Missionary Christmas story

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by John of Japan, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Do you have a story of Christmas on a mission field? Or maybe a special story of how God blessed with a wonderful victory on Christmas in the States?

    I was looking through my "stack of stuff" and found a story I wrote in December 1983 about the unusual Christmas we had and how God did a wonderful thing that day. I never submitted it anywhere, but I have scanned it in, and you Baptist Board folk will be the first ever to read it.

    God bless!

    John R. Himes
    Asahikawa, Japan
     
    #1 John of Japan, Dec 20, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2006
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    A CHILD OF LOVE BORN AGAIN


    By John R. Himes


    It was 9:40 A. M., December 24th, 1983. United Flight 81 was having trouble with a frozen fuel pump because of the record-breaking cold. Strange as it may seem, this seemingly small event was to have a bearing on the eternal destiny of a soul in Tokyo, Japan, many thousands of miles away.

    In Yokohama it was already 11:00 that evening, and I was settling down for the night, “all snug in my cap,” so to speak, after a long day. I had just gotten out that afternoon the last of 14,000 Christmas tracts, and was rejoicing in a phone call from one of the recipients of the 1215 gotten out that day.

    Patty and Paul, my wife and three-year-old bundle of energy and questions, were in America where Patty had attended the funeral of her dear grandmother in Lansing, Michigan. Grandma had passed away so suddenly, but we were thankful that God in His infinite love had provided a way for Patty to make it back in time for the funeral.

    As I lay snug under the electric blanket, I mused over the events of that day and the coming one. Mrs. Matsumoto, our first adult convert in this suburb of southern Yokohama, had brought me over a delicious supper: a rice dish, sandwiches, cake, oh, so much more than even I could eat. She was growing so fast in the Lord. Saved just over a month, she had already read her New Testament through twice, as well as several Christian books I had loaned her.

    Her husband was not yet saved, but his heart had been touched by the change in her life. He told her in no uncertain terms that she was to cook a meal and take it over to that missionary! I felt so badly that I had to cancel the service the next morning, but so far she and her two-year-old daughter were the only ones coming, and it would hardly do for just the three of us to have a worship service, so I had taped a few Christmas carols for her and given her a sermon tape by Pastor Maruyama, a BJU graduate.

    My thoughts drifted to the next day. “Let me see, if I leave about 11:00 A. M., after my own private church service, I can stop in Sakuragicho in central Yokohama, grab a bite, then take that other train line into Tokyo. Patty’s plane comes in at 6:00, so I should have plenty of time to catch the train to “Narita” (Tokyo International Airport) at Ueno Station in Tokyo.”

    The next day, Christmas Day, found me at Ueno Station, waiting for the express train to the airport. I was a little startled when a middle-aged lady approached me and said, “Please, do you speak Japanese?” Normally, an American in Tokyo is approached so directly by a Japanese stranger when said Japanese wants to practice English conversation! And the question asked in that case is much different! In fact, the only time I had been approached in a similar way was by a member of the “Spirit of Jesus Church” (a charismatic cult) who wanted to teach me to speak in tongues! You can understand why I was a little wary!

    However, this case was entirely different! Mrs. Aiko Kojima really did want help in getting to the airport, where she wanted to see off a couple of young Americans, Mormon missionaries in fact, from her neighborhood. She was supposed to have met them at Ueno, but had been late. She had rarely been away from her home, but she bravely decided to strike out for the airport on her own. She bought her ticket and went through the gate. But a Tokyo train station can be very confusing. The array of platforms, rails, signs trains and conductors can be bewildering to one who doesn’t “know the ropes” or rails!

    Why had she come to me, a foreigner, for help? There were so many Japanese, including station workers, around. What she told me later was that there had been something calm and peaceful about me as she saw me standing, waiting. Oh, no, let’s not give any glory to me for that. As I told her, it was not I me, but the calm and peaceful Holy Spirit dwelling within me that she sensed.

    As she said, though, it was fushigi (strange) that she should approach me, a missionary, since she had just gone to church for only the fourth time in her life just that morning! The train bumped and rumbled along as I opened my New Testament to John and began explaining to her how the Creator had seen the sad condition of Man, and sent His Son, born on Christmas day so long ago, to die for our sins, and how He had risen on the third day.

