Yuya Miyashita （宮下 侑也）
I accepted Jesus and got baptized in the summer of 2021. Since then, I have been walking in his grace and forgiveness.
In 2019, I returned to Japan from Canada after studying and working there for about eight years. The return was unexpected, so I was baffled. I wanted to learn what to do in Japan and how to earn income. In retrospect, I had always been in confusion since I was in high school. People expected me to be “normal”; in the Japanese culture, it means that you study, gain good grades, go to good schools, and have a well-paid job until retirement with minor failures. However, my studies, friendships, and career choices often had tough times. People tried to encourage me, but it just took away my confidence. I thought I was defective in being happy like other “normal” people. I tried to find an answer in philosophical principles or religions, but they didn’t help stop my soul from wandering. I had already heard about the gospel in Canada, but they could not convince me to follow Jesus because I could not understand it, and I relied more on Buddhism’s ideas.
A few months passed after I came back from Canada. I was still looking for a job and living in the fog of ambiguity. However, God had a plan for me. I met my pastor, Butch Booth, at a Starbucks in my area. Pastor Booth listened to me and took enough time to have dialogues (I cannot even count how many times we met at cafes!). He slowly opened my heart with deep empathy, kindness, and compassion.
He said his goodness came from Jesus residing in him. He shared the gospel in various ways and patiently waited while I processed it.
After joining his worship many times, I noticed changes in my heart.
First, I started seeing my life from a bigger perspective. Life is not a scoreboard counting the number of successes and failures. In contrast, God gives our life unique purposes and gifts. This change in mindset allows me to focus more on what I have already given than what I am missing.
Second, I recognized Jesus’s love and mercy as deep and profound. Whenever I had questions about the Bible, pastor Butch meticulously explained principles by using easy examples and stories. The more I studied the scriptures, the more I recognized that salvation is our most invaluable treasure. What’s more, I now feel Jesus is always with me whenever I walk on sunny or stormy days.
In Japan, so many people need real salvation. Countless people are thirsty and hungry for God and his words. I can stand here in Jesus’s love, thanks to other brothers and sisters in Christ. Since I was saved, I have been eager to spread Jesus’s love in Japan. Now, I know he has a purpose for me. I pray to let myself obey his plan. In his righteousness, we live. Amen.