boats lined the coastline of the once peaceful tourist spot. There is one
boat, however, that was not destroyed, and its captain has become a local
hero on the island.
As the tsunami approached, most everyone on the island ran to the hills.
Instead, Susumu Sugawara ran to his beloved boat, the "Sunflower." He
steered it out into deeper waters directly into the path of the approaching
"I knew if I didn't save my boat, my island would be isolated and in
trouble," he told CNN.
Sugawara said he was accustomed to seeing waves up to 5 meters, but the
first wave of the tsunami that he encountered was 4-times that size! "I
talked to my boat and said you've been with me 42 years. If we live or die,
then we'll be together, then I pushed on full throttle. . I climbed the wave
like a mountain. When I thought I had [reached] the top, the wave got even
Sugawara described how the wave then crashed violently upon his boat, but he
and the Sunflower managed to stay upright. "I closed my eyes and felt
dizzy. When I opened them, I could see the horizon again, so I knew I'd
Sugawara focused on steering his boat through other waves of the tsunami
until the sea was completely calm. He stayed at sea for several more hours
in order to pump water from his boat's engine room.
Then he directed his boat back toward Oshima, unsure of what he might find -
if anything. He had to navigate carefully past debris from wrecked houses
and boats. The island of Oshima was in complete darkness; the only way he
could find his way home was with the guide of raging fires of a neighboring
When he finally made it back to the island, he immediately began helping his
neighbors and fellow citizens. For the first two weeks, he was the primary
connection between the island and the mainland. Twenty days after the
tsunami when CNN gave its report, he was still making hourly trips to the
mainland. Passengers who could afford it were asked to pay 300 yen (US
$3.50) toward fuel costs; those who had no money were welcomed aboard.
Sugawara's heroic efforts remind us of Another who actually gave His life so
that others might live.
As JESUS, the Son of God, approached Golgotha, He was facing the "tsunami"
of the sins of the world. Yet, because of His love for the Father and for
US, He "stayed the course" and died on the cross to pay the price for our
redemption (1 Peter 1:18-20). Through His death, burial, and resurrection,
the "Captain of our salvation" paved the way to "bring many sons to glory"
(Hebrews 2:10). He is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life;" He is the ONLY
way to the Father and eternal life (John 14:6).
He died so that YOU might be saved and have eternal life! You can accept
His offer by placing your faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning
from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans
10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of
sins (Acts 2:38).
Won't YOU submit your life to the Loving Captain and be saved?
David A. Sargent