The tragedy occurred in Japan on July 8, when the former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed in Nara Prefecture while giving a speech supporting the House of Councilors election. It happened in broad daylight, although Japan is well known as the safest country in the world. I pray that Mr. Abe may rest in peace and may God comfort his family. Japan is no longer safe.
The area where the Liberdade church was located in Brazil was not safe.
My husband always kept a pair of athletic shoes that were very old in the car. However, during a Sunday service, noticed the signs that a window had been pried open, and his shoes were gone.
One time, we had a special service with a pastor from Japan. He stayed at our house for one day. Before the service, he took a video around the church.
As we were praying toward the end of the program, we heard a rustling and looked up to see some young men entering the church with pistols. The children were already back in another room, so they locked the door and ran into the bathroom.
I kept praying, "Please don't take my life. If they came near me, I would give them my wallet.” One of the elders had his check ripped off. They took the pastor’s set of videos and quickly ran away. I was very glad that no one was hurt, but I immediately filed a report with the police. The police told that it was unlikely that things could ever return and that it was probably the work of those who had seen the visitor taking the video.
The pastor said, "I put you all in danger because I inadvertently took a video." He was so depressed with remorse. I couldn't help but say, "Let's pray pastor, that the video will come back.” Then he said, "Megumi, we can't hope for that anymore. It's okay. I give up.” Common sense would say that is true. But I told them the story I experienced in Switzerland. "No one could ever hope for it, but it came back, so it's okay even if it won’t return. Let's pray and ask God." Then we prayed to God as a family, "Please give us back the video that contains the precious recordings of pastor’s mission trip.
God answered our prayer, and a few days later, the young men were caught and the video was returned! In Switzerland, I thought I was fortunate that God picked up my lost and found because citizens are good in Switzerland. But I learned that God's compassion goes far beyond human common sense and thoughts, no matter how rough the area may be.
While in Sao Paulo, there was a young medical student who was a close friend of ours. His name was Prof. Roberto Kikawa, a third generation Japanese Brazilian who always said he wanted to study oncology because his father had died of cancer. In 2008, at the age of 48, he became a professor of gastroenterology, providing specialized care to low-income patients with mobile units (a system of using medical equipment installed buses that travels around the country providing medical care), and over 2 million tests, surgeries, and consultations were performed nationwide in a decade. In 2010, he received the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and in the same year he was honored by the World Economic Forum for his innovations in the health sector.
He was also invited to live with his family at a university in the U.S. On December 11, 2018, on his way back from giving a talk at a conference in Brazil, he was pulled over and shot dead by two robbers. His wife was an ophthalmologist and father of two teenage children.
In a world of poverty, unemployment, and inequity of wealth, people are increasingly pursuing their own interests and moving toward mental and spiritual poverty. The shootings in the U.S. continue unabated. What is it that is creating people who are not afraid of taking the lives of others?
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on for four months now, and the attacks are only getting more and more intense. Despite the efforts of many government agencies and NGOs, we have not been able to stop it.
In Kushimoto Town, where I live, the heavy rains of Typhoon No. 4 caused landslides at two points on national and prefectural roads, and a level 3 heavy rain warning was broadcast. We need to be aware that our lives are not safe, even though we think they are. We should not take it as someone else's problem because it does not affect us, but rather, we should be vigilant and be aware of the fact that tomorrow is our own day. From the time we are small children, we should have the courage to offer helping hands to those in need.
It is not a big deal. We can start by greeting clearly and with a smile those who pass by, offering a glass of water to those who are thirsty, shedding tears together, and laughing together.
Jesus assured us that there will be "tribulation" during our life in this world. But at the same time, we must never forget that He also promised that we will surely overcome the tribulation. Let us take the first step from me and from you.