The following testimony was given by Mrs. Michiko Fujiwara of Surrey, BC, Canada, in the fall of 2014.

Michiko Fujiwara (1948-2017)

My family became Christian from my grandfather's generation. In 1965, when I was seventeen years old, I attended a Makuya meeting and discovered that Christ lives even now.

In Makuya I was embraced by everyone's warm love and led a contented life. I believed my faith was unshakable. At some point, however, for no apparent reason, darkness overtook the depths of my heart, and I began to suffer.

When I married, the inner pain became even more acute. It was as if the strength that had been holding me up had been stolen from under my feet. In the mornings as I awoke, I felt as if my heart were being forced to stumble in complete darkness. Each morning I feared and suffered from the thought that God had abandoned me. I would cry out, "Do I have to go on living today?"

A Calling to My Inner Soul

A few months before the birth of my second child, my husband suddenly told me he wanted to emigrate to Canada. At that time, all the joints in my body were in pain because of my worsening rheumatism. I could only imagine the day-to-day difficulties that awaited me and hoped he would give up. However, I had a change of heart after hearing a voice within me: "You are meant to go to Canada." So I emigrated with my family.

Three years after relocating, my husband said, "I want to change my citizenship." I was not emotionally prepared for that, so I replied, "My Japanese citizenship is important to me; I can't change it now."

Every day my husband took his anger out on me: "Why won't you live, putting your heart in stride with mine?"

Overwhelmed with frustration that my wishes were always ignored and crushed, I reluctantly agreed to change my citizenship, but I felt as though I were throwing away my life. I began to doubt God's love, wondering why He would not respond to me. With my heart in a deadlock, I decided I would no longer pray.

But then, as if a gap had opened in my heart, a strong power forced me to sit up and pray against my will. A voice reverberated in me: "You are still deep in scarlet sin. You say 'Christ' with your lips but you leave Christ hanging on the cross!"

It was a bolt from the blue.

I did not consider myself to be especially pure, but neither did I think I was deeply sinful. Yet those words had not been directed toward my husband or toward my troubles or any outward circumstance or anyone else. They were a calling to my inner soul.

I thought I had not done anything wrong since coming in touch with the original gospel faith, but was I living in a manner that was grieving Christ and deceiving myself?

Wondering if anyone in the Bible had fallen as deeply into sin as I had, I found myself sitting and crying, trembling in the terrible fear of spiritual sin.

Scottish author Thomas Carlyle wrote in his novel Sartor Resartus* (Latin: "The Tailor Re-tailored"), "The loss of his religious Belief was the loss of everything." That is completely true. My body suffered physically from rheumatism, but my soul's pain was incomparably greater.

Illumined by God's Light

Two things became clear to me as I cried out to God: One, "I may be deep in sin, but in heaven and on earth only Christ can save me from this scarlet sin!" Two, "Let me return before You!"

I realized that I was able to see my sin because God's light had illumined me, but my heart was in the depths of despair. I knew Christ's redemptive blood could cleanse any sin, and I wanted to draw nearer to the cross, but how? All of man's five senses are useless in the spiritual world. In the pitch-black void of the universe, I did not know in which direction to move forward. In the depths of terrible loneliness and the severe pain in my soul, I gave a heart-rending cry: "God, if to be born a human is to fall into sin, nevertheless are we humans still valuable?"

How many times had I read the passage from Isaiah 1:18: "Come now, and let us reason together. … Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow."

Saying "No!" to a Negative Heart

My husband ran a tour company and I worked in the office, so in reality we were extremely busy. Between myself and reality, there was an unseen wrap-like film that tightly bound my soul in numerous layers, and for a long time I could feel no emotions.

Around that time an article was featured in Light of Life about Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus. The article was a gift to me from God. Reading it was as if oxygen were being supplied to my suffocating soul, giving me the strength to look up and move forward a little more. Reading about the spiritual agonies of both Carlyle and the commentator, I could empathize. "Oh, I am not alone in this agony."

Carlyle wrote,

… he can do without Happiness, and instead thereof find Blessedness!… love God. This is the EVERLASTING YEA, wherein all contradiction is solved: wherein whoso walks and works, it is well with him.**

Inspired by the above passage, the article's author, Hiroo Teshima, wrote this:

The Gospel preached by Jesus is not about the so-called earthly happiness. It is to have blessedness or the joy of being loved by God. … Even if we have contradictions or adversity in this world, it is a matter of whether we can surpass and discover an inherently different happiness.

When I realized that the insatiable thirst within me was related to this passage, I kept the article nearby, always with me, and began to constantly seek that "blessedness." And just like Carlyle, I gradually started to protest my self-negating heart by saying, "No!"

The Soul Is God's Domain

Regardless of the conflict in my soul, something wonderful happened to my children. At a Makuya meeting the Holy Spirit was vividly poured upon my eldest son; then the atmosphere in our home completely changed. His joy was transmitted to his siblings, one after another.

Thus my heart was grieved,
And I was vexed in my mind.
I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
(Psalm 73:21-23)

Through this psalm I recognized that I was living in darkness, but Christ, with His holy hand oozing blood, held onto my right hand. I realized that I had been inside God's great compassion all that time.

Through each of these experiences it was as if the film wrap that bound me was being peeled away. Somewhere along the way I was able to gain perspective that the anguish of my soul was within God's domain, so all I had to do was entrust everything to Him.

While my children were students, our family's tour business was miraculously blessed, for which I am very grateful.

The important thing is that my soul truly rejoices. I suffered for a long time, but the human being's essence is the soul, and the soul belongs to God. When I began to understand this truth, I learned that what is good and bad in this world is of little consequence by comparison.

Now my children and youth, who have similarly grown up in Makuya in North America, have experienced conversions and are making efforts to grow spiritually in the faith of the original gospel. In Makuya, many of our forerunners lived to convey the soul's joy of being loved by God in terms of blessedness rather than happiness. I hope to convey this to the young people and support them in their faith journeys.

*Thomas Carlyle; Sartor Resartus (1833-1834); Chapter VII. "The Everlasting No.
**Ibid." The Everlasting Yea."