Missionary returns home to Memphis from quake rattled Japan

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Zach Jones, 21, was met at Memphis International Airport Friday by a crowd of people who had been praying for his return.

"I was expecting family," said Jones.  "But there's quite a few more," he added.

Jones was in northern Japan last week working as a missionary for the Mormon church when an earthquake triggered the devastating tsunami that leveled coastal cities and claimed thousands of lives.

"It was like being on a boat," recalled Jones.  "Our power lines were moving and books moving on our desks and stuff."

Jones told Action News 5 he and his fellow missionaries were evacuated to an island off the opposite coast.

"We felt the earthquake there but didn't have the severe damage that was had in other parts," said Jones.

It took about 12 hours for Jones' family to receive word via e-mail he was alright.

"He did mention how much he was worried about his friends he had met there who lost everything," said Zach's mother Beth Jones.  "You know, he had a suitcase in Japan, but those he knew lost their homes and everything they had."

His mother gave Jones a pin she had been wearing with the name of one of the city's hardest hit.  Jones said he would be willing to return to help in the recovery.

"I feel blessed about all the good things that are happening," said Jones.  "There are good things happening there."

His family said it is good thing to finally have him safe at home.

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