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By the grace of God, I am still able to correspond with Sister D in a Women’s Prison in Japan. As her home is in Auckland, New Zealand where I come from, we have much in common, as well as being Sisters in Christ, both awaiting the coming of our Lord, and sharing news of the world, and prophecies of His 2nd coming. Although we now live on opposite sides of the world to each other, we can still comfort and encourage each other. Both our countries are on the “Ring of Fire”, with Japan having an increasing number of earthquakes, and also for us in New Zealand, as predicted when Christ would return to the earth. I am able to send her newspaper cuttings and postcards from our country, and also in other parts of the world, and keep her up to speed on world affairs and the nearness of Christ’s return. We can both see these days as being just prior to His return, and we can comfort one another with these things.

She has been imprisoned since the Tsunami in 2011. In those days, the whole of the country was suffering from the aftershocks of the earthquakes which followed, when she gave birth to a baby boy, who now lives with her family in New Zealand. He has now started Primary School, and says what he likes most of all is playing with the other children, and eating his lunch! Sister D

is now able to speak to her family on the telephone, and so she is able to speak to her little boy. What a joy for her! She is able to enjoy these pleasures being rewarded for good behaviour. She has not been given a date for her release from prison.

Sister D works in a Sweat Shop where she has had numerous promotions, which is quite a rarity as she does not yet have full command of the Japanese language. Although she has suffered ups and downs in prison life, she seems to have matured and developed by all that she has been through. I am her ‘Okason’, which means in Japanese her Spiritual Mother, and I am accepted as that person by the staff.

She recently has had a bad bout of toothache, when the dentist drilled holes in her tooth to let the poison out, but the pain was so extensive, that she had to have the large double back troublesome tooth pulled out. She has asked that I thank everyone who prayed for her, in her awful pain. Lately, she says “I am in excellent spirits, now that the pain has gone. I have been doing even more reading and studying the Gospel on good helpful stuff to do with spiritual growth. The Scriptures have so much to say and teach on our thoughts, minds, feelings and emotions, and it is interesting and exciting to be able to learn and understand it all on a deeper, clearer, more personal level.” She says the best part of all is how loved and close she feels to God – the amazing thing is, she says, “I have never been happier or felt better in my life, than the way I am now. Do you think that is strange? I am reassured by all of Paul’s words, that he wrote from prison while awaiting death, and feel comforted by his indepth teachings. Living life with God just changes everything” she says. “Being in prison, yet feeling this way.”

The wonderful thing about Sister D is that she is always able to speak to other prisoners about her faith and trying to tell them about the wonderful news of the coming of Jesus. There is so much to look forward to and not so much to look back upon.

Further in her letter she says “It must be a most beautiful day outside today with the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky – I feel so blessed to be able to see a patch of sky from my window - what joy it brings. The weather is already starting to warm up and the days lightening and lengthening once more – best of all the birds are coming back. I woke this morning to the loveliest sound of a little sparrow singing away perched on the bars outside my window – what a joy! I am thinking of your little canary bird singing in your home while you are having your Church services on Sunday mornings.”

She has been learning how to do Japanese floral arranging – Origami, and she enjoys doing that. I notice in her letter that she is trying so hard to live a Christlike life in prison. She quotes from the virtuous woman in Proverbs and tells me of a friend who cannot forgive another. She can hear the pain in her voice on the telephone, so she has gently explained that it always easier to follow the ways of the Master and forgive until 70 times 7, as Jesus has shown her a better way. She was asked to repeat this, so she did, and then her friend went silent. She has obviously grasped these principles of living in Christ, and she truely tries to put them into practice in her life, in one of the most difficult places on earth.

In conclusion in her last letter, she says she is glad that she is safe, and that she is allowed to be a Christadelphian in the country she is in, with her own beliefs. She has been reading the Gospel News and feels for the other Brothers and Sisters she reads about, and what they go through, bearing up under a heavy load. She says it makes her thank God for all her blessings, and being able to embrace her faith. She sends all her Brothers and Sisters her love.

She finishes her letter with the words of Isaiah 35:10 “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, everlasting joy shall be upon their heads – they shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing will flee away”. Even so ........ come Lord Jesus.

Sis Helen Pyper (Auckland, New Zealand)

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