From Despair to Hope, Part 1&2

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by admin No Comments

I was only 4 years old when my mother died; I was too young to understand death, but I knew something was wrong. My childhood was unhappy. No matter how hard I tried, I could not please my father. He paid little attention to me. When I was 9 years old, I left home and stayed with friends and relatives until I was placed in a series of foster homes.

I lived in a boys home for three years when I was a teenager. While there I met a really tall boy who was a good basketball player. We started talking, and when I told him my name, he looked surprised. Then he told me that we were cousins.

“Your mother and my father were brother and sister,” he assured me. I could hardly believe it. I had never known my mother’s family, and I did not know I had aunts, uncles, and cousins on her side.

My cousin took me to his house to meet my family. The house filled with more and more relatives who wanted to take a look at me. As we talked, I learned that my mother had died of complications from the beatings my father had showered on her.

I was released from the boys home and went to live with my uncle. I sometimes went to my father’s house to see my younger brother and sister. Once as I approached the house, I saw my father pick up my little brother and throw him against the wall. When I ran up and tried to stop him, he picked up a two-by-four board and hit me with it.

My anger against my father festered and grew. He was well liked and respected on the island of Guam. Nobody outside our family knew what he was like at home.

I refused to rely on anyone. I paid my way through high school and worked to buy my own clothes. When I graduated, I joined the Air National Guard to get away from the island. Two years later I transferred to the Marines. I worked my way up through the ranks to sergeant.

I married, and my wife and I had three children. My work kept me away from home a lot, and it was difficult keeping a marriage together with my temper and my absences. Eventually we divorced. I felt hurt and empty inside; once more I had no family and felt completely alone.
Unfulfilled

Though I had a successful career in the Marines, I still felt unfulfilled. Nothing mattered to me anymore, and I decided that life was not worth living. I took my rifle and ammunition down to the beach to end my life.

I waded out to a rock in the water and sat down with my gun. I thought about my failed life. I had been sitting there for a while when a police officer approached. He saw that I was contemplating suicide, and waded into the water toward me. I raised the rifle and warned him to stay back.

The police officer backed away. Soon my colonel from the Marine base arrived and ordered me to put the gun down. I refused. Then my father arrived. When I saw him walking toward me, I put the gun into my mouth and pulled the trigger. There was an explosion, and I fell backward off the rock.

The people standing around rushed in and pulled me out of the water. I was alive. They examined the gun and found that the bullet had jammed halfway through the barrel.

When my dad saw what had happened, he walked away.

After this I received a discharge from the Marines. Now I really had nothing. I had no job, no family, and I hated my father. My life was a big fat zero.

From Despair to Hope, Part 2

One day I tried to commit suicide again. In the hospital emergency room I met Dr. Nozaki. The nurses told the doctor that I was suicidal. “There is no hope for this guy,” they said. “One of these days he will succeed in killing himself.”

“Don’t say that,” I heard Dr. Nozaki say. “We are going to save his life.”

Dr. Nozaki operated on my wounds, and I awoke in a hospital room. I looked around and saw a Bible lying on the stand. I put it out of sight and tried to go back to sleep. When I awoke again, I saw another Bible on the stand. I put that one away too. By the time I left the hospital a week later, I had stashed away six Bibles in the bedside stand. As I was leaving, Dr. Nozaki urged me to read them, but I told him I wasn’t interested.

“Just read the book of John,” he said. Finally, I agreed to read just John, I don’t know why, but I took all six Bibles home. And I read John. I had to admit it was interesting.
Care and Trust

Dr. Nozaki did not forget me when I left the hospital. He called me every day, visited me, and made sure I had food and clothes. I wondered why someone would take so much interest in me when even my own family did not care about me.

I realized that Dr. Nozaki really cared, and in time I learned to trust him too. I started attending Bible studies with him, and my life started to turn around. He invited me to his church, and I learned that Jesus really does love me. It took awhile, but I surrendered my life to Him. One day I went back to the rock where I had tried to kill myself and thanked God for saving my life. I continued to study, was baptized, and became a Seventh-day Adventist.
Peace

I still felt lonely, but now I knew that I was not truly alone—God was with me. For the first time in my life I felt peace.

I started spending more time with my daughters, and when Dr. Nozaki urged me to reconcile with their mother, I agreed to give it a try. When she saw the changes in my life, she said she would give it another chance, and we remarried in Dr. Nozaki’s home. I was so happy that I had been given another chance with my family.

But things were not always perfect, and my walk with God was far from smooth. I needed work, and I struggled with temptation to play softball on Sabbath. In fact, for a while I stopped attending church to play. Then I realized that God was more important to me than softball. God worked it all out for me, though, and I was asked to coach the new softball team of the Adventist clinic.

My life was coming together. But one piece was still missing. I had never reconciled with my father. Dr. Nozaki urged me to speak to him before it was too late. It was tough, but I made peace with him before he died. At his funeral I was able to share how my faith in God had saved my relationship with my earthly father. I know that if God can save me, He can save anyone.

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