My name’s G. and I’m a Catholic from Singapore. I’m currently residing in Sendai, Japan for my University studies. I have been attending mass in the Motoderakoji Catholic Church (Sendai Diocese Cathedral) here in Sendai for the past 3 years.

Through the many activities of the youth group here in the cathedral, I have had opportunities to come into contact with, and interact with people from various backgrounds. The friends I made from Hearts Home (心の港) were also made through the youth group activities here.

Hearts home introduced me to various volunteer activities such as soup kitchens; where we make and hand out food to those who need it, cleaning and cooking for those who require help, and much more. Hearts home thus provides a welcoming environment for both Japanese and Internationals. Gatherings held in Hearts home are always fun and conversations are never idle. If the gatherings run late, they welcome me to stay over at their home after the gatherings, and the next day we pray and attend church together.

One of the volunteers in Hearts home Sendai is also from Singapore, to me it feels as if a part of home is here with me in a country that is foreign. It makes life here much more fun as we are able to introduce and share our culture to others through cooking and baking together. We were baking pineapple tarts with our Argentinian friend for the Chinese Lunar New Year. Through the process, we introduced our country and customs during this festival. It was both an educational and enriching experience.

The presence of Hearts home here in Sendai is an integral part of the support system many people benefit from. This is especially so for those who were affected by the big earthquake in 2011. Though it has been 5 years, there are still many that require support and Hearts home provide the emotional support they need.

I am happy to be volunteering with Hearts home, though I’m not an official Hearts home volunteer, they always make me feel welcomed and it is a pleasure to have friends like them.