Radical Humility – It was a spiritually refreshing WIT experience, touching the cross of Jesus, the wonder of faith, dying and coming back to life. Last year, amidst the unfamiliarity of life and studies in English, in the unfamiliar environment of the United States, along with the historical and theological struggles of North Carolina’s South, it was days of hardships where tears were shed repeatedly. Tired and desiring to live quietly in the shadows for a lifetime, I didn’t feel the inclination to attend something like the WIT leader training. However, feeling a thirst for the Word, I participated with the mindset that it was a precious summer vacation, to quench this thirst. Touching Jesus, who embraced us humans in the midst of animosity, even though I struggled greatly, I was illuminated. It was revealed that in this past year, within difficult relationships, by harboring animosity and judging others within my heart, I had been protecting my insecure parts, yet I was enveloped. In the place I am now, I can once again hope to live according to the Lord, to represent God’s glory, and to be a blessing to others. I am grateful for the precious prayers and support through offerings.
Hello. I praise His holy name.
I am Tomoko Nagata, living in Seattle for almost a quarter of a century.
In March 2022, I participated in Zoom C-WIT for the first time. At that time, I was caught up in work and studies, and even the foundation of life, which is devotion, tended to be postponed within myself due to “lack of time.” I prioritized tasks with deadlines and work over devotion. In February 2022, after successfully finishing school, I was relieved, but I was experiencing days when my heart didn’t turn towards devotion. It was during such a time that I participated in the first C-WIT, where we are invited to be still before God. While I thought C-WIT might be a study group about leadership for adult Christians, I joined with interest because I had been getting more involved in leadership roles at work, and I wanted to know how to exhibit leadership as a Christian and if there was insight from the Bible. However, what I had imagined was completely different. The first session involved learning about being still before God and Contemplative Prayer. Calling out to God while feeling His presence along with my breath was refreshing, and I continue to walk, especially during times of worry in my current life, while consciously breathing and receiving God’s peace.
In the spring of this year, we shared about having God in our daily routines, and in the summer, we shared about the evidence of God’s guidance in times of trials at C-WIT meetings. After the sessions, we formed small groups and when we discussed what each of us had heard from God, although our individual situations were entirely different, it became clear that God was surely responding to each one of us in unexpected ways.
From those who participated in C-WIT during these three sessions, enduring physically or mentally challenging circumstances, I received the sharing of God’s daily journey. This deeply ingrained in me that God is with each one of us at all times.
As of 2023, I am still caught up in work. Moreover, a family member in Japan has developed health concerns, so my days involve messaging and talking online while looking at screens. Though my family has not yet made a confession of faith, they have gradually begun to listen to God’s words since this situation arose. We pray together, frequently asking for protection in our daily lives. When we first prayed together, it required courage from me. Now, I can pray easily. In my daily life, Jesus is surely with me, guiding me through the Holy Spirit. Just as Yuko Ozeki shared in the second C-WIT, that God’s presence is there while doing daily routines, I also feel a calmness and a sense of God’s presence even when cleaning the toilet. I quietly desire to know more about God, and I want to engage in devotion, reading the Bible and praying, to understand how Jesus guides me. Some days, I sleep until the last moment and devotion is often pushed aside by my to-do list. In my daily life, there are times of anxiety and worry, times when my heart feels overwhelmed. Especially concerning my family in Japan, due to the distance, there’s not much I can do immediately, so I often have to entrust them to God. However, God consistently provides ways to overcome challenges in ways that surpass my expectations.
Through C-WIT, I have learned and continue to learn:
“That the holy God is with us in our daily lives, whether in quiet and calm times or in the stormiest days. To be still before God, to listen to His voice. This relationship is possible because Jesus died the cross, forgiving my sins.”
Working in healthcare fields, I witness situations where individuals who were living normally just yesterday suddenly pass away or their health drastically changes, altering their lives entirely. That’s why being able to welcome the holy God into my life’s daily miracles and blessings and spending time with Him is a reason for gratitude.
It’s been a little over a month since wit23 ended, but the challenge of embracing humility that I learned at wit still continues within me every day. When one thinks of participating in wit as a member of the staff, it might not sound like going to a place to receive blessings or learning something great, but it’s more about organizing a camp to ensure that participants have a good time. Yet, I found myself returning from that place with an overwhelming amount of grace and challenges, surprised by witnessing the humility of the one who had worked there, more than anyone else. Despite my intention to guide participants at wit as someone who had prayed and prepared for months, seeking God’s Word and learning a lot about humility, I was told that I was the one who hadn’t humbled myself the most.
God has performed many miracles at wit. The entire staff was disappointed at the lower number of participants than usual. However, once it started, there was a moment of excitement as we realized there were exactly 12 people, just like the 12 disciples. Due to the small group, we were able to enjoy the handmade meals by JCFN staffs and that mealtime turned into a blessed time of fellowship which was one of the highlights. For one participant who was delayed and couldn’t arrive on time, we all prayed and stayed up until midnight waiting for her. When we thought there weren’t enough praise leaders, participants ended up leading worship, and the time of praise was blessed. On the last day, during a session that hadn’t been fully prepared until the last moment, a testimony was shared, and grace exploded. There are more instances, but from my perspective, every “Oops!” or “What do we do now?” moment was beautifully transformed into something good by the Lord. When I let go of my ideals and images and humbled myself before the Lord, He began to work and show miracles. In the midst of rough waves, I saw Jesus calm the sea and show miracles before a disciple who was panicking.
In my session, I focused on the love of Jesus. I don’t possess an extraordinary amount of knowledge about the Bible, nor do I have the gift of speaking publicly, so I’ve been anxious since I was recruited whether I can create meaningful moments. While preparing, one of the staffs advised me to “humble yourself before the Word of God.” With a humble heart, I prayed to the Lord, asking Him to work through me, realizing that it’s impossible for me to conduct this two-hour session solely with my abilities. In reality, if someone were to evaluate how much new learning my session provided, I wouldn’t know the exact assessment. However, I was content with just one participant saying, “Thank you for sharing the love of Jesus.” I was genuinely pleased that the Lord had comforted that person through me in that moment. Thank you, Jesus!
Personally, while speaking about the love of Jesus, I realized that I have sins preventing me from receiving His love openly. As I learned to humble myself before the Lord, I recognized how far from humility I usually am and how I often live for my own glory. Holding onto the joy of confessing “Jesus Christ is Lord” like in Philippians 2:11 at wit, I want to continue changing into an instrument that loves my brothers and sisters and serves the Lord.