Going on a mission – Hiatus
──Did you go out on a mission right after you graduated from high school?
Orangestar (O)：No. After graduating from high school, I came back to Japan and played music for about a year and a half. I made my second album in that year and a half, and after releasing it, I did a tiny live show and that was the end of my activities.
──So it was like you graduated from high school, devoted yourself to music for a year and a half, and then your mission.
O: That year and a half was really a year and a half of just doing music, so I felt quite satisfied with myself.
──I see, so you felt you had done it all.
O: I had always planned to go on my mission, so I thought it was time. The timing was right, and I also wanted to do something new for a change.
──Has your faith in God and your personal testimony never wavered throughout your childhood?
O: That was not the case. I was pretty much pulled along by my family, M.B., and others. One of the reasons I became a missionary was because my older brother, who had gone on his mission before me, seemed to enjoy it more than I had ever seen him before, and that had a big influence on me. I didn’t start out with the intention of preaching the gospel,but I thought it would definitely be nicer if I went on my mission.
──How did you feel when the call to serve as a missionary actually came and you opened the letter?
O: Yes, of course I could have gone anywhere, but if it were in Japan, I wanted to go to Fukuoka, or if overseas, I wanted to go to a warm place in California, and when I opened it, it said Riverside Mission in California, which made me happy.
──It’s strange, isn’t it, because you don’t get to choose. How was the missionary life?
O: Yes, it was still difficult at first.
──Hmmm…yes, that’s true.
O: I was the only Japanese missionary there who started by learning English, so no matter how hard I tried, I was always one step behind everyone else, and I didn’t feel like I was doing as good a job as everyone else. I knew it wasn’t something to compare myself to, but I often felt very hard on myself and depressed. But I’m glad that I was very strong in overcoming my challenges, or that I had that much more opportunity to rely on the gospel.
──That’s right. When you are lonely or facing various challenges, you think, pray, and rely on God, and you think about your mission and what you can do.
O: That’s right. I was not a positive person at all to begin with, but the more I understood the gospel, the more I realized that I could turn to the positive at any time and from any situation at my own will, and that helped me a lot during my mission.
──That was a wonderful experience!
Recuperation Period – Life on the Island
──Thank you very much. Now I would like to hear from Kase.
Kase (K) :After I left high school, I stayed home for a while to recuperate, and when I turned 18 I started to get a little better and my mother introduced me to a small island where I stayed for a few months. I met many people in hospitals and various other places.
──An island! How was life then?
K: It was so peaceful and rich in nature that I wanted to live here forever.
It was my first time living alone, so I struggled with housework.I spent most of my time at the beach, sketching and thinking about painting while looking out at the ocean.
When I sat on the beach all the time, people who passed by would talk to me. They would give me big rice balls, let me touch their dogs, and I never felt lonely even though I lived alone. Almost all of the islanders knew each other, so the atmosphere on the island itself was very homey. It was a place where common sense and sensibilities were entrenched which was different from the world I had come from, and I felt very comfortable with that.
──What do you mean by peace of mind?
K: Until then, I had thought that school was my whole world, and as a result, I had felt a sense of shame that I could not fit in there, but I was relieved to realize for the first time that there were actually many other places I could fit in even if I left school.
──Yes, that’s right!
(To be continued next time)
We all have times when life seems pitch-black or when we cannot see the light within ourselves. In the last part of the interview, we would like to hear more about the messages that have supported both of you at such times and your experiences of finding hope through the gospel. Thank you for reading this far. Please look forward to the next installment.