September 26th, 2010


It was 13 years ago when I began organ transplant volunteering.  A picture of Miyuki, an 8 year-old girl coming from Japan to L.A. for a heart transplant in a local Japanese paper was so much like my niece that it drew my entire attention. She passed away without finding a suitable organ, but my letters written to her and her family led me to volunteering.  Looking back at those 13 years, though it looked like I was helping people,  I realize it was me who was saved.

When I started volunteering, I didn’t know God.  Or I should say I was a typical Japanese who bought everything such as charms, fortune telling, worshipping at shrines and temples – whatever people said worked.  And if it worked, we believe it usually.  Yet, what I saw through volunteering was a little different.

Families waiting for organ transplants but who lost their loved ones were crying with appreciation saying “ We’ll never forget your kindness.”

Families who lost their loved ones all of a sudden, at the most vulnerable moment, donated their loved ones’ organs without telling their names and knowing whom were the recipients.

I witnessed God who was called Immanuel-God is with us.  I saw the cross Jesus died on so we could receive eternal lives.   From then I fell in love with Jesus and decided to follow him.

“ Your path is tough, but you are now coming close into God’s big arms,” I used to say to patients and their families I met.

Since I found my breast cancer, this has become my own story.  The path battling with cancer is not easy, but I’ve been in God’s big arms. God, whose name is Immanuel, wraps his arms around me who am weak. If I hadn’t begun volunteering, if I hadn’t known Miyuki, I might not have met God.  I was the one who was saved through volunteering and Miyuki was my guide who escorted me to God.