Mennonite Church Canada logo
News » Releases » Timely dream saves mother from earthquake

Timely dream saves mother from earthquake


Philip and Julie Bender with Kent and his family. They spent three days at Kent’s rural home during the Chinese Spring Festival in February. From left: Kent’s father, Kent, Philip, Julie, Kent’s mother, the woman whose dream saved her.

View or download full sized image.


May 23, 2008
-Philip Bender

CHONGQING, China — The reports and images coming out of China’s earthquake have been tragic but a few points of light have pierced the sorrow and gloom. One of these was Kent’s mother’s dream.

Kent is a sophomore student of Julie’s. His home is near Dujiangyan, a city 210 miles to the west, close to the earthquake’s epicenter. When Kent heard that Dujiangyan had been devastated, he was worried about his family. Unable to contact them, his anxiety mounted as the hours and days passed.

Finally, on Thursday, three days after the earthquake, Kent received a phone call. “It was early in the morning and I was still sleeping when my mobile phone rang,” he recounts. “It was my mother.

She said, ‘My son, listen, I have something to tell you. On Monday afternoon I was sleeping, and I had a dream. In my dream you were calling me. I heard you say get up, get up. The dream woke me up. That was about 20 minutes after two. So I got up and went outside.’”

The earthquake struck about two minutes later, at 2:28 p.m., and Kent’s small cement-block house was destroyed. Most of the other houses in his hamlet, including that of his uncle, were also destroyed. But Kent’s family and neighbors were safe.

Kent’s parents and his aunt and uncle are presently living in a make-shift shelter built out of the rubble of their homes. They report that they have enough food and water for a month.

Our hearts are heavy for the thousands whose lives have been shattered by this tragedy. As of May 21, over 51,000 people have been confirmed dead, and 5 million are homeless.

We also give thanks for the small miracles, serendipitous coincidences, and bits of grace that have accompanied this disaster. Like the story from Dujiangyan of a woman eight months pregnant who was rescued after spending 50 hours under rubble. Like three-year-old Song Xinyi, who was buried under a collapsed building for 40 hours, but survived thanks to her parents, who draped their bodies over her for protection.

And like Kent’s mother’s dream.


Julie Bender (far right) and some of her students.

View or download full sized image.


Sidebar: Students remember

On the evening of Sunday May 18, student organizers of the weekly English Corner group and Julie Bender gathered to remember earthquake victims in a memorial service.

Philip and Julie Bender are workers in China with MC Canada Witness/MPC.