I am Kotaro Sugimoto. This is the story of how I became a Christian.
My first contact with Christians was 6 years ago. I was living alone at the time. I really felt lonely because it was the first time I lived alone. One day, while I was working at a hotel in Japan, one of the cleaning staff invited me to go to her church. Eventually I was baptized, even though I really didn’t know God and hardly even believed in him. I stopped going to church soon after; I had my own problems and doubts about the church’s pastor and people.
After this I moved back to my hometown, Tokyo. I developed a passion to learn English and work overseas. I found a free English conversation class near my house and joined it. I was surprised to find that almost everyone was a Christian. This was God caring about me, I believed.
I came to NZ to learn English, but I couldn’t find a church that suited me. When I was back in Japan for my sister’s wedding, I met a lot of old friends and had a chance to go to church. They looked for a church near to my home in NZ, and after coming back to NZ I went to the church that they recommended, Lifepoint.
The members were like a family—I quickly felt at home. One day John Dennison, from my church, suggested I come to NewsWatch, an English conversation class that he directs. (It’s a joint ministry of the Anglican Chaplaincy, TSCF and ISM.) There I met Max.
Max met with me for Bible study every week starting last October. I couldn’t understand a lot of the English words. However, when I did understand the meaning of some difficult words, I felt very accomplished and thankful to God. Prayer and sometimes reading the Bible became part of my daily routine and I felt my faith growing stronger.
When I lived in Japan, I had never heard that Jesus Christ is the bridge to the Father. It concerned me that I never had the privilege to cross the bridge to God. I wanted peace and calmness in my heart. I wanted to be a calm person. At this time, my work was very busy and one colleague was away for a month. I kept asking God, “Please help me, I don’t want to be angry. I don’t want to be complaining even though no one is here to help.”
After that, I really felt calm. I really felt something change in my heart. I realised even more that God was real and that he cared for me. And this gave me confidence to believe in Jesus.
This is the reason why I decided to cross the bridge. It is very simple but it was very important to me. I really appreciated God. I felt the Holy Spirit coming into my heart after I prayed. I believe Jesus Christ has died for our sin.
Recently, I started crying during worship. Before this, I didn’t understand why, when I went to church in Japan, one of my friends cried during the worship. Now I know how my friends were close to God!
When I do bad things I ask for his forgiveness. I pray for guidance. When I do small things wrong at work, I ask God if I should apologize. He shows me what to do.
When I look back at my past, I realise how God had helped me. In Japan I had a passion to learn English and work overseas. God had answered my prayers and guided me.
Praise the Lord!!!! I am so grateful you found Jesus! I just want to encourage you again, KEEP FOCUSSING ON JESUS THE AUTHOR AND THE DEVELOPER OF OUR FAITH. PROBLEMS WILL COME, DIFFICULTIES WILL COME BUT REMEMBER THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS WITH US, OUR TEACHER AND OUR COMFORTER.
Praise God for caring for us! May His words be the light of your road