It came as somewhat of a shock when I heard that she passed away. I had known that she had been in and out of the hospital before I ever got to know her, and that she had been hospitalized again several months ago, but I still never quite realized how serious it was. I guess it was because the few times I had met her, she always seemed so full of energy.
I hardly knew her too. I go to know her husband because he came for the Coco's English Corner that Steve set up a couple years back, and which has now been taken over by Auntie Chris (I'm sorry Auntie Chris, I just can't not call you auntie). He was a history buff, which meant that we would talk about some historical stuff, and just as often butt heads over interpretation of said historical events. And though he said things about his wife like, "She's not Japanese. She's too noisy", it was also obvious he loved her and cared for her. And I guess it was because I had heard about her, that I knew her a little better than I would have.
She came to the Tokorozawa Housechurch when I was serving at CRASH's Tono Base in August last year. The ladies of the church, who also attended the Coco's English group, had finally gotten to meet her, and it seemed they had hit it off pretty well. She had also been rather interested in Christianity when she was younger, and though she didn't follow-up on it then, her interest had not dimmed in the years since, and she happily came to join the housechurch, which was where I got to meet her.
And like her husband had said, she certainly did not fit the common stereotype of the Japanese woman; quiet and demure. She seemed to be everywhere at once, talking to the ladies in Japanese, chattering away to Louis in Cantonese, testing me on my Mandarin... and even when she was sick with the flu one Sunday, she still came down to witness Yoshiko's baptism, and while definitely muted, you could still see the spark in her as she joked about and congratulated Yoshiko.
I heard she got hospitalized again a few weeks after I got back from Japan, but since this was not new, I didn't think much about it. A little later, Auntie Chris dropped me a message, to say that Mina had prayed to receive Christ while in the hospital, mainly due to the love that she felt from the housechurch members who regularly dropped by to visit her, and I rejoiced in knowing that she had finally taken the important step that had been prepared for her all those years ago when she first heard about Christ.
I found out that she passed away last Friday. And I do feel sad, sad that I won't be able to visit her in Japan again, sad for Hideki, her husband, who is undoubtedly distraught.. but I can also give thanks that she chose to give her life to Jesus, and that she is now with Him, probably chattering away in Japanese, Cantonese, and Mandarin, and being the spark of energy in heaven that she was here on earth.
So let us pray for her husband, that the grief will not be too much for him, and that he may also come to know God, but let us also give thanks to God, for another soul that is reunited with Him.