Voice of Participants

Here are some voices of participants who have taken part in the programs in the past.

Asian Young Women's Leadership Development Seminars

Participation in AYWLD 2020 in Singapore

I was given the opportunity to give my testimony at the last Closing Worship. After receiving the invitation the night before, I spent a lot of time questioning myself about the sheer volume of learning I had received from this training and the energy that was burning within me in response. When I reflected on where this energy was coming from and why I was so excited, the first thing that came to my mind was the 35 participants I had spent time with. I realized that the 35 women I met at this training continue to fuel my energy. And most importantly, I thought that it was God who first lit that engine. When it comes time to talk about myself, it’s in my nature to overflow with feelings and tear up easily. Knowing this, everyone listened to my testimony. I felt most proud to have met these women. We also had a time of communion in this service. Praising and praying had always been part of the program, but to have the communion of sharing the Lord’s grace together was a great encouragement to me. Although we are all from Asia, each of us is from a different place, with a different background, participating in this program. I was so touched to meet so many Christian women and share the love and grace of the cross of Jesus with them.

Participation in AYWLD 2020 in Singapore

It was very meaningful for me to be given a week to think about the same position of women as me from a Christian perspective, even though we are from different countries, in order to think about my future life and how a Christian should be. I consider faith to be an important foundation on which I live. I face various problems every day, but when I am in trouble, I remember the words of the Bible to be encouraged, and when I am happy, I thank God from the bottom of my heart. In this way, what is always at the center of my heart as an axis, that is faith. It was very beneficial for me to realize that it is important not to be satisfied with my faith only as something inside myself, but to have the strength to send it outward like the Christian women from various countries I met this time. 

Participation in AYWLD 2019 in Hong Kong

In the past, when I had to do something, I couldn’t assert or express myself because I was worried about what others would think or I lacked confidence even if I had an opinion. However, this training program has given me the determination to take action. It was the first time I felt firsthand that God was calling me and sending me. To be honest, I think there will be time in the future when I feel afraid because of my concern about what others think. However, I think I can act with pride because I am living in God’s protection. I was sent by God as a leader in this program. I need to fulfill the given mission. I want to start by stepping out of my church and school to act as a Christian and as a woman.

Service Work Camp

Participation in Service Work Camp in the Philippines 2019

I met great friends at the Service Work Camp in the Philippines. I now feel more strongly than ever that I want to continue to take care of myself and the people around me. Not making it someone else’s problem. Not thinking of it as being separate from me, as its having nothing to do with me. Caring about someone. Thinking sincerely of that person and praying are very similar. I want to help someone. Is there anything I can do for that person? But I can’t do it by myself. I think that’s when people pray. Doing nothing is not the same as not caring about others. Even if I can’t do it by myself, I will pray. Through this Service Work Camp, I learned the importance of continuing to have questions and taking action. The ability to analyze in one’s own way and think things through in depth is an ability that will be required for life in the future. Through my experience at the camp, I was reminded of the necessity of being able to discern and judge information on my own without just relying on information given by others. I want to continue to live my life with what I have seen with my own eyes, heard, touched, and felt. I don’t have any special powers. However, I want to be a person who can act with all my heart for someone else.

Participation in Service Work Camp in the Philippines 2019

During this week, I experienced wall-building and Filipino culture that I could not experience in Japan, thought about poverty and inequality that I would not have thought so deeply about if I had stayed in Japan, and thought a lot about the background of the problems and solutions. I don’t have all the answers. Rather, there may be many more things that I will have to keep thinking about. In many ways, all of the experiences and thoughts I gained during this week will stay with me forever. I think these experiences and thoughts will stay with me forever, both in the sense that they are something I’ll never forget and in the sense that they are something I should keep thinking about for the rest of my life. I was also impressed by the phrase “Think and Act outside the box” at the Sunday service, and I thought this phrase described exactly what we did this past week. And I want to continue to “Think and Act outside the box”. This time, I went out of the box called “Japan” and thought and acted, but I think there are many different boxes. I would like to challenge myself to think and act outside the boxes such as myself, department, university, and Japan, without being bound by the usual or stereotyped ideas.

Peace Seminar

Participation in Peace Seminar in Okinawa 2019

I became interested in Japan’s modern history after participating in this seminar. Until junior high school and high school, I had studied history starting with very early times such as the Jomon period and studied very little modern history. I had only memorized the historical events as my way to study. However, when I participated in this seminar, I was overwhelmed by the way students of the same age as me were thinking seriously about the world and the amount of knowledge they had, which gave me a great inspiration. Also, having learned about the women and the history of war in Okinawa, and events happening in the world that I did not know made me realize the importance of acquiring more knowledge that can be used in the future. I am going to consider my participation in this seminar as a passing point, not as a goal, and think specifically about how I should apply this experience to myself in the future.

