As I recall our family's journey abroad over the past 20 years, I would like to share how immense God's mercy has been to us.
I should start with how we first met, but this time I will skip that and take you to the story of our first trip as a family to Zurich, Switzerland.
In 1986, when our oldest son Tomoyuki was four years old, our second son Yoshiyuki was 17 months old, and our third son Norimichi was four months old, we left Tokyo for Zurich.
My husband Michio accepted a doctorate in neurosurgery from the University of Tokyo, and a few months later a letter arrived for Michio.
It was from Professor Yasargil who was a neurosurgeon and professor at the University of Zurich. He was an expert in neuro-surgery at the time.
It was an official invitation for Michio to travel to Zurich as a researcher. Before our marriage, Michio had done research on veins in the brain at the University of Florida and published papers, which caught the professor's attention.
The purpose of his anatomical research in Zurich is to find the sulcal pattern and to make a map of the brain surface. Using this map, neurosurgeons can operate deeply seated lesions through these sulci with the least damage to the surrounding brain.
Switzerland is everyone's dream foreign country, and it was a unique opportunity for Michio. However, at that time, his father was in the final stages of cancer and was in the first hospice in Japan at Mikatahara Hospital of Seirei Hospital. So my children and I decided to stay behind for a while, but my father-in-law asked me to go and support his son as soon as possible, so we followed him three months later. Thanks to the hospice care, his pain was relieved and he hoped to go to Switzerland someday when it was warmer.
I frequently exchanged letters and photos with my father-in-law for several months but I felt that the last postcard I received was weak and I guessed he was nearing death. A few weeks later he was suddenly in critical condition, so only Michio was able to return to Japan in time for the funeral.
According to the head nurse at the hospital, he passed away peacefully with his mother-in-law and brother watching over him and saying, "Thank you," after the head nurse read the Bible to him.
My father-in-law loved classical music, especially Mozart and Brahms.
He once said to me, "Megumi, when I hear Mozart and the Hallelujah Chorus, I think that such wonderful and pure music is created because they believe in God. Well, I am not a Christian, though. By the way, I went to a Christian kindergarten."
My father came with me because I could not afford to make the long plane trip with three young children.
That time was November, so it was cold outside.
At first, we had to settle in the dormitory of the seminary.
We did not have a car, but the younger two sons still needed diapers, and I was worried about how to go shopping.
Then pastor from Nigeria introduced me to a daycare center for employees of a nursing home one bus stop away.
The nursery was run by a Catholic organization.
Zurich is a German-speaking city, but the language is Swiss German, which is very different from the German spoken in Germany.
By the way, do you all remember this? I had flunked German in Korea, but I finally passed the test by singing a song.
Immediately, I enrolled in a six-month intensive German conversation course during the daytime and began to commute to the city every day to learn German. I thought that Hochdeutsch (standard German) would be better, when in fact I should have learned Swiss German. Of course, they understood my German, but I could not hear their Swiss-German at all. On the other hand, the children began to speak Swiss German very well in a short time, especially Yoshiyuki, whose Japanese was not yet good enough for me to understand.
There was an Italian couple and their newborn baby in the dormitory, and I learned how to make apple roll cake from the lady. I had no experience in cooking, but during this one and a half year stay in Switzerland, I repeated, many times, one basic cookbook I had brought from Japan, and I gradually became more like a housewife, as I began to try oven cooking in Switzerland.
As for the church, I went to a university-affiliated chapel and listened to German sermons with English interpretation for about three months, but we didn't understand what was going on, or it wasn't fulfilling as a church because there was only worship and little communication with the congregation.
So I decided to look for a Korean church. I found out that an evangelist of a Korean church was studying abroad for his doctorate at a seminary, so I visited him at his dormitory and went to his church. Since the pastor was also studying abroad for his doctorate, he only preached at the church, so he served us without a salary. The sermons were not a problem because I interpreted in a whisper for Michio. Our kids had no problem because they could understand Swiss German. The church was a small but warm family gathering. After the service, this church had a lot of fun. Everyone brought a dish to share and all of them cooked well. Michio loves Korean food more than anything else, so every week the event after the service was very appealing to him. He also gradually began to understand the nuances of the Korean language and was able to sense our jokes in our conversations.
After about six months in Switzerland, an American pastor and his wife from Japan (they had been missionaries in Japan for many years, but they had retired) came to our house with a book.
I can't remember who introduced us.
The book was called “Nine in the Morning: My Experience of the Holy Spirit and My Ten-Year Testimony.”
I was raised a Presbyterian in the Japan Christian Church. Michio was baptized in a Baptist church in Florida We had heard very few sermons on the Holy Spirit, even in worship sermons. I knew about the Pentecost, of course, but I had never met anyone who emphasized the Holy Spirit, nor had I read any books about it, so it was very shocking.
Prophecies and tongues aside, his experience and active growth in the faith were remarkable. We felt that we should not have lukewarm faith. In between studies, Michio began to read the Bible in-depth.
He ordered some helpful books from Japan and started a Bible study and prayer meetings on Wednesdays! Fortunately, we were members of a Korean church that understood English, so it was a wonderful gathering where Michio would summarize a story with a different theme each week, raise an issue, and we discussed it with them and tried to apply it to our daily lives. In addition, we prayed together about our problems, all of which got answered, and our hearts burned with passion. I will tell you about them later. We gathered on Wednesday before 7:00 p.m. and had dinner cooked by me for those who came, and the meeting started when everyone had gathered. We never once had to cancel the prayer meeting, even on a day of heavy snowfall, and I thought we would take another break around New Year's, but we continued for a year until we left for Brazil. (To be continued)
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
We have finished sending the money to Hunger Zero and have received a report of acceptance. We got the report on the following projects for use of the donation as Hunger Zero.
(1) Refugees in the vicinity of Ukrainian border checkpoints (Medica) and primary shelters (Přemysl, Korchova, etc.)
(2) Support for activities for refugees in the vicinity of Ukrainian border checkpoints (Medica) and primary shelters (Přemysl, Korchova, etc.)
(3) Support for the operation and activities of the secondary shelter established in Lublin in cooperation with KFHI (Korea Feed Hunger Initiative).
(4) Operation of secondary shelters established in cooperation with KFHI (Korea Famine Hunger
(5) Transporting goods (canned bread, medical supplies, etc.) from Japan to GEM's warehouse in Jessiyu, Poland.
(6) Assistance in the transportation of goods from Japan (canned bread, medical supplies, etc.) to GEM's warehouse in Jessiyu, as well as procurement of food and daily necessities in Poland for delivery to Ukraine
(7) Assistance in transporting supplies from Japan to the GEM warehouse in Jessiyu (canned bread, medical supplies, etc.)
(8) Support for Ukrainian orphans and athletes
(10) Other support is urgently needed due to changes in the situation.
The "Dream Talking Group" is hoping to use the donation to help orphans move to Poland and build an orphanage there.
Pentecost, also known as the Feast of the Nativity of the Holy Spirit, means 50 in Greek. It is one of the three major Christian festivals; Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. On the 50th day (Pentecost) counting from Easter, Jesus' disciples were gathering to pray when suddenly a sound like the blowing of the wind was heard from heaven, echoing throughout the house. Then a fiery tongue appeared at the fork and rested on each of the disciples. Then the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in their languages.
The disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people. In this way, the Church was born.