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 "From Emptiness to Fullness of Joy"
The Testimony of Toshimitsu Kitani
     I was born on August 25、1964 on the island of Futaoui in Shimonoseki to a fisherman’s family.  I was the second son to be born into my family.  I did chores around my house from a very young age including the making of simple meals.  I also enjoyed playing outside until it was pitch black.  I played in the ocean and on the mountains.  Since my island did not have a Jr. High School, when it came time for me to enter seventh grade I left home and lived in a dormitory in Yoshimi a suburb of Shimonoseki continued my education at Suisan High School and received a fishing license there.  I returned to the island to work as a fisherman alongside my father. 
     At the age of 23 I married and eventually had two daughters.  Of course there was no church on the island.  The residents there all worship idols and celebrate different festivals held at the Buddhist temple.  I was a leader in the youth group there and actively participated in the events.  My relationship with my wife was not very good, however.  Because I did not know about the true God at that time, I had no idea concerning what my wife needed or even how to go about meeting those needs.  I didn’t want to fight with her in front of my kids so I avoided having any meaningful discussions with my wife at all.  Every day was spent tiptoeing softly around her so as not to upset her.  I strived diligently not to frighten her.  I thought that if I could just daily endure this, I would be ok.  I had half way resigned myself to this existence and for many years lived as if I was walking on pins and needles.  I was wondering if my life was going to end with just the effort of endurance.  Each day was so empty…..
I lived this type of life for ten years before I came to the conclusion that I could not tolerate it any more.  When my youngest child entered Jr. High, I divorced my wife.  As I look back on it now , I realize that my wife was also probably just as irritated with me and had also had to endure much because of me.
My daughters are now in college and high school respectively and I pay for all of their living expenses and schooling.  They live at their mother’s family home.  I decided when I left my wife to completely change my life.  Up until then I had worked on the ocean, but I decided to get a job on land for a change and get a job as a bus driver which was a job I had admired since childhood. I was so excited when I finally landed a job in my chosen field.  I jumped in and worked diligently with all my might.  Because of this, I came to be seen as someone who was dependable and work became more and more satisfying to me.
    Last year at about this time I came to work at the company where I am currently employed.  It is there that I met Mrs. Ishii who is a member of Shimonoseki Christ Bible Church.  As I look back on it now, I feel it was a meeting arranged by God.  She was different from any woman I had ever met before.  After talking with her on and off for a few months, I found out that she was a Christian, that she worshipped at a church and read her Bible.  This was a world in which I knew nothing about.  At Mrs. Ishii’s invitation, I decided to go to church.  Of course, I have to admit that the initial reason is because I was interested in her, but I also had a desire to find out about the true God.  As I listened to the messages at church and studied the Bible with Pastor Tony and Takayuki, I discovered that I was a sinner.  It was because of sinners like me that Jesus came to this earth.  He died on the cross and shed his blood so that I could be cleansed of my sin.  He rose again on the third day and now lives within my heart.  On July 20th I made a profession of faith.  From that time I was given the promise that I will go to heaven.  Up until then I was dependant on myself only, but as I came to the realization that I could pray in the name of the Lord Jesus.  I was filled with joy.
     I haven’t read the entire Bible yet, but of the verses I am familiar with, I am fond of the verse which happens to be the theme for the church this year.  Luke 16:10, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”  I am the type of person who is diligent in his work, so this verse rang true to my heart.  Recently, even in seemingly insignificant areas, I think, “Maybe this is something that God would not be pleased with.” I continue to be surprised at how different I am becoming.  It is my desire to gradually grow in my walk so that it will be pleasing to God.