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Sunday, February 12, 2012

JOY OF HELPING QUAKE VICTIMS

(Written by Sachiko Saito, a third-year student at a Girls' Middle School)

"Wake up Sachiko!" my mother called to me. "Mr. Takahashi and his family are evacuating here to Nagoya and I need your help in preparing for them." They were fleeing from the 3/11/11 triple disaster.

Early on the morning of March 18, my mother received an urgent e-mail requesting that we host this family until they could return to their home in Sendai, which was heavily hit. It turned out to be quite a few months before they could get back to Sendai.

Mother and I went to work immediately to create a semiprivate space for the Takahashis in our own home. We cleaned our largest room and emptied the closet of old clothes and other items we had stored there.

It wasn't easy to prepare a guest room for four people in one day but it made me realize how much sentimental junk of little value was lying around the house and how unimportant it all seems when real people are in true need.

Mr. and Mrs. Takahashi, 14-year-old Mako and 8-year-old Koko arrived at our home looking very tired, but relieved. Mako and Koko were quiet at first, but just like the spring flowers in our garden, they began to bloom! They loved the plant life in the garden, my mother’s home-style dishes and above all, playing games and listening to music in the evening.

The experience of having a family in our home taught me a lot. I learned that the simple things we often take for granted are actually invaluable. I learned that helping others when they are in need gives joy.

I used to think that happiness depended on having lots of friends! But friendship for selfish reasons should not be the priority of a happy person.

For a person to be happy is to love and help people and that gives purpose in life and a sense of fulfillment. 

When the Takahashi family returned to Sendai, my mother prepared rice balls with plum for their lunch and she gave them gifts to take with them.  She gave Koko a red "Hello Kitty" bag to carry her things in.  And to Mako, she gave a tiny old statue of an angel she had pet on her desk for a long time.  On the angel's back there was a carved word.  It said "hope".  Hope is the one feeling that heals the wounds of sorrow and gives us renewed strength for the future.  I now realize that family, home and friends are what fill my heart with hope.

Life is for love and friendship and home is where the heart is.
 
( Sachiko received First Place for this speech at the 63rd All Japan Inter-Middle School English Oratorical Contest held in Yomiuri Hall, Tokyo.)






God's love through us as Christians should be even more happily given than this family who gave of themselves to help others in need.  I Peter 4:9, 10 says "Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same to one another, as good stewards of the manifold Grace of God." 


God’s gifts of grace come in many forms.

Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others.

You should use it faithfully


Hospitality is grace and love in action and demonstrates the grace and love of God.
Hope is also found through the love and grace of God and may be found by others when we show forth the hope we have in our experiences.  

Be a blessing to someone today.


2 comments:

Sharon said...

What a delightful speech!

Jennifer Sandahl said...

That was really neat to read!!! Thanks for sharing! :)