Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reunion after 10 years@English cafe

As I began learning Greek two months ago, I feel how difficult Greek is and realized the actual meaning of the phrase "It's all Greek to me." I make it a rule to listen to/watch English news, German news for children and NIV audio Bible on my i-Pod while commuting. Greek conversation CDs have recently been added to my favorite. However, the more I study Greek, the more I came to know the difficulty.

That makes me feel much more familiar with German.:-) With its rebound, I became starved for speaking German with someone. I recalled an English conversation lounge in Tokyo. Checking the website, I found there are other language groups depending on the day of the week. I went there for the first time in ten or eleven years.

To my surprise, the owner of the cafe remembers me, though I was not a customer and visited there more than ten years ago. I asked him, "Do you really remember me? I came here ten years ago." He replied, "Yes, I do." I continued to ask, "Why?" and he answered, "Because you are a unique person." I suppose my face is easy to remember.

I've had no chance to speak German after leaving a conversation school. I used to join the free conversation room every Saturday. Last Friday, I went to the cafe again and was very surprised to see two of my old classmates were there. They said that they visited the place every week. Everyone seemed to look for a chance to use German.

Another surprise is that an elderly classmate has an excellent knowledge of Classical Greek and also Italian Opera. I told him that I sang "Ah fors'e lui che l'anima - Sempre libera" at the last year's concert. Then he brought a score book of "La traviata(椿姫)". Coincidentally, he's also been to Prague to see "Tosca". Well, I had a good Japanese conversation with him regarding Opera at the multilingual cafe.

I do want to broaden my view meeting people with same/different interests each other.


Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Divine Guidance (Testimony 3)

聖霊を受けて(Testimony 2)から洗礼を受ける前までの証になります。

I have much curiosity in everything, particularly I'm interested in something beautiful and mysterious. When I was a freshman at a college, one of my classmates showed me tarot cards, which led me to tell fortunes by using tarot cards, playing cards and astrology. My big mistake was that I believed I could help people around me by fortune-telling. A palmist read my palms to tell me that I was cut out for a counselor, and another fortune-teller asked me to be his disciple.

Later I came to know how sinful fortune-telling is and how much God hates it. After all, I was not able to help people but just perplexed them. When I had communion for the first time at the church, I had a tiny glass of red wine and a small piece of bread. We have communion every 1st Sunday of the month. Only those who have been baptized with water and/or with the Holy Spirit are allowed to have communion at our church. Having Jesus' holy body and blood enable us to unite with Jesus spiritually and remember God's blessings.

The very day I had communion for the first time, I experienced how the Holy Spirit works. As soon as I got home from the church, I felt unpleasant to see a lot of books of fortune-telling on the bookshelf. They should have been my treasure including tarot cards got in Europe and others collected for years. I couldn't endure having such kinds of things any more, though I hadn't feel hatred in the morning.

Stuffing these books into two big paper bags, I hastened to go to a park nearby. I kept praying by the Holy Spirit until they were all burned out, since I learned that Satan, God's enemy, controls the evil spirit of fortune-telling. Later, my heart was filled with joy and peace from God. I realized how strong the Holy Spirit is. I cannot serve both for Satan and God at the same time. Without making an effort by myself, the Holy Spirit purified my heart and made me abandon the bad habit. I have completely been freed from the evil spirit and I have never been controlled or tempted by it any more.

Later, I have experienced another event in a coin-operated laundry shop. While the washing machine was working, I went shopping for a while. When I came back to the shop, I was surprised to find that someone had poured a bleaching agent into the washing machine to damage my matching sweat suits of my boyfriend's. I was so shocked and then filled with anger about that and thought I would never forgive a person who did this. I couldn't understand why a man had done bad on my sweat suits at all.

I wanted even to revenge against him first. My feeling was changed from anger to sorrow and then to pain. I didn't know why I felt painful in my heart. However, when I think something negative, I always feel painful in my heart, and then I say to Jesus, "I'm sorry." My heart becomes peaceful after prayers. I have become not controlled by the evil spirit but led by the Holy Spirit. How blessing God is always with me! Hallelujah!


