Scientology Volunteer Ministers join the people of Japan in honoring those lost in the 2011 Tōhoku tsunami.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers from around the world join the people of Japan in March to remember the 2011 tsunami and the nearly 19,000 dead or still missing from the most devastating natural disaster in that country’s history.

As soon as the disaster struck, Japanese Volunteer Ministers mobilized, sending teams to the beleaguered area. And despite the potential threat of a nuclear incident from the damaged Fukushima power plants, Scientology Volunteer Ministers disaster response specialists from Australia, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Spain, Britain and the United States flew to Japan to join them on the Scientology Disaster Response Team. They helped rescue workers and civil defense teams cope with the overwhelming task of search and rescue and caring for survivors.

Among those flying in to help were 17 members of “Los Topos,” the highly skilled Mexican search and rescue team who are also trained Volunteer Ministers. Los Topos specializes in finding survivors under nearly impossible circumstances and their work in Japan was the subject of a National Geographic TV documentary.

Volunteer Ministers assisted victims and first responders in the stricken region, providing food, water and medical supplies. They established and ran shelters, collected needed goods, and set up emergency supply distribution lines.

“I was shocked to see how widely the devastation spread,” said one of the first Volunteer Ministers to arrive in Kesennuma, a city in northeastern Miyagi Prefecture that was decimated by the tsunami. “I had a map with me, but it was practically useless—for example, where the map indicated a petrol station, there was nothing there at all. The place was utterly wrecked.”

He had driven up from Tokyo with truckload of supplies and drove through the disaster zone, door to door, offering help.

While the people he met that day appreciated the food, water and clothing he brought, in some cases his help in dealing with their shock and agony was even more important.

He described an elderly man who was sitting aimlessly next to a pile of rubble that used to be his home. “He was 50 meters from the ocean and was terrified the tsunami might come again but he couldn’t move,” he said. That changed completely when the volunteer gave the man a Scientology assist—a technique developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that addresses the emotional and spiritual factors in stress and trauma—it seemed to bring the man back to life.

“Assists are so simple and easy to do but the help they bring is powerful,” said another Japanese Volunteer Minister who was working in shelters in Sendai, the largest city in the disaster zone. “I gave an assist to an older man who was completely disoriented. Before the assist he could not stand up, but afterwards, he was able to walk away on his own. Another man resolved to start his life anew, where before the assist he simply wanted to give up forever.”

“I was struck by the people of Japan—the way they treated one another and cared not only for their own welfare but for that of others,” said one American Volunteer Minister. “For example, here they were—power lines were cut, homes without electricity or heat, gasoline being rationed—nine liters of gas per person—but despite waiting in long lines, even having to sleep at a gas station to wait their turn, you would hear people only ask for three liters of gas, concerned that other people might need it more than they did.

“I was at an airport last year waiting to board a flight,” he said. “I was juggling my bags and holding out my passport for the gate crew to check. Two Japanese gentlemen were behind me. They recognized the Volunteer Ministers disaster response shirt I was wearing and must have seen the Japan stickers in my passport. They asked if I came to their country after the tsunami and when I said I had, they thanked me and bowed.”

“We created minor miracles on a daily basis,” says the leader of the Japanese Volunteer Ministers team. “We cheered up the elderly, trained young people in Volunteer Minister technology and changed despair to hope in the most terribly affected areas. Scientology Volunteer Minister activities enable people to dream again—and dreaming is the best thing a person can do. It was wonderful to be part of that.”

The Volunteer Ministers program was expressly intended for use by Scientologists and non-Scientologists alike. Anyone of any culture or creed may train as a Volunteer Minister and use these tools to help their families and communities. And all are welcome to do so.

Equipped with effective technology to resolve virtually any difficulty, Volunteer Ministers live by the motto: “No matter the problem, something can be done about it.”

Transcending all ethnic, cultural and religious boundaries, the Volunteer Minister program is there for anyone in need of help. Volunteer Minister training is available free of charge through the Scientology Volunteer Ministers website to anyone who wishes to help others.

The Church of Scientology has published a new brochure, Scientology How We Help: Scientology Volunteer Ministers—Something Can be Done About It, to meet requests for more information about the program. To learn more or read a copy of the brochure, visit the Scientology website.

In creating the Volunteer Ministers program, L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a Volunteer Minister and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”