Before I came to know Christ, I lived in a world where everything was relative. My sense of worth always depended on something or someone. Deep down, I was always seeking to be loved and approved. When you have no understanding of God’s love and the truth of his Word, that is what life is like.
I grew up in Chiba, in the suburbs of Tokyo. I had a happy childhood in a family of four, with my parents and older sister. We traveled to the countryside every summer and spent lots of time outdoors. At elementary school, things went well for me. I was often in the spotlight— I excelled at study, sports, and making friends—life was good.
However, when I entered a brand-new private junior high school in the middle of Tokyo, a drastic change occurred. Shortly after entering the school I realized that I was no longer special—my peers were much smarter, cooler, and more mature than me. I started striving to win their acceptance and approval. After about a year of trying to become someone I was not, something cracked in my heart. Suddenly, I felt so insecure that I could no longer smile or face people. I started running away from everyone and hid in a toilet cubicle each recess. Every night, I cried myself to sleep, wishing that tomorrow would never come. I felt like I was thrown into the dark tunnel and there was no way out of it.
Seeking a fresh start in a new environment, I become an exchange student in the US in the first year of high school. Did I have a rosy life after that? No, going to US actually showed me that I was still my own fearful self and that I could not escape myself even though I literally crossed to the other side of the earth. But the great news was that I eventually saw that I had built my life on the wrong foundation.
Long story short, upon hearing the story of a man building a house, I made a decision to follow Christ as Lord and Savior. Luke 6:47–48 says, “As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock” (NIV).
I felt the Lord say to me “Come follow Me,” and that’s when I responded to his call.
As I look back on my life, I realize that the Lord’s hand was visible in my life from early childhood. My mother used to go to a group English class when we were little. Mr. Max Oehninger, a missionary, taught the class. At the end of each lesson he told a short story from the Bible. The amazing part was that my mom, who is still not a Christian, used to share the story with us at night and encouraged us to talk to Jesus. We were praying to God without even knowing!
Living in a country where depression is prevalent and the suicide rate is one of the highest, I cannot help but thank God for shedding his light on me through those people who were willing to share the gospel faithfully.
Psalm 40:2 “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (NIV)
By Kumiko, a Japanese Christian
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray for God to send more missionaries like Max who will teach people the Bible.
- Pray for those who struggle with depression and who are contemplating suicide to find hope in the Lord Jesus.
- Pray that many more Japanese would be lifted out of the pit, with their feet set on the Rock.