- to be continued to Baptism with water(Testimony 4) -

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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The Holy Spirit (Testimony 2)

プロテスタントは色々な教派(福音派、ペンテコステ派、その他多数)があります。私の教会はペンテコステ派で、水のバプテスマと聖霊のバプテスマを受けることを重要視しています。教派によって色々な考え方や特色があり、違っていても同じ神様を信仰しているということで一致していますし尊重しています。ただ、私の証(信仰体験の話)はありのままの事実ですが、ペンテコステ派特有の証だということを前置きいたします。

I'll write a story about my baptism with the Holy Spirit.

On the first day I visited the church, K.I. took me to a place in the church where we pray about special matters during the service. She said to me, "Let's get prayed about your stomachache." I was taken to so-called blessed seats (恵みの御座). I still didn't understand what was going on there.

Associate Pastor came to me and asked, "You repent your sins now and believe Jesus as your Savior, don't you?" I didn't know well but I replied to her, "Yes, I do." She started praying in unknown words and asked me to say Hallelujah repeatedly.

I followed her instructions. My tongue became something strange: strange words(Ref.1) gradually came up from my mouth. Then she said to me, "You have just received the Holy Spirit!" Not knowing what had happened to me as I was ignorant about the Bible, I went back to my friend and asked, "You know something. I was told I received the Holy Spirit. What is that?" She said with tears in her eyes, "I'm glad to hear that, heidi."

The reason of her joy is that receiving the Holy Spirit is very important to us who belong to a Pentecostal church. Being baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit(Ref.2) is regarded as "one set", in other words, they are like a passport and a visa for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. I was explained about them later but still ambiguous to me. However, mysterious events began happening to me after I got the Holy Spirit.
* Ref.1
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:1-4)

* Ref. 2
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.(Ephesians 1:13-14)

- to be continued to Divine Guidance(Testimony 3) & Baptism with water (Testimony 4) -

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

I was found (Testimony 1)

I'd like to write how I reached Jesus, my Lord.


It was a day in April when I was a senior at a college. I received a phone call from KI, one of my classmates in a senior high school. I was happily surprised to have the call because she had never contacted me since we graduated from the school. She said, "I am getting married at a Christian church. Why don't you come to our church before our wedding?" I replied to her, "OK, I will." This is because I had much curiosity and had no negative feelings to Christianity.

However, what in the world brought me to the church? I didn't have any special problems and suffering in my younger days. I had been enjoying a college life since I left my home town for Tokyo. Most Japanese college students don't study very hard and I was not exception. I was so busy and rich because I had part-time jobs such as a cram school teacher, a tutor and a waitress. Since I was a typical "good girl" and trusted by my parents, they never interfered my life.

The earned money enabled me to make a one-month trip to Europe. I was filled with joy, which might not be understood by other fellows who joined the same package tour and enjoyed buying expensive designer brand goods by their parents' money. I was so happy while walking on a street in Cambridge and thought I could do anything only by myself. I was satisfied with freedom, since it was up to me whether I came back home at midnight or not. To the contrary, I was a bit afraid of being free, for there was no one who scolded me in my life. I suppose now my spirit might seek a kind of spiritual leader or God who taught and guided me.

My first-visited church was quite different from ones I had long imagined i.e. so solemn and stuffy. The church was rather big for a small town. The congregation looked very vivid and bright, and they welcomed me warmly. As for singing hymns, they were singing while clapping their hands and shaking their bodies. The pastor was frank and very friendly, and his sermon was so simple and interesting that I was able to understand it. The brothers and sisters laughed a lot during the service. I thought it was a happy talk show or something. At that time, the pastor shaked hands with each of them (more than 300 persons) after the service. He shaked hands with me and said smiling, "Nice to meet you. Please come again next week." I replied to him instantly, "Yes, I will." I visited this church again the next Sunday, because I thought I would be a liar if I didn't.

