One of them, when he saw he was healed…threw himself at Jesus feet and thanked him.

~ Luke 17:15

The Japanese Ministry of Health estimates that approximately 700,000 young people, mostly teens, suffer from an illness known as Hikikomori. These youths withdraw from social life, refuse to attend school, and often lock themselves in their homes, sometimes even for years. Affecting both boys and girls, they appear apathetic and shy, and often lose their friends. Their return into Japanese society is difficult because of the huge expectations placed on the maturing new generation.

At his baptism on Christmas morning, 18 year-old Mr S shared about his struggle with Hikikomori. A year ago, his family contacted our church for help. It was quite difficult for him to attend youth group because of this sickness. He soon began, however, to feel accepted and understood by the other young people. Mr S participated in youth meetings and camp with increasing joy and anticipation. He soon asked to be in a one-on-one Bible study and began attending Sunday services. Our congregation gently took care of him, and soon came to enjoy his company. Best of all, Mr S discovered the love of our Savior Jesus Christ and began having a daily Quiet Time. Everyone could observe the steady healing process.

We were reminded of Jesus’ words to the ten lepers: "Go, show yourselves to the priests" (Luke 17:14). Mr S did exactly that, showing himself to our great high priest, Jesus Christ. He accepted Him into his heart and life. At his baptism, he gave thanks to our Lord for providing a way out of his illness and for helping him pass the university entrance exam. It was a very inspiring Christmas service for us all. We not only celebrated our Lord’s Nativity on earth in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago, but also this young man’s new birth here at our church! Please pray for Mr S , as well as three other teenagers from our neighborhood who suffer from Hikikomori. There are still more victories to win!

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