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A Heartwarming Story is Born from a Lucky Encounter

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The CEO of Second Harvest Japan, Mr. McJilton, received a sad but heartwarming letter from a couple he married while working as a priest. The letter brought tears to the eyes of Second Harvest Japan’s staff members. We received permission to put the letter on our website, and would like to share it with you. The letter makes one think about the many encounters that living in this small world brings, and makes one appreciate the support received from many thoughtful people.


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Dear Mr. Charles McJilton and Second Harvest Japan:

On April 182012, we, Kazuo Yoshinaga and Keiko Morishita (names changed for privacy), made a 1,000,000 JPY contribution to your Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank’s account.

I got married 8 years ago on April 18, 2004, and it was Mr. Charles McJilton who married my husband and myself. You may not remember, but we were Kouji Morishita and Keiko Ikeno (names changed for privacy) at the time of wedding.

Although my in-laws are both healthy and well, my father passed away a year before the wedding, and so I walked down the aisle with my older brother. My mother also passed away three years after my wedding due to illness. On the day of the wedding, she had to be seated while signing the marriage papers, since she could not stand for long periods of time.

My mother has a younger brother, Kazuo Yoshinaga, who had been living in Honolulu since he was 19 years old. He flew from Honolulu to attend my wedding, despite the fact that he was sick with a cold and had a fever. After my mother’s death, we stayed very close through letters and phone calls and he thanked me for nursing his sister at home. Unfortunately, my uncle Kazuo passed away due to sudden illness two years ago in February at his home in Honolulu. After his death, my brother and I inherited his estate, since he had no children and left no will. He always treated me like I a daughter, even though we only saw each other once every few years. After I inherited his estate, I wished that I had been able to do more for him while he was alive, and regret even now that there is nothing more that I can do for him.

Traveling was the only hobby he loved, and he traveled to many different places with his best friend. However, after his best friend’s death 10 years ago, he stopped traveling. He also had a hard time while living in Japan. His family was poor and was used to living frugally. When I saw him, he would always say “I’m tired, I’m really tired,” yet he worked hard to save money for retirement. He looked forward to relaxing and enjoying a slow paced life after he retired.

After retirement and 6 months before his death, he came to visit Japan the first time since my wedding. At that time, I had my second child, so he came to my house to visit and when he arrive he proclaimed happily,  “I can finally relax now. I quit smoking and started jogging everyday around Waikiki.” When I heard this, I was relieved and told him that “it’s a good thing that you worked so hard for all those years.”

No one, including my uncle himself, ever thought that he would suddenly pass away 6 months later. Like my mother, my uncle passed away at the very beginning of the retired life he had so looked forward to. The whole situation made me so angry that those 60 years of a hard work and a frugal lifestyle was for nothing. His job did not pay him a high salary, so I know that it must have taken him a lot effort to save up as much money as he had saved.

Even though I legally and rightfully inherited my uncles estate, I wondered and worried whether using these savings for my children was morally acceptable. Even if I leave these savings for my children, and even if I tell about how wonderful a man their uncle was, I don’t think that they would appreciate the value of money left by behind by a man that they had never met. Then I remembered Mr. McJilton’s occupation. About 6 to 7 years ago, when my husband was watching a TV show, he suddenly said “isn’t that the priest from our wedding?”  My husband and I watched the special featuring Mr.  McJilton’s “Food Bank.” Mr. McJilton had met my uncle at my wedding. I thought that if I entrusted this money to Mr. McJilton, he would use it to support and help many people. Although I do not understand the mysterious way of religion, I thought that perhaps a coincidence like this might be an opportunity from God. Hence, I made a bank transfer today, on the 8th anniversary of me meeting Mr. McJilton, and marrying my husband.

I am sorry for such a long letter, but I wanted you to know about me and my uncle’s wishes and the story behind this contribution. Thank you for reading this letter. I will continue to support your work and good luck in the future.

Thanks to Mr. McJilton, I am living happily with a kind and faithful husband and two sons, 6 and 3 year old.


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