As told by Takeshi
I have been working as a carpenter for 4 years, I worked so hard that some times I felt tired mentally and spiritually. At those times I began to think a lot about my life, "For what cause do I live in this world?" or "Does my life have meaning?" I got sick of myself; the feeling of loneliness and emptiness filled my heart.
One day, I saw a TV program called "Unbelievable Wonders", it featured a little girl called Ashley. Ashley has a disease called progeria, and life was really painful for her. Progeria is an accelerated aging disease, in which the aging process of the body accelerates 10 times faster than normal. Most people with progeria die at around 13 years of age. But, at that time, Ashley was already 14 years old.
Progeria made her bones became fragile, made her hair fall out; it also gave her bad headaches and pain in her chest. As she has passed the 13 year limit, she didn't know when she's going to die. At first, I thought, "What a poor girl. What's the meaning of her life?" But as I watched more, I knew that she lived her life so positively, but I didn't know why.
As I finished watching, I was really moved by her. She had hard times much more than me, but she lived so positively. I thought about how my worries seemed so small compared to hers. At the end of the program, they introduced a book by Ashley. I didn't think to go and buy it. But, as I passed by a bookstore one day, I found the book and bought it.
These are her words from the book. "I don't want to show a sad face in front of people. If I smile, everyone will be happy." And, "I want to stay positive." Also, "I want to be someone that can help others. I want to be someone full of love." I realized from the book that she maintains a very positive attitude. I asked myself, how could she be this positive?
When I heard about Ashley, I didn't know a single thing about church, Christ, or God. In the book there were keywords like church, God, and prayer, but I was like, what is church? What is God? However, I was really moved by the book, so much so that I decided in my heart, "I want to live like Ashley!!" But I didn't know where to start.
One day (in Tokyo) as I rode the train on the Seibu-Ikebukuro line, there were a lot of foreigners around. I thought, "Wow, so many GAIJIN!" I found an empty seat in the corner, sat down and slept.
Suddenly, the person next to me woke me up and introduced me to an event. It was sudden, so I was surprised. The event was a concert by Andy Hunter. She told me it was a church event (at Jesus LifeHouse in Tokyo.) She invited me, but at that time I didn't feel like going. So she said, "if you have any interest in going, here's an Email address you can contact."
As I thought about it at home, I remembered Ashley, and I decided I wanted to go to church. So I sent an Email saying, "I want to go to church."
The first time I went was to the church in Higashi Kurume, and I felt warmth. I also went to the Akasaka church after that, and I had so much fun. I didn't become a believer the first time, but I went there again and again. A young man named Yuji asked me, "Do you read the Bible?" And I answered "Not at all."
But, as I went to "Life Group" (weekly small group meetings) and talked with people from the church, I was really interested in their attitudes and lifestyle, so I started reading the Bible. And, as I found out more and more, I had conviction in my heart that this is what Ashley believes, so I decided to become a Christian.
Now I really want to say "thank you" to the foreigners in the train, to Fumie (the young Japanese believer) who talked to me, to Ashley, and to God.
Note: Story used with Takeshi's permission
Takeshi's story is a great example of how media can draw a person towards faith in Jesus Christ. Another Japanese friend of ours, while in her teens, came to know Christ as a result of watching "Little House on the Prairie."
Japan is media saturated and has a very high Internet usage. We have have a tremendous opportunity to share Christ through the use of "New Media." I am involved in a very exciting project that has the goal of putting redemptive videos on youtube.com, in Japanese. We want to "connect" with the large numbers of youth, like Takeshi, who are interested in the meaning of life and are looking for hope but know almost nothing about Jesus. This is probably the most challenging endeavor of my life and it has been a big deal for me to decide to move ahead with it. I have crossed the Rubicon now, I am committed to moving ahead with it. Now, that sounds good, to be "moving ahead!"