    Then Mrs. Kojima did something very unusual for a Japanese person: she wept in public. As she sat on the creaking, moving train with a foreigner, surrounded by other Japanese, she said, “Can Jesus change a husband, too?” Tears came to her eyes as she told the sad, old story of a drinking husband, and how their fights were getting worse and worse, and of her fears and heartbreak.

    It was such a simple thing to ask her to bow her head on the train and silently pour her heart out to God. After she had raised her head, and 1 saw the new light in her eyes, I said, “Are you truly believing now?”

    She replied, “Yes, and I will until I die!” The rest of that trip was like the reunion of two old friends, separated for many years. The fellowship was sweet, for the same Spirit reigned in both hearts that Christmas Day.

    I asked for her address, and found out that she was just a short ride by train from a good church which I told her about. Of course, continuing the process of follow-up, I gave her name and address to that good pastor.

    At the airport train station, we parted ways. She was headed for “Departures” and I was headed for “Arrivals.” At Narita Airport, “Arrivals” is on the first floor and “Departures” on the fourth, with an elevated roadway leading to it. After checking in on the fourth, one must descend to the second floor to board his flight. So we reluctantly parted and rode separate buses to the terminal.

    (to be continued)
     
    #2 John of Japan, Dec 20, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2006
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    A Child of Love Born Again, Part 2

    Even as I sit at my typewriter, I hear the phone ringing. It is Mrs. Kojima calling to say she was just in time to see her young American friends off, and to thank me for leading her to our wonderful Christ Jesus. She expresses a firm intent to study the Bible and learn more about Him.

    However, we left me at the airport on Christmas Day, waiting for my beloved wife and son. They were supposed to be on Singapore Airlines, Flight 11. I gazed eagerly at every face that came through customs, but nowhere did I see them. An hour passed, surely enough time for them to get through customs even here at an airport notoriously tight on security.

    In desperation I went to the information, desk, and there they told me where to find the passenger list, compiled in Los Angeles before the flight. I ran a finger down the list. Sure enough, it said “Himes,” right there. I went back and eagerly looked again until the announcement board indicated that Singapore Flight 11 has been disembarked for quite awhile.

    Three desks later I stood in front of a kind, uniformed employee hearing unbelievingly that no one named Himes had been on Flight 11. Still hoping, I rushed back and forth, checking every flight to come from Los Angeles that evening, and even the flights from New York and other American cities, but with no results to cheer my aching heart.

    That evening, Christmas evening, as I rode a lonely “Limousine Bus” that went straight to Yokohama, even the beautifully lit Tokyo Tower standing amid the myriad lights of that great city failed to rate more than a two second glance. What could have gone wrong? Were Patty and Paul somehow stranded in Los Angeles in that huge, unfriendly airport? Or did they even get away from Detroit? The American Armed Forces Radio Network had said on the news how bad the weather had been. Was that the problem?

    When I reached home late that night, all of my frustration and loneliness erupted in bitter tears. I could hardly see to light our kerosene heater. The presents under our plastic tree remained unwrapped, and the lights stayed dark, for Christmas is a time for sharing. Yet the words kept ringing through my heart and mind: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” And Japan is certainly the end of the world from America, if you can imagine a globe having two ends.

    I dragged a futon (Japanese sleeping mat) downstairs next to the phone, and an electric blanket with it, hoping against hope that I would get a call from the States during the night. I had tried calling myself, but in Michigan folks had already left for church. There was one problem, though, besides that: nowhere in the house had I been able to find the phone number of Patty’s folks. Patty always dialed from memory!

    The next morning, though, I had a bright idea. I rummaged through a tract from Patty’s home church. After calculating the time n Michigan I realized that the evening service was just about to start in Lansing, Michigan. I feverishly dialed the internationa1 operator, then felt tremendous relief as I heard Patty’s mother explain that my wife and son were stranded in Los Angeles. A frozen fuel pump on United Airlines Flight 81 in Detroit had delayed the airplane by two hours, so that they had missed their connection with Singapore Airlines Flight 11 by just five minutes!

