Last month, our friend and big sister Mrs. Lily Maeda passed away. She had 94 years of a beautiful life. She showed us with kindness and sacrifice of a Christian. She enjoyed sharing her possessions with others. She often made quilts and give them to some of our church members' babies and hand them out to children at the hospitals as gifts. As you all know, Mrs. Maeda was in a cookie ministry. She made cookies and bread during the week and gave them away to people. After she had passed away, Mr. James Higa, Paul Misaka, and I met with her family at her house to prepare for the memorial service. We noticed a small oven in the kitchen while we were all talking. The oven was fairly old, and it was 1/2 size of the usual models that we use today. Then, I realized that she had been using that oven to bake all the cookies and bread which she then passed out to other people. When I thought about how much time and dedication have gone into preparing those things, I began to have a very thankful heart toward her.
One Sunday, few days prior to Mrs. Maeda's birthday, we were preparing a small party for her at church. We had prepared a birthday cake and refreshments. She always attended church every Sunday unless there was a special event. However, she did not come to church that Sunday. We were very surprised, and we didn't know the reason why she couldn't come to church that day. Turns out that she had fallen down few days prior to that Sunday, and she was then hospitalized. She recovered her consciousness and was regaining her health. She did not inform any of the church members that she was hospitalized because she didn't want anyone in church to worry about her. She was expecting to swiftly recover and return to church, but she subsequently passed away on her birthday. She loved our church with all her heart and wanted to serve us until the day she died. We can no longer taste her cookies and bread. We can no longer see her bright smiles. However, we can live on with hope and joy because we will eventually see her again in the kingdom of heaven in the future.
Mrs. Maeda has given us a lot of valuable lessons during her time at this church. We must not only take after her sacrifice and obedient heart, but we must also live by applying them in action. As we all love our church, everyone's heart, dedication, and strength are being utilized for the good of our church. I would like to offer my deepest gratitude for everyone's work, and I firmly believe that God will remember your labors and will greatly reward all of you.
It is joy to share good news with you. The Evangelism Committee will be hosting a movie viewing at 10 AM on Thursday, June 8th, and we will be watching a movie called "The Shack", which is a Christian work. There will be sandwiches provided after watching the movie. Please invite your friends and families for this event.
The Summer vacation has finally started for many schools. Many families will be going on their trips. Let us pray for our church families, so that they can have safe, and enjoyable travels. Our church's Youth Group will be having a Summer retreat at our church from July 14th(Fri) - 16th(Sun), and there will also be other UMC Youth Groups participating with us. The Women's Group, Outreach Committee, and the students' parents will be preparing the food for this event. I believe that God will greatly bless all these people for helping with this work.
I pray that God's grace and blessings will overflow from everyone's homes for the month of June.
Rev. Dr. David Choi