Participation in Peace Seminar in Okinawa 2019

The most impressive thing was the “Lecture: War and Violence against Women”. Prior to my participation in the program, I had been told a lot about the issue of comfort women and rape by the U.S. military. But I had never heard the details of the issue so intensively before. I sighed to myself that I had not been able to properly take in the voices of suffering from the many incidents that occurred after the war.
In addition, a participant raised the opinion that we must consider to whom the comfort women were comforting. This opinion remained in my mind even after the program was over. I have come to think that I need to be able to discern the meaning of words and the essence of social events, and to have my own opinion. I want to continue to see with my own eyes, feel, and act so that love can spread to all the lives in society. 

Participation in Peace Seminar in Korea 2017

I will cherish the experiences and insights I gained from this seminar for the rest of my life in order to become a peacemaker. At the last workshop, I said in front of everyone that I wanted to be a leader who brings Equality and Joy to the world. In particular, I would like to think more about the human rights of women and children, who were and still are vulnerable in society, in various situations on a daily basis. Through this seminar, I learned that being a peacemaker was not something that was too far out of reach or difficult. All of us can send out a peace from this place where we are now. In order to expand the circle of peace beyond national borders, I want to place importance on direct communication, meeting people as I experienced in this seminar, and friendships without being bound by prejudice or stereotypes. In fact, in my daily lives, I often hear about prejudice formed due to the influence of the media, etc. When I encounter such situations, I want to correct that prejudice. Because this time, I actually went to Korea and had a chance to meet new friends, and I learned how stereotypes and prejudices are biased and do not apply to reality. I am very happy to have gained hope and confidence that the bond between all of us who participated in this seminar is a new bond between Japan, Korea and China, and that from here we can expand our friendship of peace to the whole world.

Youth Summer Camp in the USA

Participation in 2019

The biggest change I felt in myself through this camp was a deepening of my relationship with God. Through the testimonies and the various activities of the camp, I have learned that there is a peace and security that comes from the fact that God does not abandon us in the midst of any trial. It also made me want to be more like Jesus. I realized that it was important to read the Bible, pray, praise, and spend more time with God. Through the experience I gained at this camp, I have come to understand that all people have been through hard times and have been hurt, so I sincerely want to treat everyone with love. Also, I want to try not to worry too much about my future, and try to trust God with all my heart and surrender to Him. And I want to try not to control my own life. Finally, I hope that I can serve God by making wise choices in my future life.

Participation in 2019

I think now, I was really lucky to be able to participate in this camp in my second year of high school, which is my current grade. I met various people in a blessed environment, and their kindness allowed me to spend a week that now seemed so short. It was an opportunity for me to see things with a sensitivity that can only be possessed by young people at my age, and to shine a light on my worries. I was also able to develop my English skills. Here is one thing that left me a deep impression. One day, when I said to a staff member that my English was not good at all, the staff member replied, “WHO TOLD YOU THAT?” The realization flashed into my mind: “After all, my worries were just what I thought they were, and nothing more.” So, I’m going to stop making my own assumptions and leave everything to God. Finally, the theme of this year’s camp was ‘purpose,’ so I’d like to write a little about it. To come right to the point, I still don’t see a clear purpose for myself. But I think that’s OK. It’s because I believe that it is worth trying to find my own purpose as I walk with God in my life. At the moment, my purpose of life may be to be involved with natural creatures and the environment. But at the same time, I think that it changes from time to time. That’s why I want to flexibly search for my purpose of life that suits me depending on the situation.

Participation in 2018

This time, the camp in the U.S. was a big challenge for me to leave my familiar Japan and put myself in a different environment. I feel that it has allowed me to take a big step outside of my safety zone. “Get out of the comfort zone” is the phrase that left me the strongest impression looking back on this camp. If I step out of my comfort zone for a moment, I will see many things that I have never seen before. I was able to have such an experience through this camp. I really appreciate it. I feel like I can step out of my comfort zone now, even though I used to be afraid to do so. And once again, this camp has taught me that I am not alone at any time. God is with us and walks with us at all times. There’s nothing to be afraid of! So I want to step slightly out of my comfort zone and learn more deeply. “God doesn’t throw away damaged things. He gathers up all the pieces and mends them again.” This phrase were also given to us at the camp. He does not throw away damaged things. He mends them again. There is no greater love than this. I was able to realize such love of God through this camp. I think that I will be given many trials in the future. However, I will always keep my focus on God and walk with faith in the plans He has for me. When I am happy, I remember God, and when I am in pain, I remember God and pray. Prayers before meals and before going to bed. I would like to make such a “habit of prayer” a normal part of my life.