Volcano Eruption Claims Unificationist Teenager, Three Still Missing
Four Unificationists from the Toyota Family Church in Japan were among those who went missing when the Ontake volcano erupted in Nagano prefecture, Japan on September 27, 2014. Out of respect for the families’ wishes, we will not be publishing the names of the individuals who are missing or of those Unificationists who went hiking that day.
The Toyota Family Church is located in Aichi Prefecture. Their Youth Ministry team organized a day of hiking up the Ontake mountains for 11 families, 17 people in total with ages ranging from 11-60 years old. Their hike began on a sunny morning with one group going up earlier than the rest. What was meant to be a day filled with sightseeing and fun ended up so tragic.
In this group was a 59-year-old Unificationist. He later shared with Japanese National Church Headquarters that as four of them ate lunch, the volcano suddenly erupted. The shrine they sat to eat in protected him from the blast but as the air cleared, he realized quickly that his three companions were missing.
A 29-year-old Unificationist shared that he was urging his 50-year-old companion to start heading back down the mountain when the volcano erupted. He survived but his 50-year-old friend is still missing.
According to Japanese National Church Headquarters for the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), the body of one of the 18-year-old girls in the group was found on September 30, 2014. Out of respect for the family’s wishes, we will not be publishing her name. Please pray for her during her transition to the spirit world and for her family during this difficult time. The other three individuals are still missing.
Everyone who went hiking has expressed that they are so sorry for the tragic end of what was meant to be a beautiful family outing.
We will post more information as we receive it. In the meantime, we ask for the continued prayer and support of the international Unification community for all of the hikers, that they may be returned safely, and for the families of the victims and of those still missing.