Faith

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

On the way to a friend’s house, a box of cakes as a gift was tilted in the car. “Oh, shoot! I might mess up the cakes.” I was immediately tempted to peek inside the box, but it was sealed by tape firmly, and even if I could see, and found them crumbling, what can I do? Nevertheless, each time the red signal stopped the car, I stared at the box worrying so much.

While waiting for the result of the brain MRI, I feel the same way. I can’t find if I have a brain metastasis or nor until I see the result, but I am tempted to Google with “headache”.
Today was Tuesday, a day of the Bible class.
At the opening, George read Proverbs 3:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
 do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
 and he will show you which path to take.”

The Word spoke to me. Instead of assuming and worrying that this is brain metastasis, trust the Lord and wait upon the Lord.

Getting feet Back on the Rock

Damn it!

Why did I receive the infusion? Why didn’t I ask to postpone it until next week giving the bone marrow time to recover?

Why didn’t I ask to reduce the dose? That would also help the recovery.

Since the platelet count has been continually plunging, it is obvious that the next lab will show the worse result. Then it will take a long time to recover.
Umm, I am always so slow!

Last night on top of a side effect of Decadron, a steroid, regretting to receive the infusion, I couldn’t sleep. I can’t undo yesterday. It was done already. Then what I can do was only to pray.

“God please give me your peace. Please fix my mistake.”

I prayed many times but what coming out were only sighs and frustrations.

The morning came. George asked how I was. I said,”It’s crappy.” Yet it was a totally new day! I had a full schedule today, and after spending the day with ESL Bible study, lunch with an old friend from Japan, a visit to the Christian dentist, and volunteering at a homeless shelter, my heart was lifted up.

In the Bible study, discussing about God’s faithfulness and grace, I was encouraged. The conversation with the old friend was so joyous. At the dentist’s, showing the completely closed gum, under which was the necrosis so I had to remove an implant in March, the dentist said, “Praise the Lord.” Serving together with the Tuesday Bible study people at the shelter was uplifting as always.

At the end of the day, I drove back home with complete peace being relieved from the bitter regret and the anxiety about the future. Surprisingly I felt like my future was even bright. Maybe this is just erratic impulsive feeling, but I am so thankful that I could get back my feet on the Rock.

Life Changing Experience

Cancer patients are not the only ones who face death. Daniel accidently overdosed on Heroin & Xanax five years ago. His heart stopped three times, and his kidney and liver were also failing. He was in coma. Yet, after 8 weeks on the life support and 9 weeks on kidney dialysis, miraculously he came back. If I think that countless people including Michel Jackson and Whitney Huston, died with the overdose of drugs, his recovery is amazing.

Looking back at the days of five years ago, Daniel was writing in his facebook:

“Instead of being upset or depressed about it dwelling on the past I am so happy, over joyed and grateful that I still have the privilege of continuing to live this thing called life, truly by the grace of God because of His unfailing mercy. Therefore since He loves me so much and gave me a second chance I am living my life strictly for Him and His will for me to the best of my ability by continuing to remain faithful to Him. Huge thank you to all of my amazing family and friends, I love you all!”

While he was wondering around at the hover between the life and the death, not only his family but also many friends talked to him, held his hands, and prayed for him. The prayers were granted. Despite of the wrong choice of drugs, God forgave him, and saved his life. Daniel has changed his life since then.

He was saved not only his body but also his soul, and became a godly man. Like a Bible story when Jesus healed 10 lepers, only one came back to thank Jesus, perhaps Daniel is one of a few people who recognized the price of the grace and responded to Jesus. It is so touching and inspiring.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy. 
–Philippians 2:13-18 “

Reading Paul’s words to Philippians, which Daniel was quoting, I imagine that is his new way of living now.

I was grouchy, depressed, and critical today, but Daniel changed my negative attitude to be a positive one. I am thankful that he was saved, and grateful for the Bible verse he shared with everyone.

Prayer

It was not even 3AM, but I was so awake that I decided to get up. Saturday morning, after I walked at a beach with George, although it was only 30 minutes, I got exhausted and slept all afternoon. Probably that was the reason. Yet, compared with last week, which was the first week of Abraxane and Herceptin, this week,
I had a good appetite, no fever, and was able to walk. I am grateful.