    We celebrated Christmas two days late in 1983 in Japan--as a family, that is. My mind, goes back to Christmas morning. On the way to Tokyo’s Ueno Station I had briefly thought how wonderful it would be if I could lead someone to Christ on His birthday, and so give Him the gift He covets most of all: a soul to help make up His Bride. A spell of terribly cold weather in America, a frozen fuel pump on an airliner, a connecting flight missed by just five minutes, no word from the States to prevent me from meeting Flight 11, a Japanese lady late for an appointment: all these things worked together so that a soul could be reborn on Christmas Day on the mission field. Truly, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

    Oh, yes. Mrs. Kojima’s given name is “Aiko,” which means “A Child of Love.” Praise be to the Savior of love Who sent His own “Child of Love” to be born on Christmas Day, becoming a Man to die for all, so that 1985 years or so later, another “Child of Love” could be born again!
     
  4. Servent

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    Thank you for sharing, my heart is always touched when someone comes to know the Lord, but on Christmas day that is special.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    It was a very sweet time--in the sense of our sweet Holy Spirit, of course, not the modern slang "sweet." :jesus:
     
  6. Gwen

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    How exciting to see God's hand in the circumstances of her salvation! Thanks, Bro. John for sharing this Sweet Story of Old with this lady. I'm looking forward to meeting her in heaven some day.
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Amen sister!:saint:
     
  8. kubel

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    Awesome story, I really enjoyed that. It's a perfect example of Romans 8:28! Thanks for sharing it with us!
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Amen! :godisgood:
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    This year in Japan has been interesting and blessed. It is our first Christmas without our beloved co-workers, who retired from the field (but not from God's work) in the fall. But we still had a Christmas fellowship with our other co-workers from across town, and had a fun time. The kids literally screamed with delight when we gave them a DVD they had been wanting. Their Mom (knowing we had it) set them up by saying, "Kids, Mr. and Mrs. Himes are getting older now and haven't had kids at home for a long time. They may not know what kids like nowadays. So don't be disappointed by what they get you."

    On the 16th we had a Christmas party at our home for our church folk. Patty made American style "sloppy joes" which, believe it or not, went well with the sushi Mrs. Fujii brought! Mrs. Fujii is a lady in our neighborhood who I met while out getting out tracts. We started out with supper together, then had a game I put together of "Pin the Ornament on the Christmas Tree," which folks seemed to enjoy and the kids wanted to do twice. And of course they made the pastor do it twice, too! After that we had games going of "Mexican Train Dominos" and "Aggravation." At the end of the Aggravation game Soya, a little boy who has had a rough year, gave me a great big hug, something Japanese kids don't usually do!

    On the 21st we visited an old folks' home where live the parents of Ueno San, one of our members. We were able to get out a few Christmas tracts there as well as talk to Mr. and Mrs. Ueno for awhile.

    On the 22nd I went to the Christmas program of a kindergarten near our church where they had invited me to tell the true meaning of Christmas. It is a blessing to do this every year! This year was more of a madhouse than usual, what with neighborhood folk and their kids being invited too (a ploy to get new students). Two of the kindergarten crumb-grabbers got in a knock-down, drag-out fight, with loud voices and swinging fists! [​IMG] During all of this hulabaloo I did my best to tell about how Christ came down to be born a baby and bring peace to our hearts.

    Our Christmas service on Sunday was a blessing. Mrs. Fujii went with us to church, the first time she had ever been in a Christian church! She said she is searching for something, so please pray that she will trust Christ as Savior. At the end of my message on how Christ came as the light of the world, we turned out the lights and sang "Silent Night" to candlelight.

    Christmas Day was leisurely and fun. We stuffed ourselves on the delicious ham dinner Patty made, with cherry and apple pie for dessert. Man, that woman makes a great pie! This morning (the 26th) we called our son who is in seminary in PA. It was great talk to him. My how we miss him.

    And that was Christmas in Japan this year.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. El_Guero

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    Which one won the fist fight?

    :saint:
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    The little knee-biter on the right got in the last blow before the teachers separated them. [​IMG]

    In the meantime, the little girl who was the MC just kept right on talking! [​IMG]
     

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