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Saturday, 27 December 2014

Boxing Day 2014

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14)
My next story about my brother has to start with a confession from me. When it was first proposed that we spend the later part of Boxing Day cooking and feeding the homeless, I was reluctant to go. It's not so much because of Boxing Day (remember, I have no presents to unbox), but because I hate staying out late in the winter. Like, when the sun goes down, my desire to go home intensifies. But, my little brother was so excited that I couldn't voice my objections. What sort of selfish person would I be to tell my brother not to help others?

The trip did not start well. We were late, and I got carsick on the way there. But, it was endearing to see my brother so enthusiastic. He did a lot of chores that he normally would go out of his way to avoid. That's not to say his attitude was the best - he came very close to trouble because he was upset he couldn't help enough. He wanted to mix and stir in the miso, but he could only mix it because the stirring was done while we were part of an assembly line to create bags of food and hand warmers.

One of the bags - it contains onigiri, a boiled egg,
sweets, hand warmers and a handout talking about
this organisation and giving pertinent information
like weather forecasts. 
All throughout this, I was slowly warming up to the fact that I wasn't going to go home early. By the time we finished cooking (which was about three hours later), I was looking forward to the trip. We were split into groups, and my family and I were supposed to tag along with the group going to Tenjin.

It was cold, but that just emphasised how important this was. After a few instructions, my brother was happily handing out soup with both hands. I'm not sure how to describe it, but this is really a side of Japan that I've never seen before. I've always thought of Japan as a prosperous country, but there is still poverty and suffering here.

One man in particular stuck out. He was the last person we visited, and he was lying, head towards the river, on some pieces of cardboard. Unlike the others, he didn't even sit up when we greeted him. We tried to pass him some soup, but he didn't want it. After talking further, we found that he was in pain. Apparently, he had been hit. Next to his belongings was a wheelchair from a hospital. His blankets were new and he had a neatly packed bag with him (the ID in the bag was of a lady though). All this was very worrying. We wanted to call an ambulance, but he didn't want us too.

My poor brother was so worried. He desperately wanted to know what was going on, but the language barrier meant that he didn't understand what was said, and no one was translating. There was nothing we could do, except wait. We tried to cover him up, the social worker promised to send someone in the morning, and we stood at one side to pray for him. On the way home, my brother asked if we could visit him the next day, but to be honest, my mom and I don't know if he'll even be there. The social workers might bring him to a hospital, he might decide to move, a lot of things can happen. And I worry about the conclusions my brother might jump to if he doesn't see that man.

So please, pray for this man and all others like him. If you're not the praying type, send some good thoughts or something. And more importantly, if you can, go out and do something to help. We who have plenty should share with those who have none.

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