Anna Moriya is a primary school teacher living in Yokohama. She spent a year studying in Exeter, UK, where God led her to him through the witness of his faithful servants. She writes:

Before I became a Christian, I think I had many misunderstandings related to the question “how do people become a Christian?” The stories I heard were mostly miracles such as “one day there was a feeling like thunder, and I became a Christian!” or “I became ill, decided to trust God and then I became a Christian!” and so on. For me the stories did not feel real or relatable. I also thought that “Christians have to understand everything written in the Bible” and “people have to be born in a Christian family in order to become a Christian”. Perhaps I did not have many opportunities to ask questions about Christianity even though I had a few Christian friends and professors. Fortunately, I was able to study abroad in my late 20s and I think that was a turning point in my life.

As a primary school teacher, I love to use pictures and simple explanations to explain things. I like to describe my journey to becoming a Christian as ‘growing a plant’. In order to grow a plant, there are at least four elements to help it sprout: ‘soil’, ‘light’, ‘water’ and ‘love’:

Soil (Mark 4:1-9)

I remember the day when I first opened up the Bible. It was 10 years ago in my first year of university in Japan. It was a Christian-based University (Aoyama Gakuin) so we had a Bible study lecture. The pastor introduced the story of ‘The parable of the Sower’ (Mark 4:1-9) and I still remember it well. I started to notice a few things about Jesus, but I couldn’t establish a personal relationship with him. After graduation, sadly I stopped reading the Bible.

Light (John 8:12)

A decade later, I decided to take a sabbatical and study abroad at the University of Exeter in the UK. My first friend there was a Christian from Taiwan and he took me to St Leonard’s Church. I met many lovely people there and soon started attending regularly. At that time, it felt extremely hard to read the Bible by myself, so I think this was the first time I prayed to God clearly that “I want to read the Bible, so please help me understand your word!”...and he did!

The next week, the church warden introduced me to a lovely friend called Ruth who helped me to read the Bible. We decided to do a regular one-to-one Bible study and started reading Mark’s gospel together. After that, God also gave me many Christian friends and families who helped me to read the Bible. I also joined the 20s and 30s Bible study group at the church and the Bible study group at Globe Café! God is so faithful; I was surprised and pleased to have many friends helping me to read the Bible.

The more interaction I had with Jesus, the more it became clear who he is.

>It took me a while to understand “who is Jesus” and “why we need Jesus”. I was fortunate to have Christian friends to whom I could ask many questions. I also think it is important to have good interaction with Jesus, even if you are not sure who he is. The more interaction I had with Jesus, the more it became clear to me who he is. Finally I was able to have a personal relationship with him, which had been missing for a long time.

Water (Mark 16:16)

My Christian journey went on and my feeling became stronger. However, I was not confident enough to say that I had become a Christian and I couldn’t find a chance to announce my change in public. However on March 3rd 2019 I decided to be baptised to announce the beginning of my new life. This was the most memorable day of my life!


Later, I realised many people were praying for me as I was going through the journey of becoming a Christian. Some people might say love and prayer are not important elements for growing a plant, but I believe that they are the most powerful elements in order to grow Christian faith. Thank you so much for praying and let’s keep on encouraging one another!

Back in Japan

After finishing my studies in Exeter I came back to Japan and started going to a local church in Yokohama. I am thankful to God that he also gave me a lovely family back in Japan. Starting from the next school year, I have decided to move to a missionary school in Yokohama so that I can share my wonderful experience of meeting Jesus. Please pray that more people in the younger generations will come to know Jesus.

Part of the Vine

Back during my first visit to St. Leonard's, the sermon was on Isaiah 5, and although I couldn’t understand what the sermon was about, I remember hearing the word ‘vineyard’. Five months later, I was surprised when the same passage was read again, along with John 15. John 15:1 says: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener”; and John 15:5 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

I am so pleased to take part as a ‘branch’... let us bear fruit together!

Anna Moriya, Yokohama, Japan