Nobuo Inoue’s home was fine after the first earthquake on April 14, 2016, in Kumamoto, Japan. However, the second, principal quake that hit during the early hours of April 16 made his house totally unstable. “I don’t know how I got out,” remembered Inoue. “The power had gone out and somehow I escaped my house. If there was any sign of hope, (it was that) the cross I had hanging in my entrance way remained.”

A construction professional, Inoue was called by Motoi Koizumi, pastor of Kengun Lutheran Church, to help repair damage at their congregation after the earthquake. “I felt so alone after escaping my house that I came right to church,” Inoue said.

Now Inoue lives in his car and receives his meals at the church. Kengun has housed as many as 40 people whose homes became inhabitable after the earthquakes and is serving meals to others whose livelihoods have been disrupted.

In gratitude for what his congregation has done to help him, meanwhile, Inoue said that if he can safely re-enter his house, he would want to take in those who remain homeless.

In the meantime, though, he wants to also move on from the devastation and begin to rebuild: “I don’t want to see another photo of the damage done in the area.”

Lutheran Disaster Response is working with ELCA partner organizations and the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church to help those affected by the earthquake. Learn more at

Y. Franklin Ishida
Ishida is program director for Asia Pacific with ELCA Global Mission.

Read more about: