Hearing the Wind of Love
Hello! I am Kaori Sion.The following is my personal testimony of how I met Jesus Christ and all that He has done for me. He lifted me up out of a pit of despair. He melted my hardened heart and He taught me how to love unconditionally. Then, the Lord Jesus graciously raised me up to minister to people all over the world through my flute. It is my prayer that you too, will meet with Jesus Christ and learn to know and love and walk with Him. Hallelujah!
The Storm of Loss
My life sailed along very smoothly until my early twenties, then suddenly the wind howled frightfully into my life. The storm was a sense of loss. The first loss was separation from the one I loved. When this happened, I realized how conceited I was, thinking that no one was as kind or as loving as me. Also, I was astonished by, and came to realize the fact that I was extremely self−centered and lacked the ability to truly love people. The second loss was loosing a means of income. My father made great contributions to his company, yet unfortunately due to adverse circumstances, the company went bankrupt. As a result, I suddenly had to leave my childhood home that I cherished. At that moment, I grabbed my flute and a pressure cooker, but to this day I still do not know why I grabbed the pressure cooker.
Having endured these events, I became aware of the fact that things such as a warm home, a loving family and respectability with neighbors can easily be taken away. On the other hand, I believed somehow that being healthy and working hard would make things better. However, I soon became ill and needed to undergo surgery. The kind of surgery I needed could have seriously damaged my body as a flutist. I felt as though I was headed down a dark tunnel. I thought to myself, “I have been trying so hard to do my best and I have not done anything wrong.” Truly, this was my heart’s deep cry. These continued adversities and trials caused me to despair and even to think of suicide. However, I desperately tried to dismiss those thoughts. Thankfully, I had a chance to meet with a noted doctor. On account of God’s grace and the doctor’s skillful surgery, my ability to play the flute was not affected. God has provided perfectly for all my needs.
The Three Unuseful “Sacred Necessities”
I used to believe that ability, financial stability and health are like the three sacred necessities in order to have a fulfilling life. So I tried so hard to gain those three things. Yet, I came to realize that they could be easily taken away and could not help me when I was in trouble. I was like a ship without a compass. I was not sure where I was heading. I was up against a wall and I could not go anywhere. I was totally stuck. I needed to know an eternal truth which would never change even though the world, people or I, myself would change.
The Person Who Knows You the Best
Under these circumstances, I was introduced by my former teacher to a flute class in the church. One day, the title of a church pamphlet caught my eye. It said, “Do you know how many hairs you have?” Of course I don’t, but the Bible says God knows! “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered,” (Matthew 10:30). Something clicked in my heart. Before the storm, I was full of confidence, but because of the losses I suffered, all the things I valued were swept away. I was awaken to just how small and poor I really am. Also, my pride was stripped away. “Who am I ?” I asked. God says He knows me better than I know myself. He knows even the number of hairs on my head. Knowing this, I was astonished and filled with indescribable joy.
I felt wind blowing into my heart. That was the wind of life sent by God. And so, I became a Christian. I was baptized one Easter morning. My old self was dead and my new self came to life because of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. I would never forget the inexpressible feeling of joy that I experienced at that moment.
The Death Of My Father
Even after I became a Christian, I still went through many valleys and dark woods. However, God’s presence and faithfulness assured me again and again of His great love for me. My father’s death was one of the events that most impacted my life. My father battled with cancer for 5 years. The last year of his life, he could not eat and he lost a lot of weight. Yet, he never lost his sense of humor and fighting spirit.
I wanted to share the gospel with him. I wanted him to know that death is not the end; that there is a Heaven; that you will live there forever with God peacefully and we will meet again. Yet, sharing the gospel was not easy at all. I needed courage to talk about death to a person who was trying hard to fight against death. My father was getting weaker and weaker daily. I was getting tired of taking care of him. I was feeling pressed for time. One day, I complained to pastor Yoshiro Takahashi. I said to him, “My father may go before I am able to share the hope of Jesus Christ.” He listened patiently. Then he smiled at me and said, “Do not worry. You have shared Jesus’ love through your smile, your attitude and by showing your father how much you care about him. So you should not worry.” Then, the pastor opened the Bible and showed me this verse: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28). Next he said to tell my father not to worry because Jesus has come to carry your burdens and so, be at peace. I was relieved and had peace in my heart. I wrote the word of God on a piece of paper and put it on the wall in my father’s hospital room. My father asked what it was. So I took this chance to share the gospel. My father welcomed Jesus into his heart. I remember the day clearly, it was July 13th 2007. That was only three days before he passed away.