There is another practical reason I kept going to the church. I chose Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" as my graduation thesis. To tell the truth, I had never read the book before choosing it. I easily selected this long novel simply because I enjoyed reading his short stories before. This might be a fatal meeting in my life. The theme of the novel is "sins". I was so shocked, for I couldn't understand it at all even translated into Japanese. The meaning of "sins" was not understandable for me. If I don't comprehend the key word "sins", I never complete the thesis. I went to church for taking "a lecture" on sins every Sunday, and I was sure that I would understand the meaning of sins later.

However, I had never dreamed of being baptized and becoming a Christian six months later. Chance is always mysterious whether we meet people or books. I couldn't have reached Jesus if KI hadn't called me and I hadn't chosen the book.

- to be continued -

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Do It Anyway

Recently two Japanese scientists have won the 2010 Nobel Prize in chemistry. That reminds me of Mother Teresa receiving the Nobel Peace Prize dacades ago. The Catholic nun dedicated herself to helping the poor. She left a lot of messages of wisdom. Regardless of religion, there are many people being moved to her words.

I'm encouraged by the following words.

DO IT ANYWAY

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self‑centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

I was able to find its Japanese translation in many blogs as shown below.

あなたの中の最良のものを

人は不合理、非論理、利己的です。
気にすることなく、人を愛しなさい。
あなたが善を行うと、利己的な目的でそれをしたと言われるでしょう。
気にすることなく、善を行いなさい。
目的を達しようとするとき、邪魔立てする人に出会うでしょう。
気にすることなく、やり遂げなさい。
善い行いをしても、おそらく次の日には忘れられるでしょう。
気にすることなく、し続けなさい。
あなたの正直さと誠実さが、あなたを傷つけるでしょう。
気にすることなく正直で、誠実であり続けなさい。
あなたが作り上げたものが、壊されるでしょう。
気にすることなく、作り続けなさい。
助けた相手から、恩知らずの仕打ちを受けるでしょう。
気にすることなく、助け続けなさい。
あなたの中の最良のものを、世に与えなさい。
けり返されるかも知れません。
でも、気にすることなく、最良のものを与え続けなさい 

I've found out that the last part (see below) is missing in the Japanese translation. I don't know the reason it is not translated.

You see, in the final analysis,
It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

I'm schocked to know the fact, for the last part is a very important conclusion. I guess "God" is unfamiliar to non-Christian Japanese. Please note God is the Creator, not myriads of gods and deities.

Unfortunately, I am not good at translating to Japanese. (^_^;;
I hope someone will translate this. :-)


Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nostalgic Queen

I was glued to a CS TV program last Saturday, for it was a kind of documentary covering Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. I used to listen to hard rock music in my younger days. To tell the truth, I was a member of Queen's fan club. I had many Queen's LP records and disposed of them, since CDs became mainstream. However, later I bought two or three favorite CDs again.

Searching for something on YouTube, I was delighted to find a lot of Queen's videos on it. My favorite songs are something beautiful and dramatic in their melody lines. I've just realized that my taste in arias is also beautiful and dramatic. :-)

The following YouTube are "Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke" and "Nevermore". The latter one is very sensitive not like a rock music.



As I like Queen's early music, I didn't know the following song "Too much love will kill you". I was so moved to my beloved Brian's singing and playing the piano. (I didn't know that the guitarist Brian plays the piano.)



This is the original. It's already been 19 years since he died from AIDS-related bronchial pneumonia. Time flies....



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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Solomon's wisdom

I wrote in the previous posting that King Solomon was rich in wisdom given by God. Let me introduce the relevant background from the verses of 1 Kings of the Old Testament.

God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said to him,
"Ask for whatever you want me to give you."(1 Kings 3:5)
Solomon answered,
"Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?".(1 Kings 3:7-9)
The Lord was so pleased to hear this and He said again to Solomon,
"Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life." (1 Kings 3:11-14)

Like Solomon, I pray to the Lord every morning before leaving home for office, "Jesus. Please give me wisdom and help me with my duties at work." for there will be unforeseen matters while working.

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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