A Season of Cherry Blossoms and Rumors of War

Trust in Him at all times, O people, pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8)

Pray for peace among the nations, especially peace in North Korea.

We live near a US Military base.  Each day, from morning until night, US Fighter aircraft and Japan military planes fly overhead, practicing manoeuvres for war.  They are so loud, we have to cover our ears.  Windows in our house rattle, the foundation beneath us shakes.  Until they pass, all conversation stops.  They are a constant reminder of the rising tensions between nations in the world, a constant reminder that peace is something we can never take for granted.

As North Korea threatens war, fear is slowly working its way across Japan, into the government, into the media, into the schools and into the homes.  Japan media has stated that a ballistic missile launched from North Korea would take approximately 10 minutes to hit mainland Japan.  We are told it that it would take about 4-5 minutes before warning sirens in Japan would sound.  This leaves people approximately 5 minutes to get inside and find shelter.  If children are in school, they will be told to crawl under their desk.

On April 25, the day North Korea was celebrating the birth of their military, tensions in Japan were even higher than usual.  It is a known fact that North Korea likes to mark national celebrations with a missile launch.  There was a real fear that war would begin that day.

I taught an English class that morning.  In the middle of class, we were interrupted by a blaring announcement over the warning speakers.  Everyone froze and the room became silent as we listened in fear.  I remember hearing one woman muttering softy, “daijobu…, It’s Ok”, over and over.  We didn’t breath again when we realised it was just an announcement informing us of delayed trains.

Under the Cherry Blossoms…Springtime in Japan

But, even in the midst of this uncertainty, fear and worldly tension, God is also reminding us of His presence in Japan, that He is good, that His plans and promises for us are good.

We have had an unusually beautiful spring.  Last week, the cherry trees were filled with delicate white cherry blossoms, so beautiful it made your heart ache.  Just last night, while Akira and I were sharing an evening walk, we watched a breathtaking pink sunset.  And then today, my ears caught the song of the first Japanese Bush Warbler of the season.  Sometimes called the Japanese Nightingale, this small bird makes an appearance in the spring.  It’s light and musical song accompanies the cicadas “mee, mee, mee” of summer.  The sound always brings a smile to my lips.

Sakura no Ki

All around us, things are green and growing and full of promise.  We have had plenty of rain this season and the sun has been warm and gentle.  But, there is an unusual quietness, a kind of silence and waiting,  almost as if the whole world were holding it’s breath.

Two years ago, God called us as a family to live in Japan and we chose to obey.  That’s why we are here, why we hope and pray and believe every single day, even when there are rumours of war.  In the midst of fighter jets and warplanes, there are Cherry blossoms and Nightingales, reminders that God is good, all the time, and that God loves the people of Japan.  So, In the midst of rising tensions in the world, we choose to hold on to hope, and continue to pray for peace among the nations.

Please join us in praying for peace.




Melanie Hiraguri
Melanie Hiraguri

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