About 8 years ago we hosted a small group of students from another country in our home overnight. They were teenagers involved in a Rotary Club International exchange program. When the group arrived in our city, I ended up being the member of our local Rotary Club that hosted them. They were all teenage female, so I enlisted two of the girls in our youth group at church to assist me in this effort.
We showed them the sights of our town, and generally enjoyed the day. Before we went home that night I took them to Walmart, because they wanted to purchase supplies to prepare a meal for us. We were about to enjoy some cuisine that would be characteristic of what they would eat in their native country. I must admit I was a little uneasy… I was content to cook hamburgers on the grill for them…
As it turned out, they prepared quite a spread the following morning. Our house had never quite smelled that before….I was a unique odor for sure. But before we sat down to eat, our guests lavished each member of my family with several small gifts from their country. We had a great time that morning. And the food was great! None of us were ready to send our new friends off with Rotarians from a neighboring city later that day.
I have thought about those girls several times over the years. They would be in their mid to late 20’s now. But today I cannot get them off of my mind. Those girls are from city of Sendai in Japan. When I discovered that Sendai was one of the cities hit the hardest by the disaster, my mind immediately flashed back to the events of 8 years ago. The victims are no longer nameless people in a country thousands of miles across the ocean. They are friends whom we shared a meal with years ago… My prayer today is that the United States will continue to deploy as quickly and efficiently as possible to provide assistance.