may want to be new pledges.
I went to a mixer my freshman year where the club guys asked the new guys to stand up in a chair, introduce themselves and share a little bit about themselves. Always fun.
While at this mixer a Japanese guy stood up. He said, "My name is Shin......(pointing at his shin)like a splint."
Everybody fell out laughing, including Shin. It was hilarious with his accent and his infectious laugh and everyone immediately fell in love with Shin.
I'm not sure how Shin ended up in a little town in Arkansas to go to college.
Shin and I ended up in the same club together. A year or two later another Japanese guy named Tetsuji came to the same school. He ended up getting in the same club.
I hadn't talked to either one of them for 20 years until the last year or two when we got reconnected on facebook.
I'm sure everyone has seen the horrible pictures/videos of what happened with the recent earthquake/tsunami in Japan. Scary would be a word I would use for what I've seen.
A day or two after it happened I sent a note to both guys. I heard back from Tetsuji saying he was fine but that he hadn't heard from Shin. They live in different cities but they stay in touch.
Two days later Tetsuji said he heard from Shin. He was fine and living in a high school gym.
From different notes from different people we know the following about Shin:
-He ran out of his house, which was close to the beach, after the earthquake hit and drove up to a mountain before the tsunami hit. He escaped only with his dog. He lost his house and everything in it. His wife and little girl were safe in another city.
-He's now staying in a high school gym. The last I heard he had electricity and food but no water and was really wanting to take a shower.
-He is also a volunteer fire fighter and now he is helping to look for bodies. The first day they had hoped to recover many bodies but only found six. He said he wanted to stay and help with the search until he found the body of his best friends father.
-He lives in a town that is only 50 miles from the damaged nuclear reactor.
The name of his town is Watari.
We just wanted to ask you to pray especially for Shin. I can't imagine losing, literally, every physical thing that you have in a matter of minutes. I can't even imagine how you start to rebuild a whole city like that.
We are thankful that Shin is okay.
Let's pray not only for Shin but for Tetsuji and Taro (another Japanese guy I knew from our college days), their families and for all the Japanese people who were affected by this disaster.
It's always easier for me to pray for someone if I can picture them in my mind. Here is an old picture I found on facebook of Shin (right) and Tetsuji (left) at their college graduation. Hope it helps as you pray for our friends.
We may be a half a world away but our prayers can strengthen them as they work on rebuilding and surviving day to day.