Returnee’s Testimony: Misaki Yoshimura

Misaki Yoshimura, who is returning to Japan next week, and I did the Returnee’s Workbook.While living in California and mingling with Americans, she became a Christian and is a would-be super-duper returnee Christian. lol.

When we did the Returnee’s Workbook, there was a section where she had to write a “Testimony about my faith.” I asked her permission and published that testimony here.

Everybody in the Kansai region, please take good care of Misaki!

JCFN North America Staff, Yuko Ozeki


Testimony About My Faith

Misaki Yoshimura


Before I became a Christian, I was stubborn, worried only about my grades, and was very selfish. Since I can always live alone, anybody I didn’t get along with I would cut out of my life. I never really even thought about forgiving others. I would judge that the people who had hurt me bore all the responsibility and I could never forgive them. I was short-tempered and would quickly get into arguments with people, resulting in people being afraid of me.


With a desire to learn English and get out of Japan, I came to America in 2015 against my parents’ wishes. Being 18, I was really looking forward to all the experiences that America had in store for me. School was going smoothly and I got good grades, but I became ill all of a sudden at the start of the second semester. I had a constant cough and found lumps around my neck. Normally, one would see these symptoms and immediately go to the hospital but since I was prioritizing school, I ignored them. The symptoms got really bad around the end of the semester and I finally decided to go to the hospital. I was taken from the school’s nurses’ office to the ER, where they did a test the same day and found that malignant lymphoma had spread through most of my body. I was simply too shocked to know what I’d do by myself. I didn’t even get along well with my room-mate at the time. I didn’t know what to do by myself. All I could think was things like “what’ll happen to my studies?” and “if I tell my parents, will they get angry or disappointed if I can’t quit school?” So I went to the intensive care unit that day. I cannot tell you how miserable I was during treatment. I lost a lot of weight and lost my hair.


Meanwhile, I made a friend at a yearly prom event put on by the hospital. This friend was volunteering as a hairdresser and loved Japanese movies, so we instantly hit it off and became friends. She invited me to her family’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone in this family was a devout Christian. I became good friends with this family, and as I began seeing them more often, they started treating me like family. The following year in February, I had to undergo transplant surgery and I was very afraid. But then one day, the day before the surgery, my friend’s grandparents came to visit me and shared Romans 8:28. (And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose). Also, they told me that all who believe in Christianity follow this principle. At that moment, I thought “I want to become like them” and made the decision to become a Christian.


Afterwards, I started reading Our Daily Bread in the hospital, and until I was discharged, I learned about how amazing and important prayer is. After I was discharged from the hospital, I started attending a church and as I developed deep relationships with people, I noticed I had begun to change. This was because I learned how important human relationships are, and as is written in Proverbs 3:5 (Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding), I learned the importance of listening to Jesus and how to forgive others. Furthermore, I had firsthand felt everyday that the love from a Christian, like how God loved us sinners, is unconditional. I felt how wonderful it is to learn from such people who reflected God in their lives. Thus, I’ve been living such a fulfilled life.

Take One Step Forward: Attending Central Conference 18

Izumi Miller (in Illinois)

I am a new Christian that got baptized last year on Memorial Day, exactly one year before this year’s CC. I didn’t know anyone and it was my first time attending, but I realized that you can open your heart and connect with others on the sole common ground of believing in Jesus. Any fear I had of participating in CC at the beginning soon disappeared, and I was blessed with meeting many people. Since I am usually thinking about what I need to do next during my daily life of work and household chores, these two nights and three days of coming face-to-face with God was a relaxing and blessed time. And what I gained at CC very much exceeded my expectations.

I learned a lot from the gifted speakers and discussions with my small group–actually everything I heard was what I needed to learn–and all the lessons from the Bible they taught resonated with me. And among those, what left the strongest impression on me was this quote by Pastor Tetsuo Kagiwada:

“There are many teachings in the Bible that seem absolutely impossible for humans who are sinners. One of those is Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” We have times that we can sincerely rejoice, but when we are crushed by sadness or suffer from sickness both physically and mentally, there is no way we can always rejoice. Do you give up like that from the very beginning? That’s no good. If you can’t truly rejoice, let’s keep rejoicing, even if it’s just on the surface.

Internally, I was doubting with thoughts like “It’s not just always rejoicing; we humans can’t forgive or love our enemies either. Can’t we pray and wait on the strength of the Holy Spirit to change us so that we can do those things? Isn’t it meaningless to act like that on the surface if I don’t really think so from my heart?” Then Pastor Kagiwada continued as if he knew what was going on in my heart.

“There is also a mindset like this:  ‘God, please give me peace before telling me to rejoice. If you give me peace then I can rejoice too.’ I think that’s true too. Since I can’t do it even if I’m told to.”

I did not grow up in a Christian home but I heard about Jesus for the first time at a very young age. Since then, God persistently worked in my life through six years of a Protestant middle and high school, church, and by giving me many Christian friends once I became a working adult and came to the U.S. Even though I was impressed by the lifestyle of my devout Christian friends and influenced by them in many ways, I stubbornly thought “I will not become a Christian.” I had absolutely no right to receive His grace, but the Lord performed a miracle for me. Three years ago, I believed in the presence of the Lord and began to pray everyday, with the sincere intent of responding to my longtime Christian best friend’s feelings. The Lord understands us better than we understand ourselves. I hadn’t even been praying about my father, who I had been disconnected from for 16 years. But the Lord knew that my bitterness, hatred, and unforgiving heart towards my father was the reason I thought “I can’t become a Christian.” Before I knew it, He completely healed the wound in my heart, and had taken away my anger and hatred. I was able to reunite with my father and had a blessed time with him this past March for the first time in 17 years. So in my case, it’s not that I was able to reconcile with my father because I made an effort; it was absolutely impossible for me. It’s just that the Lord miraculously changed me. The Lord takes unique approaches for each one of us: 10 different ways for 10 people, and 100 different ways for 100 people. I know that God will not necessarily work in someone else’s life the exact same way He did in mine, but because of my experience, I strongly believe that even if we don’t make an effort, the Lord will change us for His will.

Pastor Kagiwada further continued with this:

“The person that thinks they cannot always rejoice will never be able to rejoice. But when we try to obey the Bible even though we know we can’t, or when we try to rejoice even though we know we can’t rejoice, or when we try to give thanks even if we can’t be thankful, the Holy Spirit works in us. If we try to take one step forward and obey, we are able to rejoice and give thanks from our hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit.”

And lastly:

“No matter how sinful we are, if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, the Lord will save us. But let’s have faith much much bigger than a mustard seed and go to heaven unashamed! Let’s completely trust in the Lord and do more and more things that are pleasing to Him.”

Though it has been a month since I have heard this message, it continues to encourage me and has given me the courage to take one step forward as a Christian.

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