When his death was getting near, I started to doubt whether or not he really was welcomed into Heaven. Yet, when he took his last breath, I saw the room glowing with white light. I was surprised and looked at my father’s face. He was smiling. I was convinced that my father met Jesus. Jesus carried him in his arms and took him to Heaven. His smile assured me that death is not the end. Jesus defeated death on the cross. Letting my father go was very sorrowful, yet through his death God showed the hope of Heaven and His great Love for me. In addition, by the grace of God, my mother was baptized on Christmas day 2014.
Trip to Kenya
This knowledge of God’s great love for me has given me a burning desire to share His love with others through my music. Thus, God opened the door for me to visit Kenya in 2009. There I had an opportunity to teach flute to the children who study at Koinonia Educational Center which was founded in 2003 by pastor Takao Ichihashi and his wife Sara. The mission of the center is to provide education based on Christian values for children who are living in the slums. I believe that adolescent children need music education in order to be whole, so I wanted to teach music for them. Also, I wanted to see with my own eyes just how they live in the slums. With my friend’s help, I collected a lot of used flutes and I brought them with me to Kenya. The environment surrounding the children in Kenya was wretched. Disease, poverty, hunger, dysfunctional families, neglect, begging and sexual abuse: these are just some of the problems of the slums. A harsh reality of the slums is that once you are born into it, it is extremely difficult to get out. However, the children who study at the center and who know Jesus are like flowers blooming in the desert. Therefore, as a leader in Jesus Christ, they have great potential to influence the lives of people living in the slums and to change their world for the better. Surely I saw Jesus living in them. So, I hope and pray that the children from Koinonia will gather together in Christian fellowship and travel around the world to praise and glorify God through a flute orchestra.
Meeting with these children made me think, “What can I do for them?” As I thought about this, the Bible verse “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends,” (John 15:13) came to mind. Even after I returned to Japan, the verse remained etched in my heart. Then, God gave me an idea that I can dedicate my own time and effort by having charity concerts on behalf of Koinonia Educational Center. The reason being that they urgently needed a new school facility due to rapidly increasing student enrollment.
However, the first concert did not go as planned. As the first concert was to be held shortly after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, only 5 tickets were sold. Many concerts at that time throughout Japan were cancelled. I prayed very earnestly, asking God for His help. When I thought about those children who are living in the slums, I realized they are facing disaster just like everyday. So, I prayed even more without giving up. I tried very hard to advertise for the concert. Then, a miracle happened. The place of the concert was filled with 600 people. God’s glory was present. I will never forget the experience of praising God with 600 people, singing “Make Us One”. Furthermore, I will always remember how faithful God is and the way He blessed the concert for the benefit of the children at Koinonia Educational Center. Also noteworthy is the fact that the children of Koinonia did their own fundraising for the benefit of the Japanese people who suffered in the wake of the March 11th disaster.
They sent the equivalent of 60000 yen with their love and prayers to Japan. It was a double blessing! We care for each other just like the Lord says “Love one another.”
God’s Ambassador of Peace to Asian Countries
The vision I have received from God is becoming clearer. Jesus Christ is the only one who can break down walls between countries and in people’s hearts. Therefore, I would like to be God’s ambassador and continue to dedicate myself for sharing the gospel through Peace Concerts, especially in Asian countries. Music brings people peace and unity, and Jesus Christ brings people peace and unity with God. So my hope and prayer is that my flute will be like a wind of love uniting people and bringing them to God. As this is God’s will, I am certain it will be fulfilled.
Now I See
Looking back, I now see and understand how God took all my ugly suffering and made it into something graceful and beautiful. When we face hardships, we feel dismayed, even brokenhearted, but during those difficult times it is when God is closest, tenderly caring for us. As long as He is near, we can face any trial knowing that everything will be fine in the end.
I hear God often ask me, “What are you bringing into people’s lives?” Flute is an instrument played by wind. The breath of God which is the wind of eternal life, will blow throughout Japan and all over the world through my flute. So my prayer is that God will use my flute playing for His honor and for His glory.