The Light of Eternal Agape 東京アンテオケ教会

The Light of Eternal Agape 東京アンテオケ教会 header image 2

The husband who was doing nothing but gambling and having a debt of 8 million yen has been changed!!

To those who are burdened with debt

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Those who are burdened with debt

I married my husband.  Then I began going to church and believed Jesus as my Savior and was saved. I used to meet my friends after work to drink together, but I had felt empty and bored.  In such days as those, I got acquainted with my husband-to-be as one of the drinking friends.

Encounter with my Husband, and Salvation

I married my husband.  Then I began going to church and believed Jesus as my Savior and was saved. I used to meet my friends after work to drink together, but. I had felt empty and bored.  In such days as those, I got acquainted with my husband-to-be as one of the drinking friends and married him after three years.

My husband was raised in a Christian home and all his family members went to church.  However, when I met him, he had been playing around, finding pleasure in things of the world, and hadn’t gone to church like a prodigal son. Our marriage caused him to return to God.

All of our family memebers went to church for Sunday worship service together with my grandmother, my father-in-law, my mother-in-law, my brother, my sister and his husband.  After service we spent time together.  Since I had been raised in a female-parent home, our time together as a family brought me a pleasure of having an ideal, happy family.  However, this happiness didn’t last even more than half a year.

A Debt of Eight Million Yen

Marriage life brings us good time and bad time.  So husband and wife should support each other to have better relationship.  However, we regretted having married.  It was our time of trial, not supporting nor helping each other.  I even thought why I married him, and that this marriage was a fraud.

My husband had a huge debt before the marriage.  The debt piled up to 8 million yen by playing Pachinko, mahjong, slots, all sorts of gambling.  Even though he worked until late at night, the salary he gave to me was surprisingly small.  I asked him why, but he skillfully evaded my question.  I was at a loss, wondering how I could sustain our life after I paid a rent of 50,000 yen.

Actually, he spent almost all the salary to pay off the debt, and couldn’t give me enough for the home.  He somehow paid off some of the loans, but some fell overdue and everything came to light.

Prayer from the depths

I was in shock and couldn’t hold anger.  I didn’t know how to vent my negative feelings.  I was expecting a first son at that time, and I was so worried about a coming baby that I cried every day.

I blamed on him and asked him how we were going to do, but he was upset and backed into a corner, and told me that he didn’t know what to do either, and not expect from him.

Our marital relationship became worse.  We spent terrible days.  I kept praying, asking God to help us and to guide us.  In the worship services week by week, the pastor spoke in her message as if she knew what was in my heart, and said that we would be OK because God was with us.

I told myself to persuade myself that God would help me and that I could be helped.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13

Though we had many repayments, they were put together in one repayment, and somehow we managed to sustain life, paying off.  Food was provided from both of our parents; we worked hard together so we could pay off all the debts.

Into the Debt Again!

When our eldest son was in the second year of the kindergarten, we almost finished with paying off the debt, and began to be liberated from mental pressure. Then, again, my husband began a bad habit of playing around, and made a debt.  I was the end of my rope, and I hated the sight of him.

I kicked him out to his parents’ house, telling him that I wanted to think about things myself.  I was filled with an unending anger and a feeling of betrayal.  My parents were divorced when I was in the kindergarten and my sister was just born; my mother had to work and took my sister in charge of my aunt, and I had to wait alone for my mother to come back until late at night.  I didn’t want my son to feel lonely the same way as I had done. However, I couldn’t bear being with my husband. I was worried, asking God what to do repeatedly.

Led by the Lord to the town called Muikamachi

I somehow had a strong desire to go to a sister of my husband’s cousin’s who was a pastor, and wanted her to listen to me and to be advised on what to do.  I contacted her and she accepted my request willingly, so I headed to Muikamachi-town in Niigata-prefecture where she was.  It was the Lord who gave me such a strong desire to visit her. The scenery from the window of the train on the way gave me a peace of mind.

I vividly remember the sorrow, anger, and other negative feelings that I had had fading away.  I stayed at the pastor’s home for three days.  She took really good care of me by taking me to a hot spring, etc.  She told me to take good rest, not asking me anything.

My heart was gradually healed.  On the night before I returned to my home in Yokkkaichi, I told her about the problem I had had with my husband, and asked her what to do with it, and to ask God about it for me.  She said to me, “Atsushi (my husband) is a vessel of God, for sure.  So don’t worry about him!  Let’s leave everything about him to God and just pray for him together, “and we prayed together.

Inner Healing and Baptism of the Holy Spirit

When I was with the pastor, what the Lord was intending to do was not only to have her pray for the problem with my husband, but to have my heart healed and filled with the Holy Spirit.  The pastor laid her hand on me, and I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I was filled with joy I’d never experienced before.  God gave me what was most necessary for me, being filled with the Holy Spirit.

I repented that I had continuously blamed my husband, looked down on him, and judged him.  I gave thanks God from the bottom of my heart that I married him and gave me the best husband.