I opened up emails, and found an email from a virtual breast cancer community, where people share their good and bad news, or encouragements and comforts.

Among many journals, one read:
” the metastasized cancer in the liver grew and now the biggest one is 7.5cm, and 3cm ones are found about 20. Does anyone have any good advice? Please help my mom!”

How about a surgery or radiation to cut it out? I wondered, but I knew I was out of my league. While thinking that someday my cancer may grow big like her mother’s, I was rather observing the reality of cancer, which doesn’t stop, but keeps growing.

Last Tuesday I saw ” War Room” with the Bible study class. It was the great inspirational movie about how powerful prayers were.
Mrs. Clara, one of main characters, who called her closet, where she prays and talks with God, a war room, said that a prayer is not a wish list with ” amen” at the end. When we surrender to God asking what He wants us to do, and are ready to obey Him, we will receive what we were really looking for.
George says to pray for someone just like how we want to be prayed.

I can’t give any advice to that lady whose mom was agonizing with the growing cancer in the liver, but I can pray.
I can pray for people, who are suffering with the same disease as mine, that God will get rid of tears, fears, desperation, and pains, open up a door of an effective treatment, restore His hope and peace, give time as long as possible to be with the beloved ones, and most importantly may their trust in God grow stronger and stronger standing firm on the Rock.

How I Came to Love Jesus: Faith Journey Testimony #1

The Lord has been so good to me. He has been watching over me even before I got to know Him. He has been faithful and guiding me to His path according to His amazing plan with Grace and Marcy. Coming to know there is God who loves me was the very best thing that has ever happened in my life.

Beginning

I was born and grew up in Japan, where Christian population is less than 5 %. My parents would worship their ancestors and multiple gods, but because next door was a church, they sent me to the Sunday School and the preschool, which belonged to the church. I loved both schools and enjoyed listening to Jesus’ stories and singing hymns. I learned how to pray just like learning how to use chopsticks and would pray every night.

But as I grew older my mind was getting crowded with other interests, and especially when I encountered Mormons, who told me as a middle school girl, they were the true Christians, while my Sunday School teacher told me to stay away from them, for the first time I learned there are false churches, and teachings. I got scared and concluded that the religion was too dangerous to pursue. I stopped going to a church or praying for next 20 +years until I married George.

Marriage changes our lives, and my case was not an exception.
When George proposed me, he asked me one thing, “ Will you seek God with me?”

That time George was an English Adult School teacher, and I was a typical Japanese who believed whatever, people said, had a superpower including charms and fortunetellers. I was ignorant about God, but arrogantly said to him,
“ No problem. I used to go to Sunday school and I know Jesus already. Christmas is His birthday and Easter is His resurrection!”

I thought what George was asking me was like going to Starbucks every Sunday. Peace of Cake!

So George took me to Neighborhood Church. It was 21 years ago. My English was so poor that a pastor’s message was way over my head. I was so bored and reluctant to go there.

George also started an ESL Bible study at our house inviting his students. I joined the class, of cause, but I had attitude thinking like, “ Adam and Eve were the first human beings? No. A monkey is our origin. Adam lived for 930 years? Are you telling me to believe such a fairly tale? You are kidding me!”

On the other hand, I was showing our boys Japanese traditional festivals, or seasonal customs, all of which were some forms of worshipping idles or gods, and everything what I did became subjects for questions for George. “ Why do you give food to those dolls?” “What is this ornament? What does this mean?” He constantly asked questions, which was annoying, and I felt like becoming Christian is quitting Japanese. I didn’t like it at all.

Then God moved His piece.

Testimony #2: God Was Coming After Me

George, who worried about my spiritual growth, suggested looking for a Japanese church.

So I did. I found a small Japanese church congregating at current Double Tree Hotel. On the first day when I met the Japanese pastor, who learned that George used to be a pastor before he became an English teacher, he immediately told me that he wanted George to work for his church. He wanted to build a bilingual church and was looking for English speaking pastor—he explained to me.

It was crazy, but all of sudden George became a part-time pastor in the Japanese small church and I, who was not even a believer yet, became a pastor’s wife. On top of that I was asked to be George’s interpreter. That forced me to pay my full attention to what George spoke to the congregation and Bible verses he read. I didn’t have time to yarn any more.

