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