Cindy Charlton, an LCMS member living in Fukushima City — some 50 miles west of the damaged nuclear power plants — told KFUO Radio in a March 18 interview that she is not concerned about radiation levels, but about half the city’s residents are worried. Some are wearing masks and hoods, and some aren’t, she said.
Charlton, 35, said she is “right on the evacuation line” for the power-plant crisis. She is in northern Japan, serving independently with Izumi Lutheran Church, teaching English and leading Bible studies and children’s programs.
“This is a place where I live, where God has put me, for better or for worse. And if the Japanese people are evacuated, then of course I’ll leave,” she told KFUO host Paul Clayton.
Charlton said she lost electricity for a time after the earthquake and tsunami, and her water had just been restored about an hour before the KFUO interview. All of the restaurants and grocery stores are still closed and lacking supplies, she said, and “the streets are pretty empty.”
But, in spite of the shortages, the Japanese people have remained calm. “They might go out and buy supplies — and they might be very filled with fear sometimes — but in terms of panicking or trying to loot or grab things for themselves, it’s not something I’ve seen,” she said.
Charlton said she has enough food and supplies because she was expecting guests during the school break in March and had “stocked up.”
The disaster, she said, has helped her establish connections with neighbors she hadn’t met before, since more people are not working and are home during the day.
Charlton served as an LCMS missionary to Japan twice — from 2003 to 2007, and again from 2008 to April 2010. Last year she returned to Japan to assist Japan Lutheran Church Pastor Rev. Osamu Nomura, who serves the congregation in Fukushima City and another in Koriyama City, some 30 miles south.
To hear the complete KFUO interview, visit www.lcms.org/help and click on the Cindy Charlton link under “Audio.”
To read more about Charlton, visit the LCMS World Mission blog at http://blog.lcmsworldmission.org.
Posted March 21, 2011