By Ms. Miyuki ASANO (Kikuna Church, Yokohama Diocese)
< Sharing failure and laughter >
We sell rotti, a Thai sweet, on the food stall, but the sales slows down from February every year because it gets hotter and children rather buy cold food. So we were seeking something new which can sell in the hot season but have not found the sellable food yet.
Last December, staff came from Tokyo and showed us new delicious foods but they were not accepted by Cambodians. We asked Ms Pen for help to alter them with Cambodian taste. After trials and errors we failed to cook new sweets and had to eat tasteless food reluctantly. Then we bursted into laughing. At that moment both of us certainly felt the bonding.
A few days later Ms Pen gave up cooperating with us and took action by herself. She bought food materials and snow cone maker. Trusting their talent I hope to make a sensational food one day.
< Barrie between local people and us >
In Russey Village, JLMM mission aria, people make their living by collecting and selling recyclable items in refuge dump. JLMM started food stall project in Russey Village two years ago and those who do food stalls business used to work in the refuge dump before.
In this area many people depend on alcohol and gamble. In their run-down houses grimy children are playing. I often get angry when I see the people who do not look after their children.
We go the round of the village every morning and give emergency assistance to the families with problems giving treatment of their wounds and support of transportation to the hospital. When we started the food-stall project and got involved in the business relation with them, I found the big barrier which prevented me from approaching them. I share this problem with you.
There is a good looking man among the food stall members. He is twenty-five years old and dresses very well, so we cannot imagine that he was working in the refuge dump before. He lives in Russey Village with his wife and son of two years old and started food stall one and half years ago. He sometimes makes trouble.
One day his wife called on our office and said, "I can't stand anymore! He spends money only for his clothes and alcohol and doesn't give us. When I complain about it, he gets violent. As I can't live with him and I want to divorce. Please let me do the food stall business." In Russey Village many women have husbands who depend on alcohol and gamble.
The wife of the good looking man and I consulted with Ms. Pen. But he did not admit his fault. The wife did not even a pair of shoes but he dressed well. I got angry for his irresponsibility and hated him. He was stubborn and I did not want to get involved in him.
Then I found a barrier preventing me from having closer relation with poor people. The barrier made it difficult for me to accept them. It might be a difference of culture, custom, way of living and value.
Jesus said, "You will get real happiness by loving each other." However, I easily become to dislike and hate some people. It is not easy for me to contact everybody with same feeling. So I may have to cultivate generous heart by the experiences of failure in the relation with people.
How can I break the barrier? I must change and reflect on myself to find what I must become. I must response to Jesus if I want to have peace of mind. A person can change when he/she is loved and cared.
"Come over." I feel God calling me over the barrier.