Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tribute to a Saint and a Dear Friend

I got word today that a dear friend went to be with the Lord. His name is Morse Saito. He was 82 years old when he passed away. He was a true saint.

Morse, a Japanese American, lived through the racism of World War II, during which his family was sent to internment camps in America. After the war he pursued higher education. He spoke often of the challenges he faced during that time. He ended up in Japan as a radio broadcaster and then a professor where he served for many years. It seemed like everybody in Kobe was at one time a student of Morse (it seemed that way!).

He was one of those men who was a student of life and history. He loved to stand up in church services or business meetings to give us historical perspective on what we were doing. He was always kind to me and sought peace with everyone. Anytime he had an issue to raise he presented his concern with Christ-like character and with the humility to listen to differing opinions.

While I was in Kobe we spent hours sitting and talking about history, education, theology, and life in Japan. He was a true encouragement to me while I pastored during a very challenging time. What I remember most is that every single Sunday Morse would meet me in my office. We would chat briefly and then he would bow his head and pray for me. Every Sunday.

He pulled me aside once and said, "The vote to bring you here was 100-3. I was one of the three. I just want you to know, that I changed my mind." That humble and encouraging gesture is what I will always remember about my friend. He was a true treasure in Kobe Union Church. He will be missed. I look forward to some nice long talks with him in glory.


Anonymous Alex Stewart said...

Morse was a "Christian gentleman"; he was fearless - standing up to say his piece in church, as well as to give his peace. He was a sort of 'conscience' of the church as well. There was no malice in him. His presence will be sorely missed by those who return from time to time to the church and look for points of continuity; Morse was above all the dependable presence. As you say, Mark, we will see him in Glory where he will be shining brightly!

9:43 AM  

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