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 -
Thank you for reading and God bless you!