Hiroshima Convention - 2005

Dear few,

Just a little update from Hiroshima! Some of you will have heard of a bad train accident in the Amagasaki (Osaska) area. We were at the airport in Okinawa when we had news of the train accident. We had hoped it didn't affect anyone we knew, but felt for so many who had lost loved ones and ones who were waiting word on their loved ones. When we arrived here at Hiroshima to the convention place, Jim Easton received word that indeed one of our friends was missing and presumed to be on that train. Some of the friends have stood by the family so faithfully. Our friend that is "missing" is Naoko Arita.  She is about 56, and her husband has been listening to the Gospel. She has two children:  a girl still at home, who has wedding plans for next month, and a son, still in school. Her husband was very ill from over work not long ago.  She so faithfully stood by him when they thought he was going to die and has drawn him to listen to the Gospel. At this point they know she is missing... was on that train and likely in the first car of that train.
They haven't been able to open up the wreck to get the bodies out, but it is confirmed that there is now no one alive in that car. They hope this morning to open up the first car and recover bodies. It is a hard experience for the friends in Osaka... three of the friends have stood by the accident scene... waiting to identify the body and have also search the hospital lists and looked through the lines of bodies.. so it has been a rough two days. The brothers here are keeping close touch with the family by telephone, so we await more word. The driver of the train was 23 years old, had 11 months on the job, and had 4 citations for "bad" job conduct. He had "overshot" the station before and had had to back up...they feel he was making up time... he was going 130 kms on a curve with a limit of 70 kms.  The train derailed and went into a building... that is where the first car of the train is at this point so that is why they have taken so long to recover bodies. They don't want to use big equipment until a last resort because of the danger of a fire.

This will add a very sobering note to our convention... and especially the Osaka convention next week.  We had wonderful days at Okinawa and look forward to our days here at Hiroshima. It is great to have Sharon Dorey with us... all our visitors are well and have so much to share with us.

Just this for this time.

Greetings in Him,

P.S.  Word has just come that our friend's body was just recovered. Brings the reality that she is "gone" very clear. Jim Easton and Yutaka Mio leave right now for the services tonight, and then the main funeral tomorrow.