Tuesday, January 29, 2013
"The hippo is one of the most fierce animals in the jungle though people don't realize it because he is, well, funny, with those little wiggly ears and all. But yes, you are funny too, but nothing stops you from going where you are supposed to go!" "But the postman?" "The postman is the mailman, you see. You will be delivering letters." "Letters"? "Love letters from God. You will be telling people how much God loves them." And indeed, I have been doing that for over 20 years now, for every person is created in the image of God, each person to be treasured, valued and loved.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Family members are a source of blessing and I am thankful for all of them -- extended on all sides, backward and forward into time. For the record, you'll see pictures of my wife on this blog. In addition, here are some pictures of the children and grandchildren. As most of you who have families, wives and husbands, children and , I'm always aware that these children and grandchildren are so very precious -- because through the ordeals, trials of life and even interpersonal conflicts, they have "taught me to love."
The story of the "Blue Tent Hero" in Japan is published in the Hippopotamus Postman, Volume II, but sadly, I must report that the book is sold out.
This story has led to a touching reply from Pastor Takao Okutsu, the young man who was the pastor of the homeless ministry in Shinjuku Chuo Koen in Tokyo (photo above rt w/ wife, Maiko).
Mr. Yamamoto Has Become a Hero
Mr. Yamamoto, who got saved at Shinjuku Horizon Open-Air Chapel three years ago, has become a hero in a book. He was a homeless before, but no more now. How did he become a hero in a book? The story is this:
I saw Dr. Joe Ozawa on 25 in March after a long period of time. He used to come to help us with making rice balls in Shinjuku. He is famous as a Hippo Postman, which means he delivers "God 's love letters," which is Gospel, to people all over the world, and he looks like a "hippo." He wrote his book, The Hippo Postman and Other True Stories of Love Vol.1 before. And this time he wrote that of Vol.2. He wrote about Mr. Yamamoto in that book. The title of the story is "The Blue Tent Hero." I found it when he gave me a copy of the book, and I was very surprised to find it. And at the same time, I was very happy.
How can you think of a hero? He should be a man who is strong, help a woman, and go away soon after he gets his job done. Mr. Yamamoto is not that kind of a hero. He is not so strong, nor goes somewhere and helps a woman. He is a compassion man who can think of other poor men. He once got a job, and he told Dr. Ozawa about it. But he was not happy at all. So Dr. Ozawa asked him why he is not so happy. He said, "If I start the job and leave the park, who will help other homeless men? I want to help other poor people
It reminded me of a story about Mr. Yamamoto myself. It was after he got baptized. He was hungry for telling Gospel to other people. So he started talking to businessmen who came to the park for lunch and break. One day he met a man, about 30s. Mr. Yamamoto found out that the man was depressed very much. He began to meet him once a week and tell him about Jesus. The man disappeared one day and he didn’t get any contact with him after that. But after a long time later, Mr. Yamamoto said to me, the man called him and said, “I got baptized.” (Mr. Yamamoto would do anything to help others who had fallen down on life's pathway).
Yes, he is a hero to me, too.
Pastor Takao Okutsu, Saitama, Japan
Friday, August 25, 2006
PEACE ON EARTH?
Our world seems to be filled with fear and anxiety. The rulers of the world are tackling this by increased airport security, surveillance, armed guards, and attacks on enemies whether real or assumed. In other venues, leaders gather to loudly condemn "terrorism" or whatever appears to be the work of their enemies. Still others use every human device like bargaining, cajoling, coercion, even blackmailing or bribery, to broker some sort of peace deal. Ironically, sometimes peace is sought through the imposition and threat of overwhelming violence.
Why is there worldwide terror? In the Old Testament of the Bible (Lev. 26:16; Det. 28:67) "terror" was a curse brought upon a land. But there is also "peace" promised in the Old Testament through the coming "Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Who is that Prince?
Before he was himself attacked, beaten, and finally unjustly tortured and executed, Jesus said this to his disciples: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Jesus (and his followers) were people of peace. There is only one incident where an over zealous disciple struck out in violence, and Jesus rebuked him, "Put your sword back in its place...for all who draw the sword will die by the sword" (Matthew 26:52). This principle Jesus was referring to was "reaping what we sow" -- for violence only begets more violence.
Jesus offered us the way to peace in his "kingdom" -- loving our enemies, doing good to those who persecute us, forgiving others, and praying for our foes. He proved that sacrificial love has more force than bombs, missiles, nuclear weapons, torture, imprisonment or military conquest. Though not a Christian (but an avid reader of the teachings of Jesus), the Indian leader Ghandi seemed to understand this in his principle of non-violence. Bishop Tutu understood this as he sought an end to the cycle of violence in South Africa through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission -- in place of revenge and violent retaliation, offering forgiveness.
In this world of terror and fear, seek Jesus. He IS the Prince of Peace!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Many years ago, I saw children who were homeless or who were abused, neglected, unloved. They were kind of crazy, wild, out of control and demanding. Yet, they, and their families, taught me how to love, how to share, how to give. And much to my own surprise, I found that they had given to me more than I had given to them. They were precious, like rare gems. Today, 20 years later, there are still precious children in the neighborhood whose sparkling eyes and brilliant smiles still warm my heart.
Monday, August 21, 2006
The "hippo" in this photo is accompanied by the "songbird" his trusted companion. Together, they have lived in many nations. It seems that children are special fans of the hippo whereas adults sometimes are... well ... rather unkind. Maybe the hearts of children haven't had time to harden yet, to turn to stone, and their minds are still open. They are simple, vulnerable, and they cry (and laugh) rather easily. They see angels more quickly than grown ups. To the hippo, most children are sooooooooooooooo cute!