Japanese Prayer Wall

Japanese Prayer Wall

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Another Inspiring Japanese Christian

Here's another chapel speech that I wrote about an inspiring Japanese Christian...

Today’s Bible reading is from 1st Peter 4:10.  “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

Have you ever heard of Chiune Sugihara?  He was an amazing man who changed the lives of thousands of people.  He was born in Japan in 1900 and worked for the Japanese Foreign Ministry.  He started working for the Japanese government in foreign countries because he was good at learning languages.  He became a Christian in the 1920s.  Then, he moved to Lithuania in 1939.

Chiune Sugihara
World War II changed Mr. Sugihara’s life, and the lives of many others, in big ways.  The Nazis wanted to kill Jewish people, so many Jews tried to escape to other countries.  They needed visas to enter countries, so they came to Mr. Sugihara for help.  It was dangerous, and he could lose his job for helping the Jews, but he was moved by their tears and tired faces.  Some days he worked 18 to 20 hours writing visas.  Mr. Sugihara wrote travel visas for more than 6,000 Jewish refugees.  Today, around 40,000 descendants of the Jewish refugees are alive because of his actions.

40 years later, one pastor said that Mr. Sugihara had become his role model.  Mr. Sugihara’s family said that Sugihara helped the Jews because of his Christian faith.  Then the pastor felt inspired to help people too.  The pastor went on to say, “Here’s a man who did not take the comfortable road, who reached out beyond himself and did something sacrificial in providing service to others at the expense of himself.”

Your life is different from Mr. Sugihara’s, but you can make a difference in the world too.  Every time you help one person, it inspires them to help someone else.  Then, the person they helped wants to continue helping others.  It’s like when you drop a stone into water.  One action causes a ripple that causes another and another and another.  So, what can you do today to start ripples of helpfulness and kindness?
Let us pray.  Heavenly Father,
           Thank you for amazing people like Mr. Sugihara.  Open our eyes, and show us how we can help others.  Help us share your love and hope with others.  In your name we pray, amen.

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