More Precious Than Money
When Ruth learned that the seventh-day Sabbath was God’s holy day, she immediately quit working on Sabbath.
Originally from Ecuador, Ruth moved to Japan with her Japanese-Ecuadorian husband in 2004. Before moving, however, she visited a Seventh-day Adventist church and found that “the people were kind and the pastor treated people equally.” She received a DVD titled The Great Controversy featuring presentations on Revelation by Pastor Luis Gonçalves. But she it aside and soon forgot about it. Sometime later Ruth and her husband moved to Japan where they found work in manufacturing.
Although she was doing well at work, Ruth felt something missing in her life. One day she noticed a newspaper ad for a Seventh-day Adventist church. Remembering her friendly encounter with Adventists in Ecuador, Ruth called the local pastor, who invited her to visit.
At church, Ruth was delighted to meet Diana, who was Brazilian. Diana offered Bible studies to Ruth, who readily accepted. When the two met again, Diana brought a gift—a DVD titled The Great Controversy! Convinced this was more than coincidence, Ruth watched the DVD, and as she studied the Bible with Diana, she was convinced that she had found the truth.
When Ruth learned that the seventh-day Sabbath was God’s holy day, she immediately quit working on Sabbath. “Are you crazy?” her co-workers asked. “You get paid a higher rate on Saturdays. Why don’t you earn the money and give it to your church?”
“There is something more precious than money,” Ruth replied. “Such as going to church each Sabbath and learning new things, such as the Ten Commandments and how God Himself wrote them. That’s important.”
Soon Ruth was ready to make a full commitment and was baptized. When her co-workers realized that Ruth was serious about her new-found faith, they turned against her. “You’ve changed,” some told her. “I can’t work with you,” said another. Nevertheless, her supervisor still valued Ruth and allowed her to take every Saturday off.
“Many things have changed in my life,” Ruth explains. “The way I think, my habits, my relationships with people—everything. Before being baptized, I had a hard heart, but now I’m more sensitive—rich in emotion and empathy.”
Ruth is one of the many South American immigrants in Japan. Helio is another who came in search of a better life. He shares his story here:
My father, a Japanese immigrant to Brazil, was Buddhist. My mother, who was of Japanese descent, was raised a Roman Catholic. When I was 14, my father died of tuberculosis. He longed to be healed, and perhaps that was why he didn’t reject having Christianity in the house. He prayed every day.
He had a small watchmaking business, and after his death I had to take over. It was difficult to accept his death and suddenly become the breadwinner. I started reading the Bible and found a passage that stayed with me: John 14:6—“I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Life was difficult, and at age 26 I went to Japan. But things only got worse! I had terrible back pain and spent much money trying to find relief, but nothing helped. Then my three-year marriage fell apart.
A New Direction
My life had lost direction until an Adventist—Silvio—began working at the factory where I worked. What caught my attention was Silvio’s composure and good humor in all circumstances, although he suffered from severe pain from an accident. I knew about pain, so I really admired Silvio’s attitude.
I was a member of a Japanese spiritualist sect, called “Mahikari.” We believed in a “god of the universe,” and a “god of the earth.” Every time I bowed down to these gods, I remembered John 14:6, and wondered where Jesus Christ was.
Some months later, Silvio invited me to his church. We became good friends, and he told me how Jesus could change my life. It was because of Silvio’s testimony that I wanted to know more about Adventists. I began attending church regularly, and took Bible studies with the pastor. Soon, I was baptized.
That was 10 years ago. Today I’m a literature evangelist. I also lead out in a newly formed Adventist church in the city of Yaizu. I’m married to a Japanese Adventist nurse, and we have a two-year-old child. I praise the Lord for how He has guided and transformed my life.
Many thousands of South Americans of Japanese descent are living and working in Japan. One of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering projects is to help build an international evangelistic center in Japan.