Mormon Journal

By Sachiko Hotta


Two Hours from the Chapel

Before my husband and I married, we agreed that the Church was the most important thing in our lives and that we would use our time and whatever talents we had in serving the Church. As it turned out, this was more easily said than done.

After we were married, my husband and I had to move into an apartment quite far from the chapel. Riding my bike to the train station, taking the train to the next city, and then taking the bus to the chapel took one-and-a-half hours; and, of course, if I missed the first train and had to wait for the next one, the trip could take more than two hours. This made it difficult for the branch president to give us an assignment. Besides this, after we had been married three months, my husband became seriously ill and had to be hospitalized, so I went to work to support us. Each day after work I would go to visit my husband in the hospital and try to go by the chapel afterwards, but there just weren’t enough hours in the day.

This troubled me, and I knew that if we lived closer, I would be able to have a Church calling. Yet land around the chapel was very expensive, and we could not even afford to rent in such a fine neighborhood, much less buy a home there. Logically, I knew it was impossible, but in the scriptures it says, “Because you always prayed, I heard.” (See Luke 18:1–5.)Therefore, I prayed unceasingly. I didn’t know how the Lord could answer such an impossible request; I just prayed. Shortly after this, my uncle, whose house was only 13 minutes from the chapel, suddenly decided to move, and offered us his beautiful house. I knew my prayer had been heard. We were so happy, because finally we could work in the Church. By this time my husband had been released from the hospital, and we were able to attend our meetings as a family.

After we moved, the Church announced plans for building a chapel in Nagoya, and everyone started to work very hard to earn money for the building fund. Shortly before this my husband decided to start his own business—a bakery. Again, we had very little money; we had used all our savings to start the business, and we used my monthly check to live on. We didn’t know how we could help with the building fund, especially since I was pregnant and would not be able to work much longer. Although my husband’s business was growing, we didn’t have enough to live on, pay the building fund, and prepare for our new baby. I worked long enough to receive my annual bonus and laid it aside to pay expenses for our baby. This was all the money we had.

One night the branch president called us and said that they lacked just a little to complete the building fund, and he asked us if we could please help. The only money we had was for the baby, soon to be born; and since that was all we had, it was also all we could give. That evening we took the money to the branch president. It was just enough to complete the branch’s assessment on the new chapel.

We didn’t worry after that about where we would get the money to pay our child’s expenses; we knew that the Lord would take care of us. Naturally I worried some, but whenever I would think about it, I always felt at peace.

The next month, my husband was hired in full-time Church employment as director of the seminaries and institutes in the Nagoya area. We did not even know that this job existed. With his new salary we would have enough to pay the hospital bills when our child was born. God says you must do whatever you can, and after that, you must leave the rest to him. I know this is true.

[illustrations] Illustrated by James Christensen