Nonogaki Rpt – Apr 4 ’15
Studying with Yuji
It has been a month since Yuji was released from prison. He got a driver’s licence renewed and has taken care of lots of legal business. He has to meet an official from the government twice a month so that the official can know he is not getting in trouble. He has a job that he works with a brother in law, his sister’s husband. They paint official facilities like subways. They work overnight which is rough for them. Their work is very sporadic and they do not know when they can take a day off. Today we got together and have decided to meet at least once a month. I believe a network of Christian people will be able to help him stay in right attitude and encourage each member to email him. I am not a picture taker and do not carry my camera with me although I always intend to take it. This time again I forgot to take a picture of Yuji. I pray that he will be able to take a day off on Sundays so that he can attend the service.
Joint Worship Service on 29 March
On 29 March was our joint worship service with American members. Bro. Stephen Carrell was invited to speak to us both in English and Japanese. He did an excellent job. Getting together with Americans brings us lots of benefits. One of them is to help Japanese members realize that Christianity does not discriminate any culture or nationality or race. Christ’s message applies to all the human beings regardless of culture…. We have a lady from Shanghai China and has been a faithful Christian. We have Yuji, who was in prison for 16 years. People with different backgrounds and culture can get together because of Jesus Christ. In Japanese worship service, I often emphasize the aspect that Christ is above culture. It should make sense to everyone if he pays an attention to the Bible teachings closely.
Yuji’s Memorable Words
On the other day I asked Yuji what was the toughest thing he had to deal with in the prison. He told me his relationship with other inmates. This prison is used to put the worst criminals. It got very cold in the winter and went below 20°F in the middle of night in the winter. There were no heats in the big room they slept. I have heard that the prisons in the US are like hotel where people can exercise and watch TV. Nothing like that is the Japanese prison.
He told me there were constant fights and conflicts among inmates. He had to put up with others’ bad attitude and behaviors. If he fought back, he would be in the black list. Also he told me the following surprising words. After he met me in 2002 when I visited him, things around him suddenly began to change. He had been often tempted to fight back and to get even with other bad guys and was often in trouble. But after he met me somehow he held himself back and controlled himself. Also his friends began to support him and a group of “good guys” helped him. He said, “God protected me. That was a very strange feeling.” I had often prayed for him. I am glad God answered my prayers and protected him.