Zack and Ellie's Spiritual Heritage

the death of a father, leaving his 3 children behind. The mother was considering taking her own life as well as the lives of the children. But God had other plans. A friend invited her to church, and this mother made a decision to follow Christ.

And yes, you guessed it. My mom gained 3 siblings and a step-mom when the 2 families were joined in marriage.

Now enters the story of what happened in Karuizawa. The year was around 1952, and my mom was in her second year of high-school. Her father, not allowing the circumstances of his life to become bitter against Jesus, continued to serve Him wholeheartedly. Since he spoke English, he worked with TEAM missionaries in Karuizawa--he was there when they needed translation regarding housing, repairs, sharing the gospel, and translating anything and everything for the missionaries who were there for the Japanese.

In 1956, on my mother's 21st birthday on February 16th, my grandfather was on his bicycle near the Karuizawa train station, on his way to serve someone, humbly and unselfishly as he always did. He was riding to the next station over when a milk delivery truck hit him. As he lay on the ground with severe injuries, the delivery man ran over to see if he was okay. My grandfather said to the driver, "There are people who are waiting for you to deliver the milk. Why don't you hurry and go to them." He was actually concerned for other people as he lay dying on the street. And when he was taken to the hospital, a missionary who came to his side heard his last words: "Osaki ni tengoku ni yukimasu." (I'll be going to heaven first.) He was also heard saying, "Praise the Lord", shortly before entering into eternity to praise the Lord in person!!

This story touched my heart deeply this time, because now we are in Japan as a family, on the same soil where my grandfather served the same Lord, many years before. And to be on the bike every day, often to see friends who don't yet know our Savior--and to think that my own grandfather was doing the same thing every day, is an honor for me personally. And to share about this amazing man to my own children, Zack and Ellie, and for them to know that they are indeed the 4th generation of missionaries in this family! I hope they, too, will realize someday how rare that is in Japan, and what a special spiritual heritage they have been given.

As I got off the train in Karuizawa last week, I thought of him. I looked around, wondering where it all happened. And I found myself feeling extremely proud of my grandfather, so I thought you should know about him, too.