Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Asia (02/26/09)
TITLE: The Ito's Amazing Adventure
By Mildred Sheldon
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Nick and Annie grew up in Japan only returning to the United States to visit their grandparents during summer vacation. They loved Japan and had many Japanese friends. The Montgomery family lived next door to Doctor Hiroo and his wife Keiko as well as their two children Akira and Etsu.
The two boys were the same age as was Annie and Etsu. The four became best friends and spent many happy hours enjoying each other’s company. Nick and Annie expressed a deep desire to learn about Buddhism. They wanted to understand where there best friends were coming from when they talked about Buddhism being a way of life.
When the Ito’s went to the Buddhist Temple, the four children would attend. Nick and Annie tried to understand the Buddhist teachings as Akira and Etsu told them about the eight steps to enlightenment and that there are four noble truths. Buddhism is the process of exploring, understanding, testing and realizing the four noble truths, which are 1.The truth of suffering 2.The truth of the cause of suffering 3.The truth of the end of suffering 4.The truth of the path that frees us from suffering. You did not just believe in the teachings but explored them, understood them and tested them against one’s own experiences.
Nick and Annie were so excited when Akira and Etsu expressed a desire to learn about Christianity. They told them how Jesus the son of God came to earth as a man living among Gods children teaching and guiding them. They explained about Jesus’ great love for his fellowman and all that Jesus did while he was upon the earth. They read the Bible and tried there best to explain the reason Jesus came to earth. Akira and Etsu eagerly listened and enrolled in classes to learn more about Gods Holy Word and Jesus.
The four children grew into young adults. They were planning to attend the same college. Akira and Etsu went to Nick and Annie’s church more then they went to the Temple. Slowly Akira and Etsu started to accept Christianity and they both felt a desire to invite Jesus into their hearts. They loved their parents deeply and held them in high esteem so it was very difficult for Akira and Etsu to tell their parents they wanted to be baptized.
They decided to talk to the Pastor and seek his advice as to how they could approach their parents without causing any dissension or separation within their family. Pastor Suzuki had been born in the United States but he was Japanese nonetheless. Nick, Annie, Akira and Etsu all prayed together and the pastor told Akira and Etsu he would talk to their parents for them.
The Pastor visited Hiroo and Keiko to talk about Akira and Etsu’s desire to be baptized into the Christian faith. The Ito’s were not surprised when Pastor Suzuki told them of their children’s desire. The Montgomery’s had made their home in Japan and after years of watching the way the Montgomery’s lived their lives and how they treated their fellowman the Ito’s wanted to know more about Christianity.
Time passed quickly and the whole family accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Ito’s knew that Christianity was being taught more and more in Japan and accepting Christianity was not as traumatic as it once was. The Ito’s were still a little fearful of what their parents would say but they were willing to take the leap of faith because their friends, the Montgomery’s, not only believed in God but also lived their faith in Christ.
Shortly thereafter, the Ito family was baptized; they wanted to celebrate with their friends. The celebration after the baptism was truly memorable. Akira, Etsu, Nick and Annie were grinning from ear to ear and it was hard for them to contain their joy.
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