〜2020 Autumn Newsletter ③〜 

Reiko Saikawa

Member of Board of Directors

Tokyo Marunouchi Partnership

  I work in the Tokyo office of an international U.S. law firm, overseeing a staff of about 30 secretaries and providing support services to attorneys / lawyers. I have been working in Marunouchi for about 18 years. Born in a Christian home, I grew up without questioning the existence of God the Creator and Jesus Christ. However, when I was in elementary and middle school, I questioned whether I can say “I’m a Christian” without having a dramatic life-change experience of God’s salvation or a dramatic “sin and forgiveness experience”. However, someone told me that this gift of faith is a privilege, and you’re okay without any dramatic experiences. This helped me to reaffirm that I was already a believer in Jesus Christ. Currently,  my family goes to a church in Setagaya, Tokyo, and my son, a junior high school student, is also being raised in this church as if it were his second home. For me, work and faith are strongly connected.  In high school, I attended a Christian meeting and camp called “Hi-b.a.”, where I was challenged about whether to go into full-time bible-teaching ministry. Then in university, I learned to serve God in the place I was sent through the Christian Student Association (KGK). Although I wasn’t going to go to seminary or become a pastor, I decided to dedicate my work as a commitment to God, and I continue to work today with the same feeling that I am part of God’s ministry where I am placed in the Marunouchi office. There have also been many aspects of my work that I would not have been able to overcome without my faith. My prayer life and my daily work are truly integrated.  I experience daily struggles about sharing the gospel with co-workers in the workplace. There is an unspoken rule that religious matters are probably forbidden in the workplace. And especially from the position of a supervisor, any religious statements should be refrained from due to the power imbalance in the relationship. Also, as a Christian in the workplace, even if I have the desire to share the gospel, the company culture doesn’t allow you to step into each other’s personal lives, making it difficult to develop deeper  relationships with people in the workplace. I also often struggle feeling that there needs to be an appropriate distance with colleagues and yet wanting to grow a deeper relationship with them. However, some people in my workplace somehow know that I am a Christian, and I hope every day that I can share the fragrance of Christ through my words, my actions, and in my daily life. I also look for any small opportunities for sharing something of the gospel in my everyday conversations. Indeed, I have found that it is often easier and better to introduce people to Christian events that I’m not directly involved in organizing. Last year, I was able to invite a co-worker to a Christmas service at a church in Otemachi, central Tokyo, through a casual conversation. I had never talked with this lady about Christianity or church before, but on our way to the Christmas service together that evening, I learned that she actually went to a Christian-founded school as a child. She told me after the service that she remembered the Lord’s Prayer and enjoyed the atmosphere of worship, which reminded her of her school days. I felt that God was using a small human being like me, for His great purposes in a unique way. I thank the LORD indeed.