Desperately searching

Tags: Asia, Japan, Story

Mr. K. lost both of his parents in the terrible earthquake and tsunami disaster that struck northeast Japan in 2011. He struggled for many years with post-traumatic stress disorder until coming into contact with some Christians who loved him and served him unconditionally. Through their ministry, he put his faith in Christ and was baptized. Here is his testimony:

I grew up in the midst of traditional religious culture, regularly going to shrines, worshiping at temples, revering our ancestors season after season. I took for granted that this was the model for life.

After I grew up, I got a job and everything sailed along smoothly in my life. I was busy and occupied every day; my family was well and harmonious; life was filled with dreams and hope. Economically, I was fairly well off; I could go drinking from pub to pub in Sendai every night, travel abroad each year, buy a new car when I felt like it. Basically I could do anything I wanted, and lived a self-centered life up until the 3-11 disaster in Japan. Suddenly, my pleasant life was jolted and twisted.

I lost both of my beloved parents in the tsunami. In the first week after the earthquake, I desperately searched all the school shelters and hospitals for my parents’ names, but I found nothing. For the next 45 days, I went daily to the places where bodies were being taken, looking carefully at the faces of hundreds of bodies, filled with deep fear that I would somehow overlook one of them. Finally, I saw my mother in a crude coffin and my father’s body was placed in a plastic bag. I deeply mourned the reality of both my parents’ demise. I felt the pain of their loss so deeply that I didn’t even shed a tear.

Afterwards, I tried to get away from hopeless Japan by going abroad, thinking I could escape from all that had happened. However, I couldn’t recover from the pain in my heart. I was living like a walking corpse. In that condition, I began repairing my parents’ house that was destroyed by the tsunami.

One day, as I was working on the house, Brother Otomo Tsuneo and Brother Kuriyama came to see me and asked if I’d like to receive a free renovation project plan from Samaritan’s Purse. That was the first opportunity I had to hear about Jesus.

The two of them unconditionally accepted me, who was stuck deeply in grief, and they shared their testimonies of salvation with me. Most service volunteers will come and help once, but not return; however, these two were different. Not only did they continue to come, they brought other volunteers with them, who comforted me, encouraged me, prepared food for me, helped to clean my house, took me to the hot springs, even up till now. Being neither their relative nor their old friend, I couldn’t understand why they were so nice to me. I also saw a difference in the life of another man at the church after his baptism, which caused me to long for similar changes in myself. So, I gradually became more interested in Christianity.

This past March, SEND missionary Tina Lin spent four intense days helping me go through a course on Basic Christian Truth. Finally, I understood how self-centered I’d been, deep in sin, living a disorderly life. I confessed that I am a sinner and traded the “self” that was sitting on the throne in my heart for Jesus to sit there. I accept and believe that Jesus paid for my sins on the cross. Then the four of us – Tina, Brother Otomo Tsuneo, Brother Kuriyama and me – prayed together. From that time, I am a changed person. I was formerly filled with helplessness, having no energy to do things and continually drinking alcohol. Now that is changed and I have initiated getting involved in volunteer activity. I hope that I can help some who are even in more difficulty and suffering than I was.

Recently, people around me have often said to me: “You’re changed!” My life has changed to be filled with hope. The verse I like most is: “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)