God moved the 2nd piece.

Since I was not Christian, George and I were not equally yoked. We didn’t have a good start of the marriage. We were arguing constantly. However, each time George got upset and left for somewhere, he came back with apology.

Saying,” I am sorry,” is very difficult for me even now days, but he was able to do so, and as he said, “ I’m sorry,” my calloused heart got soften and I could say, “I’m sorry,” too. I was curious why he could become so humble.

Then one day I noticed he was praying. He would say to me, “ God is offering His hand to us. We only need to take His hand, and then He will transform us.” That’s it! George is patient and humble because he is holding God’s hand. Then me, too! I want to hold His hand, too! —It was the first time I truly desired to get close to God.

Geo holding God's hand

A birthday card I made for George in the year when I noticed he is holding God’s hand and I desired it, too.

God moved the 3rd piece. This time it was the game changer, the very powerful piece.

Testimony #3: Japanese Girl Miyuki

In the spring of 1997, one article in a Japanese local newspaper caught my attention. It said;

#2Miyuki

Miyuki

An 8-year-old girl is coming from Tokyo to UCLA Medical Center for a heart transplant. In Japan, brain death is not legal yet, therefore organ transplantations is not available.   The parents of the girl, Miyuki, who had a serious heart disease, chose to come to the US for seeking their last hope. Her picture next to the article looked like exactly my niece and I was totally drawn to her story. She was not the first one who came to the US for a heart transplant. There were more, but this was the first time I was moved, and an US radio station broadcasted her story and reported her condition daily.

“ She is in serious condition, but still waiting for a donor…” Listening to the radio, I was sobbing. Then George said, “ Maybe God is calling you. Why don’t you do something for her?”

I never thought about it, but being encouraged, I called the hospital. A lady over the phone declined me saying there were enough volunteers already. I tried, so let it go—I thought, but the radio kept saying she was getting worse bleeding excessively.

I felt some urgency and couldn’t settle. I decided to write a letter for her and her family. Yet, holding a pen, I didn’t know what to write. I thought I couldn’t say “keep fighting” or “Hang on” because she has been fighting more than enough. Then an unexpected thought came in: God is with her. Whatever happens and wherever she goes, God, who created her and loves her, is always with her. So she doesn’t have to be afraid of anything. I don’t want her to think her life was waste because she touched so many people’s hearts, including mine. I’m so thankful for her being born!

The Bible I used to not believe started empowering me, and I was depending on God who was called ” Immanuel” (God is with us).

I visited an ICU at UCLA with George hoping to meet Miyuki and her parents, but unfortunately the parents were not at the bedside. I handed the letters and an angel Teddy Bear, which was holding a red heart, to a nurse and had to leave being disappointed.

The next morning, in the car, the radio announced the stunning news: Miyuki passed away early in that morning. I wept and had to pull over the car.

“God, why did you take her away? Why didn’t you save her? Why didn’t you listen to my prayers? She was only 8 and traveled all the way from Japan to the U.S. Why? Why?” I blamed God.

A couple months passed. The event of Miyuki appeared to become a past memory, and then a surprise long letter came from Japan. It was from the parents of Miyuki. I was very excited.

” We still have tears remembering how kind everyone was. ”

As I read the sentence, a strong feeling plunged and I burst into tears again, but this time with joy. God was there in the midst of the desperation. He didn’t leave Miyuki alone, or the family. Yes! He was with them. He was faithful!

Shortly after then, the chance to meet the parents came finally. In the emotional meeting, they told me that a new Japanese patient was at UCLA again for a heart-transplant but her heart was arrested.

” Kazuyo-san (my Japanese name), would you please help her and the family?” the parents asked.

I had no intension to be involved in anything more than Miyuki, and knew nothing about organ transplants, but my journey of the organ transplant ministry began this way.

Testimony #4: International Organ Transplant Ministry

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.

baptism

Baptism

Testimony #5: The Ministry Was The Preparation For Cancer

From there everything has changed. Volunteering has always brought me close to God and words in the Bible have started breathing. Each time when a donor gave an organ and a patient was saved, I felt like I was watching a rerun of the cross. A donor who gave life by shedding blood and tears overlapped with Jesus who had died on the cross in order to give us the eternal life. Jesus is my donor! I thought, and He has become precious more and more.

