JCFN member, Yuri Hoshino
Returning was a necessary process for me. I learned to obey the Lord and take action, and if I did not go out, there would be nothing I can obtain.
I was raised in a non-Christian home; however, when I was 7 years old, I went to a summer camp held by Sunday school in Japan. For the first time, I heard “Jesus is God who forgives your sin.” I confessed to my class teacher that I had shoplifted stickers from a stationery shop. We opened the Bible together, and she (the teacher) prayed for me. When she said, “Your sins are forgiven,” I cried so hard for joy. Having forgotten about it completely, I grew up and went to America. I recalled it again after 30 years when I was in extreme distress; at that time I found a Bible from book shelf in living room at a house where I was babysitting. I read the words of I John and blubbered, saying “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Then God forgave my sins. I found a church thorough Yellow Pages. It was really amazing that Jesus saved me from a bog which I could not struggle out of by myself.
I was also running away from “returning” for long time. I had enjoyed my life with new customs, my church, friends, and God; so, I did not want to see my families and friends in Japan who did not know that I became a Christian. However, one day God shut off all the ways except returning and let me face it outright. He taught me, “Returning is following Jesus where He wants to go.” Finally, I decided to follow Him.
Right after returning, I joined a small group in Yokohama. People who experienced returning gave me some information and advice about a church, job hunting, and daily life. Through my new Christian friend whom I met at the small group, God led me to go to a volunteer explanatory meeting of CRASH Japan which does disaster relief work. I decided to join this work, hearing Jonathan, CRASH Japan Chairman, saying, “Supplies can be distributed by trucks, but hope in Christ cannot.”
Through Operation Safe of CRASH which is a trauma care program for children, I introduced Jesus to children who live in stricken areas in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. When I told them, “Jesus is God who forgives your sins,” I realized, “Oh, I am alive for this time, was saved for this, experienced in America, and was sent to Japan.” Before I was sitting where the children were, but now I am standing at a position of teaching. God gave me a double blessing, and at the same time, it was the moment which affirmed that all my past, present, and future are part of His plan.
It has been 2 years in September since I returned. God strengthens my feet where I am standing now, so I can stand firm to make one step forward.