40 Years in America

Tyler O. Hendricks

Dr. Tyler Hendricks with Peter Gogan and a parent

In 1974, my fundraising team leader, Mr. Makoto Tsujumura, dropped me off in a parking lot, out of which I was kicked within a few minutes. It was in the countryside and I completed a small housing development door-to-door in about half an hour, and went back and sat on a hill above the parking lot to wait for Mr. Tsujumura’s return. Well, I dozed off and the afternoon wore on without my seeing him. I was struggling mightily in my heart -- should I return to the parking lot and begin fundraising again?

One side of me said, "Have courage and boldness -- return to the lot!" The other side said, "Be a good boy; the management does not want you there." Oh, the inner turmoil as I sat and the precious hours of my one and only life on earth dragged by, second by second, blow by blow, heartbeat by heartbeat. As I sat, rooted into the dirt, I heard this voice -- "you lazy coward, you’re happy that you have an excuse not to fundraise, aren’t you?"

Finally, Mr. Tsujumura arrived. It was around 7 pm and I told him my sad story, expecting him to whisk me off to another location. Far from it! "You stay and fundraise here and Igarashi-san can join you!" Knock me down with a feather! I watched the van pull away, turned around, and saw Mr. Tadashi Igarashi fundraising RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE DOOR! He was acting as if he were from the local Elks Club. And of course he was; he was from something far more "local" than that.

He had no concepts. He displayed courage and boldness.

Numbed by the day’s inner struggle and what my captain had just done, I froze in my tracks as I watched Mr. Igarashi. A moment later, I realized that I had been tearing a piece of paper into tiny pieces and letting them fall to the ground. Not wanting to leave a mess, I stooped down to pick up these tiny pieces of paper, one by one, one by one, each little piece. As I did, the words "God’s Heart" came to me and I started to cry. I couldn’t stop crying. I just cried and cried and cried and it was uncontrollably loud.

I made my way over to the dark side of the building and sobbed against the wall. Mr. Igarashi came over and I said, between sobs, that I was all right, it’s okay. And he went back to his fundraising.

And the police came. Not to stop him from fundraising, but to check out the reports they’d received about this guy crying. Mr. Igarashi came over and told them that I was having a religious experience. Good old American cops -- they thanked Mr. Igarashi for his service and left me to my religious experience. I wonder what they put in their evening report. My result that day was about $12.00 and an ocean of tears.

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