As I came to love Jesus like George did, arguments between us ceased. As our relationship became better, the relationship between our sons and us became better, also.

The organ transplant ministry lasted for 13 years until 2009 when the hospital renewed the facilities and the medical cost almost raised double. The patients started going to the east coast looking for a cheaper hospital and stopped coming to UCLA. The organ transplant ministry ended.

Then a half year later, in May 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
God knew what was coming to me, so He closed the organ transplant ministry. That’s how I feel.

The diagnoses turned my life upside down and I was dismayed. I thought my days might be numbered. Then how should I live? –I pondered. If I die and meet the Lord in Heaven soon, I should know Him better. So I decided to retire from the school district to study the Bible, to give time to the church, and to support other cancer patients.

This was a right decision. I’ve been able to develop friendships and fellowships with so many different people. As I’m surrounded by the loving people, it is like being held by God’s hand.

When I was in organ transplant ministry, I thought I was helping and supporting others. Yes. God called me, who was nobody with a little “talents”, so that it was clear that the all the good works were done because of Him. Yet, I also realized that God gave me the ministry as a preparation or the training ground for my new challenge, the breast cancer.

I had seen how much the patients longed for the donors, how much sacrifice the donors and their families paid, how precious it was to be able to just breath the air without depending on machines. I had learned everything is Grace, Gifts, and we are not entitled for anything. There is God who is called, Immanuel, who promised never to forsake us no matter what happens, and the death is not the final word!

Everything I experienced and learned in the organ transplant ministry has helped me.

Testimony #6: Everything Is In His Hand

At the beginning of my cancer journey, I was too afraid of saying, “Thy will be done,” at the end of a prayer because I thought I would not handle if His will is different from mine and go down the hill. Then someone told me to ask God for the strength. I believe God is almighty and never make mistakes. Then if He doesn’t take away cancer from me, if He says His Grace is sufficient for me, I need the strength and courage to accept it. So I started praying so, and He has answered me giving them every day until this day.

A half year before my diagnosis, I changed the health insurance from PPO to Kaiser without knowing what was coming, but because of this decision, my co-pay of the expensive treatments is zero most of the time.

When my cancer spread to the lungs, it was a Japanese cancer friend that gave me the name of the chemo, Taxol, which brought me into two year remission, not the doctors I consulted paying money. I didn’t look for her but she reached out to me through my cancer blog.

A 2nd opinion doctor implied once that I might not survive more than three years, but I am still here.

For our 20th wedding anniversary, George and I could go to the holy land, Israel, in the midst of the treatment.

When George was laid off, we were given unexpected generous financial supports and the place to continue his ministry.

There are more miracles and Graces God provided for George and me. Actually if I look all the way back in my life, I see numerous His interventions.

My father was in Hiroshima, when the atomic bomb was dropped. His troop was outside for a morning assembly and they were all killed, but my father was late. He was still tying his shoes inside a building, and survived. One year later he was diagnosed with leukemia and hospitalized more than a year. He survived again, but was told he might not be able to have any children. Yet I was born in a good health.

Growing up next to the church, learning about Jesus, coming to the US, married George, and involved in the organ transplant ministry—all of them were not coincidences but God’s ingenious plan for my salvation.

My cancer has been progressing since the beginning of this year and my options for the treatments are getting less and less. If I look at the stormy water, I will sink just like Peter who was walking on the water, but God has told me many times, “ Do not be afraid! Be courageous! You are precious to me. I am with you!” He has been with me even before I was born, and He will walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death until I get to the other side, where I will receive a new body, which never gets sick or die.

I don’t know how long I can live, or what will happen to my future, but my prayer is that I am able to have a good fight giving glory to God every day, and every moment, so that at the end I can say, “ I have finished my race and have kept my faith,” just like Paul. Because I have the loving heavenly Father and He is good all the time!

Go Ahead

As I went to a chemo ward, a nurse hanged a sign of “ My Last Chemo” at the chair in front of me. Being decorated with pretty pink ribbons, it was a way of the celebration from the nurses to someone who is lucky to end chemo treatment.

