Power of a Book
By Kazuhiro Hiraga
Nine-year-old Saki loved to read on the Japanese island of Okinawa. She especially loved to read books sold to her family by a kind stranger who had knocked on their door. Again and again she read the set of five books, Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories. Her favorite story was about a boy named Wilford and his Surprise Package Company. Wilford liked to surprise people with gifts. Saki felt happy imagining the joy of the people who received the gifts.
The books also introduced Saki to Jesus. Her family was not Christian. Her parents, like many people in Japan, did not worship Jesus. In the books, she read that Jesus loves children and wants to make them happy.
Saki grew up and moved to Tokyo, the capital of Japan. She got married and became the mother of two little boys. Somewhere along the way she lost her favorite Bedtime Stories books.
When her eldest son was old enough, she began to look for a school for him. Near their home, she noticed a private school called Tokyo Saniku Elementary School. Curiously, she looked up the school on the Internet. She was surprised to learn that it was a Seventh-day Adventist school. She had never heard of Adventists, so she looked for more information online. To her surprise, she read that Adventists not only have many schools but they also publish many books for children, including her beloved Bedtime Stories. She knew that she wanted her son to study at the Adventist school.
But first she wanted to know more about the Adventist Church. An Adventist church was located on the property of the Adventist school, and she began to attend its Sabbath worship services. She felt great peace as she sang hymns and listened to sermons.
Saki got hold of a new set of Bedtime Stories and began to read them to her sons. The boys loved the stories. As Saki read to her boys, she began to read another Book on her own – the Holy Bible. Just as her son started the first grade, she joined a Bible study group at the school. Months later, she gave her heart to Jesus and was baptized.
Today, Saki Takahagi, 35, still reads Bedtime Stories to her young sons. She also shares the Bible with them. She loves the Bible, and she loves Jesus.
Saki learned about Jesus through the Bedtime Stories and later by searching for information on the Internet. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will go to a project to help many Japanese people, especially young people, learn about Jesus through the Internet. Thank you for planning a generous offering.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org