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Asuka, Japan

I am so glad to be back in Seattle. This is my second home. This is where I became a Christian and God really spoke to me. This is a really special place for me. I was here four months ago when the Japan conference was taking place. As usual, I stayed at my friendship family’s home. Apart from attending the conference, I had a task to accomplish—to organize my ten boxes I had left at their house four years ago when I left for New York City. I had thought I would come back to Seattle after my three-month internship was over, but as you can see, it never happened. It was really a good time for me to do something about my boxes. I wanted to take all of the boxes back to New York City, but my friend asked me, “Why do you want to hold on to something that you never needed for the last four years?” So I opened the boxes and started getting rid of things that I did not need. So many things reminded me of my past, both good and bad. Some things you don’t want to remember and others you want to keep in your heart forever. One treasure that I found in one of my boxes was my notebook, full of poems I had written when I was in college. I don’t write them anymore, but I used to write poems especially on two occasions; first, when I fell in love with someone, and second, when I got extremely depressed and angry. As I read my collection of poems, I was surprised at how much I was seeking Christ without knowing I was looking for Him. I will share a poem that shows how thirsty I was spiritually. It is not that well-written,
but here is how it starts:

The heavy and dark clouds covering the skies
On the night of a full moon ominously  
Hides the truth before my eyes
Fully awakens my five senses
Hearing the voice I don’t want to hear
My head aches. My chest suffocates
Even the only hope in the wind cannot blow this distress away.
What is it that is dragging me down into the pit?
Why do I always make simple things so complicated?
The temptation always wins over us.
We always believe in ourselves, but when the time comes,
forget every promise we have made.

The silence of this night speaks to me that there is no wall before us.
It was by the hand of man that made the wall
Then we start looking for the door with the hope that someday
We would find a full moon in the darkness.

I wrote the poem four years before I came to know Christ. I realized in the poem that I saw myself in some kind of darkness, looking for some kind of hope that would deliver me into the light. Furthermore, I realized that I actually started thinking about sin,
even before becoming familiar with Christian beliefs.

Toward the end of my undergraduate years, I was depressed. I was very much disappointed by humanity. People constantly hurt and betrayed one another…One day my friend invited me to a bible study she had been attending. I vaguely remember that I told her this would not solve my problem, yet I went with her. The people I met there were very friendly and they taught me how to read the Bible in a way I had never experienced before. They taught me who Jesus was. I had many questions, but they patiently listened and helped me understand the Bible. For some reason, I just loved hearing about Jesus and His teachings. Jesus brought me such comfort to my heart that had been so wounded by a world of competition and selfishness. However, it took
a while to understand my own sins. I did not think I was a person who needed to be saved. But the more I got to know about Jesus, the more I was convicted that I
was not like Him.

I finally made the decision to follow Jesus. I’ve never regretted it. I’m a daughter of God and this is my new identity which is something no one can take away from me. With Christ, I have a brand new life.

This has been adapted from the original testimony of the student
and has been modified to protect the identities of those in secure countries.