I knew I should rejoice for the person,but all of sudden as I saw the sign, I felt like I was ambushed; the sad feeling that I would never have such a day, attacked me and was barely able to see the sign,

Who will sit on this special seat? I wondered. Then a young African American lady in her 30s or 40s sat on the chair.

I prayed and as I finished the infusion earlier than her, I walked up to her and said, “Congratulations! God is Good all the time!”

I remembered a little Japanese girl who received a new heart from a little one who was almost the same age in the same ICU. A Japanese TV crew came and interviewed a social worker, “ How come someone, who was praying hard for saving their little one’s life, can give the heart to someone else in the same ICU?”

I also remember a scene of “ One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”: The main character, Jack Nicolson, was so excited to be discharged from a psychiatric institution, but noticing the sadness of his friends, who would never get out from there but said to him, “congratulations,” he decided to have a wild party with them bringing prostitutes and alcohol the night before his discharge. Yet he also drank too much and missed finishing the party before the supervisor found out. As a result, he lost the chance of the discharge.

In a Japanese story, “Spider’s Thread” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Shaka gave mercy on a man, Kandata, who was in hell, dropping the thread of a spider from Paradise to save him. Kandata grabbed the thread and started climbing, but soon after he noticed that many other guys were also grabbing the same thin tread and climbing below him. Being afraid that the thread would be broken, he yelled at them, “ NO! This is mine!” Then the thread was indeed broken and he fell down back to hell.

Everyone wants to be free from afflictions, and if the gate to escape is narrow, we would be desperate just like Kandata.

Yet, I see love in the organ donor family and the movie of Jack Nicolson.
In one glance, the love in both looks foolish, which chose to give a life forgetting oneself, and chose to stay among the victims.

As I shared the thoughts, George called it “Immanuel.”

Instead of performing instant miracles, Jesus chose to come among us who are suffering. He chose to be crucified on behalf of us. If the gate is narrow, Immanuel chooses to be the last to get out.

If we ended up to be in hell like Kandata, there is no point. However, Jesus defeated the death. For the ones who believe in Him, eternal lives are promised. If so, if there is something we look forward waiting, it enables us to say to another, “Go ahead,” at the narrow gate.
God is still molding me.

“The Three Little Pigs”

“The Three Little Pigs” is a well known children’s story: The first pig made his house with straws, the 2nd pig made his house with wood sticks, and the 3rd pig made his house with bricks. First two pigs finished building their houses so quickly that they laughed at the 3rd one saying he was so slow. Yet once a wolf came, the straw and stick houses were destroyed instantly, and the two pigs had to run to the 3rd pig house, which was never destroyed by the wolf.

When I read the story as a child, I thought, “On no! My house is made by woods. I want a brick house, but where can I find the brick house in Japan?”

As a grown up, I found the following scripture in the Bible:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” –Matthew 7:24-27

I now think “The Three Little Pigs” was made based on this scripture.

We don’t like a hard long work, but rather, dream a quick easy way to have a happy life. Perhaps that is one reason why we are attracted by fortune tellers, charms, spells, or healers. Yet God is not a miracle vending machine. Even if a miracle happens to solve a problem, problems keep happening unless the world changes.
In the famous speech of President Kennedy, ”The Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You”, he encouraged us to ask what we can do for our country saying, “Here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” Some people ask why there are wars and starvations if there is God, but it’s a wrong question. Like President Kennedy said, God gave us the task to solve the problems.

God cares about us, but His plan is much bigger than our imagination. He wants us to love each other and the loving relationship with Him. In order to get that goal, we have to build “our house” on the Rock even if we are mocked, or suffer. Once we built the house on the Rock, or be bonded with God, we can bear anything no matter what kind of sufferings we face, even if it’s so painful or fearful because that’s what He promised us.

Dusting for God’s Fingerprints

It has been almost six months since George decided to publish his book. The book we were waiting for as if waiting for a new baby, finally appeared on Amazon. On the same day, receiving a package of the copies of his book, I was elated and congratulated him.

He is creative, knows humor, and is an excellent story teller. For many years people, who have listened to his sermons, have told him to make them as a book. It took time, but finally he made it.

