We have heard many great stories from Crossover Japanese Church of Calgary over the past year. Pastor Yoichi Taniguchi brought his wife Miyuki and their two daughters Agasa and Mana to Calgary several years ago from Japan to plant Crossover. Here is the history of how God brought this family from a small Asian island to the Canadian Prairies.
The Path of Christian Living in Our Family
By Miyuki Taniguchi
My family came from Japan several years ago to plant a Japanese Church in Calgary. But that wasn’t always our plan. Here’s the story of how God worked in our hearts and lives to bring us to Canada.
It began with the book The Prayer of Jabez. My husband Yoichi and I started following the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10: “Bless me and enlarge my territory.” However, unexpectedly, things moved towards not blessings but rather hardship for our family.
First, our daughter Mana lost hearing in her right ear at the age of six. Ever since then, she has experienced constant earaches and headaches, and is slowly losing hearing in her left ear as well.
We pray to the Lord to stop her pain and recover her hearing ability. We trust that the Lord will not give Mana only hardship, but He has a lifelong good plan for her. She has been learning how to have faith in Him and get closer to Him by dealing with her troubles and pains.
Then, our elder daughter Agasa stopped going to school because of bullies. She went through a lot of difficult times. I did all that I could do to stop the bullying, but nothing worked. Then, one of my friends who lived in America invited Agasa to live with her family. I didn’t want to send her since she was still thirteen, but Agasa made a decision to go there by herself. When sending my daughter to San Francisco, I was saying to myself, “I am not worthy to be a mother, for without giving her a proper care, I have to send my brokenhearted daughter abroad.”
When my heart was full of sadness, the Lord spoke to me, “Even if you have to live far from your daughter, there is still something you can do. It is prayer. That is what I value the most in raising up children.”
Then the passage came to my mind. It was from Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.”
That was more than a comfort to me. That passage strengthened me. In retrospect, I can confidently say now that it was a path the Lord has set for Agasa, because in her new circumstance she found healing and became who she used to be before. I gave my sincere thanksgiving to the Lord and my friend who took very good care of Agasa. Several months later, a miracle happened. The girls who bullied Agasa gave their apologies. Agasa knew it was God who did this for her. She came to know God personally through this hardship and was baptized.
My husband Yoichi was also going through a hard time. He told me that he would quit his job. I just could not understand why my husband who was working for mentally handicapped people for more than ten years was suddenly having difficulty in continuing his job.
I had a strong belief that caring for handicapped people is a job God gave him. My plan of our family life was to continue working until retirement, finish our duty for our children’s education and after that, we would dedicate our life to the Lord. That was what I wanted.
But I came to know that God’s way was different from my way. Yoichi quit his job and decided to be a full-time minister for the Lord. I came to know that the Lord wanted me to give up what I have grabbed. It was the stability of our family. I was also working as a schoolteacher in Japan. I decided to quit my job when he became a pastor, so I could help Yoichi minister in church. God took away worldly things so I would learn to depend on Him.
When we had to decide if we should go to Canada to reach Japanese people there, we went to a fasting place run by a Korean minister in Portland, Oregon. He asked us why we came and we answered that we came to seek God’s will if we should go to Calgary to work at a Japanese church. Then he told us that there was a lady who came several months ago from Calgary to ask God to give them a Japanese pastor.
Why!? What on earth does this mean to us? We felt it so strange that she came all the way to Oregon to seek a pastor for Calgary. Why did we come to the same place for the same reason? Was it God’s guidance? After a week of fasting and prayer, Yoichi was full of peace about going to Calgary. But our pastor told us that we should not go unless we have a clear calling from God. I sought His will and got the Bible verse from the Lord. It was the words that God gave Gideon in Judges 6:14:
Go in the strength you have…Am I not sending you?
I didn’t share this with Yoichi. A week later, I simply asked him if he got the words from God besides his peaceful mind. Surprisingly, he said, “Judges 6:14.” At that time we had an assurance that going to Calgary was His will.
This passage is very short, but has power. It has sustained us when we were discouraged about our ministry. We know we don’t have many abilities to do His work. God knows it. But it is God who chose us and said to us “go with your strength for I am with you. I am the one who does the ministry.” The Lord is saying to us, “not by might, not by power, but by my spirit.”
The works of the Lord are not done by our strength or by our abilities. All we need to do is to dedicate ourselves to Him and give Him our broken heart and mind. We just need to depend on Him.
By looking back to the things that happened to our family, I now can say that the things seemed like a hardship were not actually a curse. Those things have happened just because our Lord has faithfully answered our prayer of Jabez. The Lord has been working on my family and enlarging our spiritual territory for the Lord.