Although these two girls speak different languages and live more than 6,000 miles (9,600 km) apart, they have something special in common: they both found ways to keep a positive attitude when natural disasters struck their hometowns. Take a look at the true stories of Honoka O. from Japan and Maggie W. from Missouri. During sad and scary times, what helped them stay faithful and optimistic?
Konnichiwa! My name is Honoka, and I live in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. I like to play, jump rope, and draw. My dream is to be an illustrator someday. I was at school when a big earthquake happened.
My favorite scripture story is about Lehi’s dream. I think Primary is very important because I can learn a lot about God and Jesus. I love sacrament meeting because I can feel myself becoming clean when I take the sacrament, and that makes me so happy.
When the earthquake hit, my first thoughts were, “This is scary!” and “I wonder if my
family is OK.” I prayed in my heart that they would be safe and that people’s lives would be spared. Later I found out that none of my friends had been hurt. At that time, I felt that God had protected us. I know that God and Jesus live.
Hello! I’m Maggie from Joplin, Missouri. One night my mom saw storm warnings on the news, and we all went to the basement. The loud whistling wind scared me. I was worried about my friends and our animals. After the storm, I was grateful my family was safe and our house didn’t have much damage.
Lots of other homes and businesses were destroyed by the tornado that came through town. I felt sad for people who lost loved ones. My parents and older brother and sister decided to help clean up our town. It made me think of the scripture, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” ( Mosiah 2:17).
I wanted to help clean too, but my mom said it wasn’t safe for a child. Then I felt the
Holy Ghost share a great idea to make people feel happy. I made 20 thank-you notes to give to volunteers. I spent lots of time making each card special so that people could feel the Spirit and know they were very important to our town.
I learned that even if you can’t do certain things to serve, you can always think of other ways to serve. Heavenly Father will bless you for serving Him and your fellow man.
Map by Chad Hutchings; above: photograph of Japan by Nate Leishman, © IRI; other photographs courtesy of the families