The title is Dusting for God’s Fingerprints.

The Bible tells the relationship between men, who were born in Israel in different times of the human history, and God, but even now He is seeking the relationship with each of us intervening in our lives. If we can find such a God’s “fingerprints” in our lives, it is a great encouragement and inspiration no matter what we face. Retelling twelve stories in the Bible he picked an unconventional style with his wit and humor, he helps us to find God’s fingerprints in our lives.

As he shares the fingerprints he found in his own life, there are familiar names of our family and friends, and numerous ministries he has or we have done together.
I am so thankful that he finally collected his many years of fruits and stored them in the book. Now I anticipate that the book will be well accepted and appreciated by many!
Dusting for God's Fingerprints

If You Are Betrayed

When a breast cancer friend was dying, her gray haired husband, who has shared good and bad times together for more than 50 years, was faithfully serving her and right next to her until the very end.
Although cancer battle is so ferocious, if you have a loving partner, the death was not the defeat— I thought so.
Yet, I learned that the reality was not always so nice.

Sometimes an astronomical cost of the treatment overwhelms the household economy and a patient is blamed by the spouse for that.

Sometimes because of the change of the figure like loosing hair and breast, or loss of the intimacy at night either due to cancer progression or side-effects of chemo, the spouse may run for different women.

Cancer can destroy not only the body, but also the finance and marriage. How despairing it is to die being betrayed by the one you believed, on top of loosing everything! I have total sympathy for such women and get angry at their unfaithful husbands, but if I think myself in their shoes, they appear as the victims of cancer, also. Overall, we are all weak pathetic human beings.

When the life turn to an unexpected direction, and realize that you lost the control completely, you may want to run away to alcohols, drugs, gambling, or sex outside of the marriage instead of facing the trials.
If that happened to me, could I still express gratitude to the husband instead of becoming resentful?
Could I be willing to understand or accept his burden?
Could I take the beat which almost shattered the soul and forgive him?

Without the help from The Lord, I don’t think I can with my own strength.
On the cross, Jesus, who was betrayed, humiliated, and beaten, asked, ” Father, please forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Even if the partner is totally jerk hopelessly and we had to die all alone, I hope we can still find peace in Jesus begging Him for Grace and Lve.

Strength Was Restored

Even though a fact is the same, depending on the perspective, things look differently. If I think I have only a half-cup of water, I get worried and down, but if I think I have still a half-cup of water, I can stay calm.

Though the fact that the cancer has been growing since the beginning of this year hasn’t changed, it is so strange that the world looks brighter after I heard the encouragement from the oncologist.

If someone says, “ I’m already 51,”I, who am 61, can say to her, “Still 51? You are so young!”

If someone says, “ I don’t know how many days I have left,” I can say, “ you have still today.”

The person has been giving himself for organ transplant patients for several decades and he is determined to keep giving until his last day.

Feeling the strength God restored in me and knowing that He wants me to be his instrument, I also determined to share the encouragements and the promise Jesus taught us with him until the end.

“ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return.”–Second Timothy4:7-8

God Never Gives Up On Us

“The Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has cause me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?”

Naomi, who lived around 1000 B.C. lost her husband and two sons one after another in a foreign land, returned to her home country, Judah, being defeated with her foreign daughter-in-law Ruth, who insisted to be with her for the rest of her life.

Women had to depend on men 100% to live life during those days. Naomi was too old to be remarried, and even though she had Ruth, as a foreign woman, what Ruth could do was only to pick up the left over grains after others harvested, and sell them in order to make a little money.

When life makes a turn to an unexpected direction, or afflictions happens one after another, we become hopeless like Naomi. Her resentment towards God is very understandable.

However, the story of Ruth in the Old Testament starts from there.

Ruth, who worked hard for Naomi all day, everyday, drew attention from Boaz, a wealthy relative of Naomi, and eventually she married him. Naomi was blessed again as a mother-in-law being provided for financially, having her family name carried on, and becoming an ancestor of King David and even Jesus, who was born about one thousand years later.

When we feel like our lives are pitch dark, we become so devastated that we are easily tempted to choose something distractive, harmful or even fatal. We become blind with the blessings God provided us. Yet God is watching us continually.

