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Nizhizaka Hill is the place in Nagasaki, Japan where the 26 martyrs were executed on 15 February 1597, 400 years ago. They went to their deaths singing Psalm 113. Paul Miki was preaching. Contrary to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the ruler of Japan’s expectation the Christians’ faith was strengthened.

Amongst them was a young boy, Thomas Kosaki, was crucified for being a Christian with his father. He wrote to his mother a letter while on his way to martyrdom: "Mother, we are supposed to be crucified tomorrow in Nagaski. Please do not worry about anything, because we will be waiting for you to come to heaven. Everything in the world vanishes like a dream. Be sure that you never lose the happiness of heaven. Be patient and show love to many people. Most of all, about my little brothers Mansho and Philipo, please see to it that they are not delivered into the hands of the Gentiles. Mother, I commit you to the Lord." What a witness in the face of terrible persecution. But Thomas Kosaki had built his life on a firm foundation.

(SOURCE: from a sermon by Ajai Prakash, "Dare to Take A Stand" 7/18/08)

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