Friday, June 24, 2011

Deseret News: "Mormon missionaries return to Sendai to help Japanese rebuild"

The Deseret News recently posted a story documenting the return of Church missionaries to Sendai, Japan.  We've posted several stories about the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami on missionaries serving in the area (here, here, here, here, and here).  It's great to see that conditions have improved to the point that missionaries have been allowed to return.

Interestingly, the story features Elder Patrick Hiltbrand, a missionary from Idaho who was previously featured in an news blog story.  The Deseret News story tells of Elder Hiltbrand's return to Sendai:
Thursday, three months after being trapped on the second story of an LDS Church meetinghouse while water from a massive tsunami consumed the city below him, Hiltbrand returned with others from the Sendai Japan Mission to help rebuild this community.
"It is a weird feeling to realize the last time I was here cars were piled up on top of each other," said Hiltbrand, who is from Pocatello, Idaho. "It feels good to be able to serve people and help people where I was able to see what happened to them."
The first order of business for the returning missionaries has been to provide much-needed service to the devastated region:
The first day back in Sendai, the missionaries attended a mission conference. The next day they did what they had wanted to do since the earthquake and tsunami; they returned to the disaster zone and started cleaning up.
Thursday was their second opportunity to service tsunami victims.
The story tells of another young American missionary's experience in returning to Sendai:
"It is good to get into the areas that have been damaged and to come and help people," said Elder Blake Ovard of St. George. "It is good to restore and take care of some of the damage that has been done."
He added, "We are thankful to be back and doing what we can do. We could do this everyday and be happy with it."
Watch a related video after the jump, courtesy of KSL News.

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