Aiko Takeda Receives Bishop's Award
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño awarded Aiko Takeda from Palm UMC a 2017 Bishop's Award. In nominating her, Pastor Craig Yoshihara wrote:
"Aiko Takeda is one of the mostly Godly women I know.
She is humble, kind, giving, devoted (to God and the church), sweet, and with a heart for service. At nearly 90 years of age, she is still full of energy, wit, and wisdom. Within the church, she is the co-chair of our Missions Committee which won an award for missions service in 2014. Our Missions Committee hosts a donation lunch about once a month which she not only helps to coordinate, but also cooks and cleans afterward.
Aiko also coordinates and cooks for our annual Ozoni Breakfast we host at the church on the 2nd Sunday of every year which is a traditional Japanese soup that welcomes in the New Year. She comes in days before to wash the bowls and make sure everything is ready and then comes in extra early the day of the event. In addition to those things, she is our organist and has played regularly in worship for many, many years. She also loves to lead the singing of our praise songs during worship and is the Choir Director for holidays and special occasions. On top of that, she is also the chief organist for all the funerals we’ve had at the church. She is a founding member of the Prayer Group we currently have and has been a faithful attender of our regular Sermon Bible Study. In the past, Aiko has also served as PPRC chair.
If her service to the church wasn’t enough, Aiko does MANY things outside the church in service to God as well. She started a flower arranging group (in Japanese called Ikebana) which is a form of Japanese art that was taught to her by her mother-in-law. Many people in the community come and attend her class including people of other faiths. Every year, this group puts together an Annual Boutique whose funds go toward Open Gate Ministries (a transitional housing shelter and food pantry in Dinuba) and a youth group in Reedley, CA our neighboring town. She also volunteers regularly and weekly for Open Gate Ministries in their thrift store to help support them. She does all the flower arrangements for the quarterly Open Gate dinners and sells the arrangements for additional fundraising for the ministry. She does this in addition to the Ikebana class. On top of that she finds time to offer people rides to church and tend to their needs. She regularly visits people in hospitals, takes people food and flowers, and is trying to start a ministry to sing carols to our local hospice and recovery care facility. She does all of this with an air of humility and love of neighbor.
When our home caught fire, Aiko was the first one to offer to bring food and then on top of that told us to keep all the Pyrex and Tupperware she brought it in, knowing we were without anything at the time. She is without doubt one of God’s finest examples of service I know. I hope to have her kind of faith and dedication as my legacy."