Akira Jindo
Kumamoto, Japan

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Just about the time when the 22nd Makuya pilgrimage to the Holy Land arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel, my spiritual mentor, our beloved Reverend James Takeji Manabe departed for his journey to heavenly Zion. Enveloped in the divine peace, as if sleeping, he completed his 92 years life on earth. The witnesses said that to the very moment of his death he was praying with both hands lifted up toward heaven, looking up to the face of his always adored Lord Jesus Christ.

We were prepared for this death. Only ten days previously I had promised him, "Dear Rev. Manabe, I will come to your funeral wherever I am, even from the other side of the earth." But alas, I was in the midst of an important tour, "The Pilgrimage Seminar of Reading the Bible in the Holy Land," specially designed for Makuya leaders and sent out from Japan with fervent prayers; I could not abandon my position as its conductor. My mind firmly set, I travelled across the Holy Land, extending my thoughts to his spirit in heaven and cherishing our fond memories of the past. In the Makuya Forest on Mt. Turan we planted cedar trees in his memory. Blown in the fierce wind, the cold slanting rain poured upon us in torrents. His familiar voice, "Oh, thank You, I thank You!" echoed strongly in the mountains of Galilee.