My name is Tomoko Sakamoto and I was born into a typical Japanese family who practiced Buddhism and Shintoism. I went to church for the first time in my life when I was a high school exchange student in the US. I accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour during that time.
I majored in international studies in a christian university in Japan. After my graduation, I joined World Vision as full time staff. At one time, I went to Bangkok for a business meeting. During my business trip, I had the opportunity to go to a Thai church. Meeting Thai christians and learning of the spiritual need in Thailand challenged me greatly so later l quit my job and came back to Thailand as a volunteer worker. I lived in Bangkok for over a year teaching Japanese in a local church and participating in outreach to prostitutes.
Through this experience, my love for Thai people grew stronger. Then I went to All Nations Christian College (ANCC) in the UK for 2 years, in order to prepare for cross-cultural ministry. After finishing the course at ANCC, God led me to serve my home church in Japan as a full time worker for 2 years. During these 2 years I continued to ask God for a clear guidance for the future. Prayerfully I made a vision trip to some locations in Thailand where OMF missionaries were working. On one occasion I joined the outreach at the local market in Isaan. As I saw many people who had never heard about Jesus, the Lord reminded me of Romans 10:14-15. I applied to OMF and came to Thailand in November 2009.
In my first term, I joined the church planting team in Lampang. During that time, however, I had to go back to Japan for medical reasons. God granted me good health and brought me back to Thailand in 2014. Now I am involved in the ministry called AIDS Care in Chaingmai. AIDS Care teams reach out to HIV/AIDS patients and their family members, aiming to share the good news with them holistically. We have activities on weekends where we play games, share the messages from the Bible and study English with children and young people. Some mothers get together to make greeting cards to sell in order to generate income and to help fund their children’s education. During card making time, we study the Bible together too. We also visit each family members regularly so that we get to know their situations better and can pray for them, sharing the good news with them.
For more information on AIDS Care, you can visit the following website: www.aids-care.net