I hated riding the bus. Every time I rode the bus in my hometown in China, I became sick to my stomach. I’d bite my lips hard and lean on my mother, but the nausea wouldn’t go away. “Mama, I feel so sick,” I’d tell her.
“Hold on,” Mama said. “We’re just two stops from home.”
“Excuse me,” a strange woman bent over to speak to my mother. “I notice that your son isn’t feeling well. May I pray for him?”
Mother looked at the woman and then at me. “Yes, you can pray for him,” Mother said.
No one had ever prayed for me before. I didn’t even know what prayer was about. The woman’s voice was kind and soothing. She leaned closer to Mother and me, closed her eyes, and started talking to someone we couldn’t see. “Father, You love this little boy, and it makes You sad to see him suffer. Please help him to feel better soon. Thank You, God.”
I was watching the woman as she talked, but I couldn’t see anyone she was talking to. Her prayer didn’t frighten me, but it puzzled me. Mother and the woman spoke for a few minutes. Suddenly I realized that my stomach no longer was upset.
“Mama, my tummy is better,” I whispered shyly.
Mother looked at me and then at the woman. “Thank you,” she said.
“You’re most welcome,” the woman said, smiling warmly. “Would you and your son like to visit the church I attend this Saturday? You can learn a little more about the God who loves you and wants to be your friend.”
Mother looked at me. Color had flowed back into my pale cheeks, and she knew I was feeling better. “Yes,” she said. “I’d like that.”
On Saturday morning Mother and I walked to the simple church several blocks from our home. Our new friend greeted us and sat with us during the church service. I was shy, but I enjoyed hearing the people singing with such joy.
Mother attended church every week, but I had school most Saturdays and couldn’t go. As I grew into my teens, I was more interested in spending time with my friends than worshipping in church.
I completed my secondary education and applied for permission to study business in Japan. I passed the Japanese language test, but still I struggled with studying in Japanese.
I missed China and my friends and family—everything that was familiar. In my loneliness I remembered attending church with my mother. I remembered the peace and warmth I felt among the church members. I looked on the Internet for an Adventist church in Tokyo.
I found an Adventist church near the university. To my surprise, it was a Chinese church! I telephoned the church and spoke with the pastor. “I’m so glad you called,” he said. “Please visit us this Saturday. We are a small group, and you are most welcome!”
I found the church and was welcomed warmly on Sabbath morning. We studied the Bible and sang songs that I remembered from my childhood. Soon I was friends with everyone there.
I studied the Bible and the Sabbath School lessons, and I asked the pastor to prepare me for baptism. I was the first new member of the Chinese church in Tokyo!
I must tell others, I thought. But what can I do? I was drawn to study theology. When I told my mother about my desire, she was thrilled. But I knew that my father, who wasn’t a Christian, would be angry about my decision. So I didn’t tell him.
I have finished my business degree and am studying theology now. My focus has changed from doing business to doing God’s business. I’m sharing my faith with others and want to reach as many Chinese students as possible. I understand their loneliness while living in a foreign culture, and I have the answer—Jesus.
I want you to know that you had a part in bringing me to Jesus. The little Chinese Adventist church plant received part of your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago. We’ve grown from just a handful of lonely Chinese searching for a Savior to two congregations that meet in separate locations in Tokyo. Thank you! Your mission offerings do make a difference–a big difference!