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November 14, 2016

It’s been over a year now since I arrived in Japan.
No university had taught me how to start a new life from zero. It was a challenging decision to go to a new place, where I am no-one, you know no one and you know no word except for “arigatou” (thank you!). Leaving my loved ones was tough, moreover, the feeling of uncertainty with my future in a foreign land.
I arrived in Spring of 2015.Incidentally, I learned the word “wakaranai “(means I don’t understand) simply because it`s my response to people who speak to me in Japanese. It was very hard speaking with anyone, more so, when buying food for the first time. I could not read any label so I end up with a growling stomach. I got lost too when a Jamaican acquaintance (Assistant Language Teacher) offered me a ride and just dropped me in the middle of nowhere.
Many changes came along into my life including the unexpected feelings of frustration, helplessness, and disappointment due to the adjustments. I was like a child who was starting to learn new things and enjoying new experiences, totally different from my previous way of life.
Part of my coping was to do something that interests me: photography, walking at Lake Shinji and the best of all praying.One day, I walked around the lake, took some pictures of the spots that struck me especially the sunset which always reminds me of God.
While sitting on a bench, the word of God resonated through a song (From the Album “I Am Ever with You composed by Fr. Arnel Aquino, S.J.) which later on I made into a video. The snippet of the song goes like this …

Do not let your hearts be troubled
Do not stay afraid
It is really I whom you see
I offer you all my peace
I have waited for this moment
To be with you again
In my heart you’ll remain
In your heart I’ll stay
I am with you, till the end of your days
I am with you, have faith
That I hold you Even when you let go
And I love you, You must know
I am here. I am ever with you.
I’m beyond all anguish or death
I’m risen to life anew
When you feel that you’ve been emptied
And can give no more
Know that I am your breath and I fill your soul.

God had spoken to me in many ways –sunset, lake, people, trees, songs, pictures and even in my difficult situations. Prayer became my best tool to surpass all the struggles. The Lord heartened me in every word from the song and every image I`ve taken, compelling me to keep my FAITH… He is with me… He is holding me… He loves me and He is the breath that can fill my soul. I just simply need to trust and believe in His loving presence. These words gave me the courage to go on with my life and to accept every challenge that comes my way until now. And this is what faith is.
I realized that the Lord has invited me to go deeper in my faith through my struggles and new experiences. My decision of going to Japan pave the way not just to understand my faith but to live it. For living in faith is not only knowing that God exists. In my life, Faith means embracing a commitment He entrusted to me and living beyond good and secure feelings. It is a continuous decision to be faithful in my “YES” to love and to serve Him through my teaching at ShotokuGakuin, Japan.
Now, I feel the love of God through the kindness of my students, co-teachers, superiors, friends and the Hijas de Jesus sisters who support and teach me in the best way they can. I consider myself blessed to have met such great people since I arrived here, people I learned from and shared experiences with – memorable times.

There are still a lot of dark days – but like what Saint Candida said, “Alone I can do nothing but with God, I can do everything”. It is only with God that we can do everything that seems to be impossible. God is our only light when skies are dark, and the anchor in the rough seas. Just remember these…
…When you are in pain just PUSH
…When you are jobless just PUSH
…When you don`t have money just PUSH
…When your grades are failing just PUSH
…When you are facing hard situations just PUSH
…When you are unhappy with your relationship just PUSH

Remember – to PUSH…PUSH…PUSH means…
Pray Until Something Happens.

By Carmela Rey
Faculty Member, Shotoku High School
Matsue City, Shimane-ken