The story of Ruth first spoke to me that even if I feel like life is over, or there is no more hope, I have to stay in the faith because He will never give up on us. Then secondly my focus moved to the romance between Ruth and Boaz…(will continue in the next post.)

A Robber Was Caught

Yesterday, a Torrance detective informed us that the police caught one of four, who broke into our house last Tuesday.
The detective said the guy still had the safe box.
George and I haven’t picked up the passports, which were recovered by the Long Beach detective since we haven’t been able to contacted him, but The reason why he called us at 1am two days ago, was maybe he found the robber and needed a verification that the passports were ours, so that he could move to arrest the guy.
As the robber still had a safe box, it is hopeful to recover all the things he stole from us. The other three are under surveillance, too, according to the Torrance detective.
It was just a week from the robbery. I was so impressed with the ability of Torrance and Long Beach police, and deeply thankful for them!
Now we can sleep peacefully.
GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!

No More Afinitor

“No More Afinitor.”
With the doctor’s words, I doubted my ear.
“Since you started it, you have had so many troubles. If you have to hold chemo each time, the negative effect is bigger. And it is only 50% ( of the full dosage.)”

She is right. This regimen has been pretty harsh and I was down 1-2 days every week. Actually I was going to ask her if it was OK to hold off Afinitor until I come back from Hawaii. Yet giving it up was not in my mind. While usually a chemo drug works for 3-6 months, this regimen with Afinitor works for 2 years according to the study. My expectation was high even though I was taking only 50%.

“What should I do next if I stop Afinitor?”

The doctor said we should discuss about it after we see the result of next CT, which was postponed to the end of May. She said if my symptoms are not improved, I should have a CT to see what’s going on in the lungs, but right now, as pneumonia has affected on even lymph nodes, it won’t help to see cancer status.

“Pneumonia blew up everything.” She sounded like she was also frustrated with it. Yet I should think the Pneumonia is also included in a package of cancer.

The good news was that when I asked if I could go to Hawaii in two weeks, she said, ” Yes. Why not?”! I was going to give up the trip if she said, “No” and ready to hear the word. Since she approved the trip, unless I have another episode, we, as a family, will go to Hawaii!

As I shared with George about the discussion with the doctor, as well as the concern of the progression and the next option, he said again, ” One step at a time. We prayed to give the wisdom to the doctor so she can make good decisions. If there is no more options, then your job on the earth is accomplished and t’s time for you to go Home. The Home must be much better than Hawaii.”

Right. I agreed with everything he said.

The hardships are increasing on my plate, but right now my goals are to get better, to clear the next infusion, and to have a fun safe family trip to Hawaii, and these are also my prayers. God is the Light to guide me and protect me in this darkness and I need to focus on it instead of being distracted by the concerns and fears.

Waiting Patiently

The thermometer read 99.3 F. At the night of the chemo infusion, I was running a little fever. This happens sometimes after chemo. That’s why I moved the infusion from Tuesday, the day before the Hawaii trip, to Friday so I have a enough time to recover.

Yet Saturday, the symptoms were still the same.
“Should we give up the trip?”
The question came out from my mouth several times, and then George answered, “One day at a time. Let’s see how you feel tomorrow.”
I gave myself a shot, which boosted up the white cell count, took Tylenol, some supplements, and read the Psalms:
” Oh, hear me as I pray;
pay attention to my groaning.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
for I pray no one but you.
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Every morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly….” (Psalm 5)

I gave the prayer just like the psalm and fell asleep.

This morning, finally the fever went down and I feel better!
George started packing. Sue, the owner of the house in Maui, gave us the car key. The kids wrote on a Mother’s Day card, “See you in Hawaii!”
“Rest one more day and we have a good chance to make the trip,” said George.
Yes. I am almost there!
Trusting in the Lord, I wait upon His answer patiently.

Prayer

“O Lord, How long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don”t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don”t let them rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.”–Psalm 13

As I went to the church, everybody prayed for me.
being surrounded by many smiles, and by sharing about the Maui trip, my sunk heart was lifted up and the joy was restored.
I did my homework researching possible next regimens to discuss with the oncologist tomorrow. May God lead the doctor and me to the right next step opening the door for the miracle!