Update: Tomatoes and reconciliation

Tags: Asia, Japan, Story

By Tina Lin, SEND missionary to Japan

Aunty Saki, who lost her house and husband in the 2011 tsunami, became estranged from her neighbors after she picked a few tomatoes without permission. With the Holy Spirit's guiding, we executed a plan for Aunty Saki to replace the tomatoes and seek reconciliation. Peace was restored. 

Last year, when I was heading off to home service, I urged a fellow believer to continue visiting Aunty Saki. My conscientious friend went at least once a month to visit Aunty, sing hymns with her and teach her to copy Scripture verses.

Last month, I joined my friend to visit Aunty. That day, the passage of Scripture to be copied was Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

I asked Aunty Saki, “Do you have Jesus in your heart?” She answered, “I do!”

I proceeded to ask, “Have you ever prayed aloud to accept Jesus?”

“I haven’t.”

“So, can we pray now for you to accept Jesus as your Savior?”

She immediately responded, “Yes!” And she followed me in prayer, sentence by sentence, accepting Jesus as her Savior!

• • • 

Here is Tina's original story of Aunty Saki and the tomatoes. 

The most touchy issue in the temporary housing areas in northern Japan is interpersonal relationships.

Aunty Saki, 72 years old, lost her husband in the tsunami and now lives on her own in Sendai temporary housing. There are over 20 households in this unit. Aunty Saki and some other ladies often gather for a chat over tea, or participate in activities together; they had gelled as a group. However, something small that happened in the fall changed all of that, altering their relationship. Without permission, Aunty Saki picked some of Miyo’s tomatoes to eat, angering her. After that, Aunty Saki was excluded from the group; for more than three months, no one called her or talked with her.

When I went to visit Aunty Saki, she tearfully told me, “Every day, I helped water those tomatoes. I only plucked a few to eat, and now I am ostracized…” As I heard her pour out her plight to me, I really hoped that I could help mediate this situation. But what could I do other than pray?

Over the phone, a spiritual elder in Hong Kong gave me some counsel and prayed for me that I would have wisdom and courage from God to help.

Finally, I purchased several small boxes of tomatoes and gave them to Aunty Saki so that she could give them to Miyo as an apology. I grasped Aunty Saki’s hand and led her in a prayer of repentance, asking God to forgive her for picking the tomatoes without permission.

The next day, Aunty Saki took the boxes of tomatoes to apologize. Later, the head of that temporary housing unit sent me a text message that the older ladies had all made up and thanked me.

“Blessed are the peacemakers! For they shall be called children of God.” Thanks be to God, for Jesus has already made us children of God, so we have the strength to help people live in harmony.