From a Carefree Boy to a Man of Dream

Key verse 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1. Carefree boy

My name is Ryosuke Sugie. I grew up in a rural town in Aichi prefecture, Japan, with my older sister and parents. Because my older sister always helped me with everything, I was happy-go-lucky from Elementary School to High School. I had no dreams for my future.

In 2007 I left Aichi and went to Tokyo to enter a university. I applied to Aoyama Gakuin University as my first choice. However, I was accepted by Meiji Gakuin University and enrolled there instead. I entered the university very casually, without even looking at the brochures and the courses that were offered. It was only after physically being at the school that I came to know it was a Christian University.

2. Encounter with missionary Esther Kim

During my freshman and sophomore years, I did not attend class regularly. I would either not go to school or slept during class even if I went. At that time, I was interested in pursuing a degree in Management and Accounting (M & A). I mainly wanted to attend seminars on international accounting. So during my third year, I asked my friend who had the same interest, to take the class together. The class I chose was taught by missionary Esther Kim. This encounter was the start of my spiritual life.

Her class was very fun. She always called me "Ryo-kun". I enjoyed her humorous and interesting personality and I had a good relationship with her. Once, she told me that she would introduce me to her husband, Missionary Ezra Park. I didn’t know why at the time, but now I know she wanted me to study the bible with him. However, I could not meet him until after graduation.

After the graduation, I was hired by an IT company and worked at its branch in Aichi prefecture. I was comfortable living in my parents' house. However, I thought it would be better to stop living with them and start work in Tokyo instead. I was happy that the company agreed to send me to Tokyo. I contacted missionary Esther Kim after moving to Tokyo.

On January 2, 2012, I met missionary Esther Kim for the first time after graduation. She invited me to her home to meet her husband. When I arrived at their home, she welcomed me as if I were her son. I met missionary Ezra Park who was equally as friendly. I talked with him about my future vision. He was very intelligent and understanding, and gave me a lot of practical advice. From that moment I became his disciple and began attending UBF church. On reflection, I was like Simon of Cyrene who was suddenly forced to follows Jesus with the cross on his shoulder. [When they led him away, they grabbed one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it after Jesus.](Luke 23:26)

3. A dream to be a professor shepherd

The Christian family in Tokyo UBF welcomed me wholeheartedly when I went to the church. I felt very comfortable there. I was happy to participate in worship every Sunday. I began Bible study and my spiritual eyes slowly started opening. From that time on I have had many miraculous experiences through missionary Ezra Park. For example I worked with the research groups of the University of Tokyo, published English papers in international journals and became a member of international academic societies. My parents were very surprised to find that my life was changed so much. They were grateful that missionary Esther Kim motived me when I was a college student. At that time I was a lazy boy with no goals and no motivation. Now I am completely changed. It is by God`s amazing grace that I have grown up this much.

Through the Bible, I became aware of God’s gift of talents in Matthew 25. I did not want to bury one talent in the ground like the wicked servant. Instead I wanted to use all my talents. So I thought that it would be nice to help the young people to know God and live a life that was full and complete. God then gave me a vision to be a professor at Aoyama Gakuin University which earlier declined my application. I started thinking about teaching Business Administration. God gave me this wonderful dream of becoming a professor at Aoyama Gakuin University. Following the dream to be a professor I tried to enter a Ph.D. program. To my dismay I failed the entrance exam several times. However, God gave me the strength to keep going. Finally I will start my graduate studies from this April. Praise God!

4. Building a godly family

It has been five years since I came to church and I praise God for all he has done in my life. I got married two years ago. It is so wonderful to be married. Also, my cute daughter was born in July 2016. She looks just like me. I really thank God for my little princess. However, my wife was not a Christian when I got married, so I prayed continually to bring my wife and daughter to Jesus. In order to lead them to Christ I encouraged my wife to study the Bible. Unfortunately, although she came to the church with me, she was not interested in Christianity or Bible study.

Recently I bought a house five minutes on foot from church, so my wife and child attend church every Sunday. Surprisingly, my wife reads daily bread more eagerly than I, and her faith is getting stronger. I hope that she studies the Bible with missionary Esther Kim. I continue to pray for my wife`s spiritual growth.

5. Always be joyful

In 2014 I got a job at Accenture. Accenture is a multinational management consulting company. It is quite different from my previous workplace. I must demonstrate results within a few days. I constantly face pressure and regularly work overtime. I often come home by the last train or taxi. I suffer from physical and mental fatigue. Due to the new job situation I could not participate in the workshops and subcommittee meetings at Tokyo University, even though I was the secretariat. There were times when I regretted the decision to work at Accenture. However, it was based on my dream. It was a step to become a professor at Aoyama Gakuin. God reminded me of this whenever I was in despair.

In the company I face a lot of unpleasant and uneasy circumstances. There are endless demands that give me stress at work. For example, I started a new project where I had to work closely with my boss. However, he was abusive. Instead of fighting humanly I prayed every day holding onto the word of God: “always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances.” Through this I was able to overcome the situation. I was able to pray and gave my gratitude to God. I smiled more. He has led me to grow spiritually. As of now, my dream to be a professor shepherd has not been fulfilled yet. None-the-less, I believe in God’s miraculous power. He will surely fulfill my dream in his time. Please pray for me.