Cliff Scott, originally from the Marsden area, and his wife, Marg, spent almost 37 years as missionaries to Japan.
For the past 23 years they resided in the bustling city of Toyko. But they've recently retired and the quiet prairie village of Cliff's heritage is now home. It's quite an adjustment for the pair.
The couple, who had been serving with The Evangelical Alliance Mission, better known as TEAM, have returned to Canada to live. Their daughter, Janelle, lives with her husband and new baby in Edmonton, so it seemed logical to settle not too far away.
The couple had been planning to leave their overseas ministry and retire in Canada for some time. The Scotts had already booked their flights back home prior to the earthquake. Although, after the quake happened, they could have attempted to leave earlier than scheduled, they decided to stay and help out in any way they could, until their flight date.
Cliff and Marg Scott spoke recently at a morning worship service at Manitou Evangelical Free Church. They shared first-hand accounts about the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan this spring. Although the Scotts were not in close proximity to the epicentre of the quake, they know people who were and who are unaccounted for.
TEAM ministry area leader, Steve Baughn, says "needs are being realized even for those who were not directly affected by the quake. TEAM does not have work currently in any of the strongly affected areas; their work is further southwest of the region. Nevertheless, in recent days, all people seem to be shaken."
"They just need to talk; they're scared," says Baughn. "They don't know when the next big earthquake's going to come in their area; they don't know about the nuclear reactor. This is going to have an ongoing effect throughout the nation.
Baughn's wife owns an evangelical coffee shop and, since the tsunami, customers have come in for more than just coffee; they need to talk and process.
Several TEAM Japan members have dropped other work to dedicate themselves to helping the thousands of now homeless victims and to coordinate with other ministries to effectively provide hygiene kits, blankets, food and other aid. Baughn emphasizes that "many people have lost everything. He saw one man on the news express how his good life suddenly had been swept out from under him. People have lost their possessions, their families, even their towns to an unpreventable disaster; comforting words and messages are vital. People in West Japan, from Tokyo on down, are going to have opportunities to comfort, to speak love and truth into peoples' lives all through the nation."
Baughn says the TEAM relief fund will be divvied up by the organization to trustworthy ministries involved in immediate aid distribution.