Here am I. Send me!
In Japan we say “the nail that sticks up will be hammered down.” We are expected to be like everyone else and not shame our family.
My parents were the first believers in my family. This caused conflict with their parents. When we went to church early on New Year’s Day, my grandfather got really upset. He told us that we should have come to greet him first. But my father would say, “God comes first in our family!” This made my grandparents feel sad and abandoned. They worried about their afterlife. However, my parents kept sharing the love of Jesus with them.
During my first year at university, I met a missionary from the US. Together we read about the holiness of God in Isaiah chapter 6. For the first time I understood that, before our Almighty God, I was filthy, powerless and unworthy. I was nothing, yet God was inviting me into his presence and calling me to be his servant. At church the following Sunday I knelt and wept. I was awestruck by God’s grace.
While studying for my master of arts degree in biblical studies at the Westminster Seminary in California I built on this foundation. My confidence in the forgiveness of my sins grew as I read more about God’s goodness. I wanted to share this knowledge with my brothers and sisters in Japan but none of these books were available in Japanese. How long would we have to wait until they were translated into Japanese? I decided to translate them myself. I teamed up with Australian missionary Kellie Nicholas and my brother-in-law and Bible college lecturer, Nozomu Oimatsu, to translate How to Read Proverbs. Will you help us publish our first book?
Now, as a mother of three children, I face new challenges. How will I teach my children to be bold and hold fast to Jesus in an idolatrous culture? When we are invited to funerals, how will we honour both God and our neighbours?
Please pray that in my heart I will revere Christ as Lord. Pray that I will always be prepared to explain the hope I have and do this with gentleness and respect.
Nozomi Kusunoki is a translator with TREE Resources in Shimane.