The Word of Promise from God

The Pastor told me to pray, to read the Bible every day to receive the word from God.  She also told that the word of God would be surely fulfilled.  So I prayed to God and received His word for the first time.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! “  II Corinthians 5:17

This word made me think that if my husband was a Christian, he would be OK! I believed that everything would become new and that everything already became new.  I apologized to my husband about having kicked him off.  He had been giving up, and thought that he couldn’t help getting divorced this time.  So he was so glad that he was again with his family. He and I were able to forgive each other.  After a while, we were given a baby girl, which caused him to change completely.

Also, my mother, my sister, and her children were saved, and we all together went to Yokkaichi Zion Church.   I had a blessing that I never expected that I could have, that is, the fellowship among the family.  We went to an evangelical church before Yokkaichi Church.  It took time to get ready with two children and we often ended up getting there late.  We were embarrassed to go inside the church in the middle of a service, and hoped that the church would be nearer to our house, since it was about 30 minutes’ drive away.  Then we found the church which was five minutes’ away, called The Lord’s Cross Christian Center, Yokkaichi Church.  Naturally we started to go to that church often.  I enjoyed the cheerful atmosphere with my husband’s cousin and many children in the church, and had a good time to have a fellowship with sisters in the Lord.  Once there was an occasion to greet one another by shaking hands.  A sister in the Lord reached out to me, calling me by name, and gave me a warm welcome. I somehow had tears streaming down, but tried to hide them since I was embarrassed.  I felt there was something special and different about this church.

The Israeli Mission Team which Changed our Walk

Our church sends a mission team to Israel every November.  We were asked if we were interested in going on that mission trip, and we applied for it as a step of faith.  My husband prayed so we could actually go, but I thought that it would be an outrageous thing to do, having an eleven-year-old daughter and the second-grade son.  Besides, we were still in process of paying off the debt, and we were not in such a living condition to travel as a family.  I thought how in the world we could afford such a trip.  However, God answered the strong desire of my husband’s and the money was provided for his trip first.  As the deadline for the trip application was close, the money was also provided for my children and myself.  We all were able to go on a mission trip to Israel in 1999.

Though I was anxious about taking my eleven-month daughter with me on the trip, I was protected and helped by some mission staff and other couples who had a child of the same age as mine and through the intercessory prayers of the church.

It was also a big blessing, to have had my son receive a baptism in the Jordan River in Israel.  We were able to know and learn about many things as we joined in this team, and this trip marked a major transition to change a course of our family’s walk..

The Vision of the Overseas mission

Immediately after we returned from Israel, we changed the membership to Yokkaichi church. Soon my husband was enrolled in a seminary, and I took a class on overseas missions.  We began to prepare ourselves to go on a mission trip together.  I had a two-hour class including prayer time, and found it hard to take that class bringing a small child with me.  However, learning in the classes helped me a great deal grow in my Christian walk and learn the importance of prayer.  God answered each small step of our faith, and sent my husband to Ghana, the U.S.A., Canada, Patmos, Greece, Turkey, Brazil and countless countries.

We were given a calling and a vision for the overseas mission.  We will go to all the five continents for that vision!  We’d really like to go anywhere God would send us to, even to the North and South Poles, and to the ends of the earth.

Grace Given through a Tithe of Faith

A thought dawned on my heart, telling me:“Give an offering of faith.  You offer to me one tenth of the amount of money you want. Test to see if I will bless you or not.” So I began an offering of faith.  We needed 500,000 yen per month to pay off the debt, and I gave 50,000 yen for a monthly tithe, another 50,000 yen for the mission, and 500 yen per each service.  My faith was tested several times, but each time God supported me in various ways, and I kept on giving offerings, and our financial needs were met.

Leave It Up to Me

A problem arose in the church about four years ago, which kept my husband from going to church.  He had had the chronic disease of hernia and it got so worse that he couldn’t move.

He was damaged mentally and physically, and he stopped going to church.  I didn’t know what to do, because I was hesitant to go with my children alone.  When I prayed to God about it, He said to me, “Leave everything up to me.  You just do things you should do.” At that time, my mother just began to go to Sunday worship service, and I needed to pick up a physically disabled friend of mine in a wheel chair in a hospital, to bring her to church.  In this way we all went to church together.  So it was clear that I should just fulfill what I was expected to do from them, not giving them trouble.

God will work out everything to be good for us.  Thanks to my mother and that friend, I was able to continue to go to church, and was protected through prayers prayed in the church for me.  My husband was also able to return to church soon through the intercessory prayer of the church.  When he returned the church, he said that he realized his own weakness, which helped him to depend on God and to experience His grace and to be given many words from Him.

The Lord is in Need of You.

My husband was given an additional vision of going out to the whole world in a praising band, and was told by the Lord that he would be a pastor as he was going for overseas missions.  On April 26, 2008, he was ordained as a pastor of Yokkaich Zion Church.

“The Lord needs you.” “my power is made perfect in weakness.”

I give thanks with all my heart to God who has made everything new about my husband.

Written by Reiko Yamashita in Yokkaichi

Reprinted from the issue of Aug. 2008 of the monthly magazine “A Rainbow in the Clouds”

You are giving up.  You can’t even see a glimmer of hope like a little bit of sunbeam streaming through leaves.

However, the Bible says about the hope that won’t end in disappointments, the hope anybody can receive.

A miracle will happen to you just as the writer above has experienced.

God is Love.