Nov.27, 2022: Worship Service Testimony Series No.23 The Lord's Blessing Abroad: Testimony in Minnesota, USA (2) "Chaplain Training at Mayo Clinic"


John 9:1-3
“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.

His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”




After my husband finished his one-year course in the missionary program, he went to Thailand's Mahidol University's tropical medicine department. Thailand is a country where clinical illnesses were common.


I was still in the middle of my studies, so I remained at the boarding house with the children. I wanted to attend school until graduation, but we had no income for two years.

This situation forced us to return to Japan.

One day, my husband suggested I take CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) at the Mayo Clinic.


What is CPE?
It is the primary method of training hospital and hospice pastors and spiritual care providers. It is a multicultural and interfaith experience that uses students' actual ministry encounters to improve the care provided by caregivers. To qualify as a formal chaplain, a student needs 4 credits.

Mayo Clinic St Marys CampusMayo Building


Mayo Clinic is one of the most prestigious hospitals in the United States. I knew only six students were selected. Although I had a recommendation from the professor, it seemed difficult for me to be part of the training. I prayed that God would open this path for me. Fortunately, because I was Japanese, I was so happy to be accepted.


At the time, my husband had returned to Japan and landed a job at a hospital in Ishinomaki City in Sendai.

My children were on summer vacation, but my eldest son wanted to stay behind and not return to Japan, so I looked for a Japanese guardian for my son. In the United States, it was illegal to leave minors under the age of 18 alone at night. My second and third sons stayed at my parents' house in Japan.


My classmate's Chinese husband, a US citizen, helped me move from my boarding house to the hospital in Rochester. It was the summer of 1999. I took my old heavy Macintosh computer to Mayo. My email address is and the letter 99 is a memorial. The computers back in the day only had email, word processing, and basic program to correct English words.


I’d like to share my first experience with the night shift. I was full of anxiety thinking about what emergencies might happen. I could not sleep.

Suddenly, the phone rang in the middle of the night. "Finally!"

I answered, " Hello, this is Chaplain Ono. How may I help you?"


Since it was my first day, a chaplain, also a catholic nun came with me to see a patient. As though hiding, I followed behind her.

We saw a male patient in a wheelchair crying with a pale face. He told us that he had been painting the second floor of his house, and he fell to the first floor and injured his cervical spine, resulting in paraplegia.


"My wife was an avid Christian and pled with me to go to church with her many times, but I never did. Is that why this has happened to me?"


The nun gently held his hand and said, "This is not the result of God's punishment. God is merciful and He is always with you." She started praying for him to bring him peace. After a while, he calmed down a little bit. I decided to visit him every day. He was shy and did not talk much. I felt his suffering and his state of mind worsened by the day.


One day, while I was in the patient's room, his parents and brother visited him. After chatting for a while, his father started to pour his heart out. He told me through tears that he had been an alcoholic and can not break his habit. He asked me if it was his fault that his son had become like this. His mother also was crying.

Unexpectedly, I found myself frustrated at not being able to offer consolation to them. In my heart, I prayed that Jesus would give me the right words to say.

I told his father that God loves us, and regardless of whether he does not go to church or has drinking problems, God never inflicts such pain on you. “I do not know why this happened to you, but I believe God will give you hope and power to overcome this sadness. Let's have faith to believe God is working with us, and we should continue to pray for his healing.”


After that, I shared with them the Gospel of John: 9:1-3.

"Jesus answered, 'Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

That day, I prayed a short prayer and left.


One day, I remembered Mr. Tomihiro Hoshino, a famous artist in Japanese Christian society.

He was a PE teacher at a school. While he was teaching his students how to somersault the horizontal bar, he fell and injured his cervical spinal cord, losing motor function from the neck down.

He had an internal conflict and struggled for a long time, but he met Jesus and had faith in His love.

He also started drawing pictures and writing poems with a brush in his mouth. I ordered his postcards from Japan and gave them to the patient. My patient was impressed and encouraged by Mr. Hoshino’s story and postcards.


After a while, his family visited again, and we all held hands and took turns praying. His mother could not pray because she couldn’t stop crying. Then my patient started praying with gratitude to God! I was moved by his prayer. We all cried together. But it was no longer tears of sorrow!

Two months later, with a full smile, he left the hospital with his wife.


If we are sure of Jesus' love and seek His help, our weakness, sadness, and anxiety will be healed. Jesus knows our pain and has deep compassion for us.

Even if we cannot see the results of prayer immediately, it does not mean God isn't listening. We should trust in Jesus' love and have faith in Him. He knows our pain and sympathizes with us. I hope that my message gets through to you: He protects us with love and lives with us in his plans. (to be continued)




Prayer Request & Notice
A masters swimming competition will be held in Wakayama City on Sunday, December 4.

During my childhood, I was like a hammer, unable to swim. I even believe I suffered from PTSD due to an experience of almost drowning. This November marks two years since I started attending a nearby B&G pool class.

I appreciate the guidance of the swimming instructors and the advice of my husband Michio. I am not only no longer afraid of the water, but I am enjoying it very much. I am truly grateful.

In the competition, I will participate in the 50-meter backstroke. My goal is to not jump the gun and to finish the race.

I hope for your support and please pray for me.
So, please note that next week, I won't be sharing a testimony.