Soon I learned that the patients were coming one after another constantly. They didn’t have any family members or friends here and didn’t speak English.
One day I called UCLA asking for an interpreter for the family, and then several days later, the hospital called me and asked me to come to a meeting with the family. I didn’t understand what that meant first, but once I noticed that the hospital wanted me to be an interpreter, I immediately thought, “ No way,” and was going to call to decline the interpretation, but George stood between the phone and me and said, “ Who were you married to? How long have you been married? I know your English is not perfect, but the family just arrived here and doesn’t know any English. They are Japanese, your people. Go and help them!”
It was like jumping off from a cliff. I had no confidence. Being nervous, holding a dictionary, and praying all the way, I went to UCLA. The first interpretation was only a few minutes, but from then UCLA started calling me for a medical interpretation over and over several times a week. I was a part-time bilingual instructional assistant, an interpreter, at South High that time, but it was more than I could handle. Telling me, “Don’t worry,” George went to the Adult school to recruit his students. Nobody was responded first. Then He summoned again.
“ Why are you studying English? Because you want to play golf in PV, or you want to make your career? You are taking but how about giving?”
When he came home, he showed me a list of volunteers. We formed a new volunteer group. We neither had a name nor founds. We didn’t advertise, but the volunteers were always provided by mouth to mouth.
We would find an accommodation, furniture, all house goods, drive them to the hospital or grocery stores, interpret outside and inside the hospital, and just be alongside them even at 2 or 3am. By doing so, I saw their agonies, fears, excitement of receiving an organ or devastation of losing their beloved ones.
No matter how much technology has improved, we are always vulnerable in front of death. Like a thirsty person seeking water, I sought help in the Bible. Gradually, even for a question such as to why she or he died, I noticed nobody had a guaranty to live tomorrow. Our world is not the Garden of Eden. It’s distorted. If we have today, it’s all God’s Grace. I started thinking that even if it’s a short life, had she or he touched people’s hearts and been loved by many, it would be much more fruitful than a selfish 70 or 80 years of life – in God’s eyes.
Soon after starting volunteering, as though a ripe berry dropped on the ground, I had no more hesitation and accepted Jesus as my savior, the Lord. He won my heart. I was baptized by George 12/27/98.