Missionary Stories of Souls Saved

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by John of Japan, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Do you suppose it is time for more of my stories from the mission field of Japan? Sure, why not?

    I'll be telling the stories of some who trusted Christ as Savior here in Japan, and maybe from other mission fields as I look through my extensive library of missions biographies and other books. By all means, if you are a missionary, or know a missionary, or have read of souls being saved through missionaries, please add your story.

    For that matter, feel free to tell stories of people being saved anywhere in the world, including the homeland! All glory to Jesus! :type:
     
    #1 John of Japan, Feb 7, 2008
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  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    First Soul Saved in Japan
    John R. Himes


    I'll never forget the first time I witnessed for Christ in Japanese. It was in 1981, and I had not been in language school for long, studying this extremely difficult language. A lady walked up to me while I was handing out tracts in front of the train station and asked me what I was doing. So I gave her the Gospel the best I could, until she objected to the idea that Jesus is God. Then she brought out a little book which I immediately recognized, because all over the world the Jehovah’s Witnesses have the same type of cover on their books! She said Jesus isn't God, I said He was, but she said He wasn't, so I said, "Honto, honto!" ("It's true, it's true.) Since I had run out of my limited Japanese by then, we had to end it there!

    It was not too long after that, maybe six months into language school when once again I was passing out tracts in front of the train station, and a boy of about ten took one from me. I took out the evangelism chart that we used in those days, showing Heaven and Hell, with the cross in the form of a bridge being the only way to get to Heaven. The burdens on the backs of people in the picture had the Chinese character for sin on them, and only the people who entered the door of the cross could pass across the bridge to Heaven. The little boy listened carefully, then bowed his head to pray with me to the Savior.

    Did he understand? Was he truly trusting Christ? How should I know? I had just used up my entire stack of Japanese grammar, syntax and vocabulary! So I took him to the other side of the station where our senior missionary, the sainted Dr. Jim Norton, was giving the Gospel, and had Dr. Norton talk to him. Praise the Lord, the boy had understood all I said, and told Dr. Norton that he was truly trusting Christ for salvation!

    You know, when Moses objected to God that he couldn’t speak very well, God rebuked him by saying, “Who made your tongue?” The God who made us can loosen our tongues to witness for Him!
     
  3. Sopranette

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    Yay! I so love your stories, John, and I was really hoping for more! Thank you!

    love,

    Sopranette
     
  4. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Happy to please you! :wavey: :type:
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Even in the States



    It has been said that crossing the ocean does not make a person a soul winner. I'm reading the biography of "Borden of Yale" right now. Bill Borden was the extremely rich heir to the Borden Milk Co. many years ago, but after going to Yale he "threw it all away" by going to the mission field, where he died at age 27. But while he was at Yale, he was already doing all he could to win souls to Christ.

    In our case, God gave us a burden for the Japanese early on. After I had started deputation to come to Japan, I heard about some “What Must I Do to be Saved?” tracts in Japanese that a Sword of the Lord worker had found tucked away in a closet. After I picked them up, I stopped at the post office on the way home. There, I got in line next to an Oriental man mailing a package to Tokyo! I ran out to my car, and got back just in time to give him a tract in his own language. The surprise and wonder in his eyes were a joy to behold!

    Not long after, the pastor of a church in Tennessee took me out to a Japanese restaurant. Once again, it was a joy to be able to give tracts to two Japanese waitresses, far from their home country! Imagine their surprise, and that of my pastor friend, whose church, by the way, soon began supporting us monthly.

    In answer to prayer, I received during deputation a Japanese-English New Testament that I was able to use in Michigan to win Miss Takahashi, a Japanese exchange student to Christ! We later had a letter here in Japan from her, then a college student in Tokyo.

    After seemingly ceaseless months of deputation we were ready to leave for the field. We took advantage of an opportunity to witness while we waited in the Los Angeles International Airport. A Japanese man and his family, headed home after a stay in the States, was happy to get a tract in his own language, and a witness in English.

    At long last, we hopped a China Airlines flight on May 4th, 1981, and were on our way to Japan. We had tracts in three languages with us, having been to the Chinese Bible Church in Oakland, California, as one of our last stops. The Chinese man in the seat behind us making funny faces at our baby Paul was shocked into silence by a tract in his own language!

    Be always ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you!
     
  6. abcgrad94

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    Thank you for sharing these. It's encouraging to read!
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You like my stories? I'll just have to write more! :thumbs:
     
  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Language School


    I got up in the morning, all nervous but ready, I thought. It was my first day of Japanese language school. I had breakfast, my wife took me to the train, and then I threw up just as I was getting out of the car. Talk about nervous!

    Two of the best years of my life were doing full time Japanese study at the Tokyo School of the Japanese Language, the oldest and most prestigious language school in Japan. They were also two of the most difficult, since it was 2 hours one way down into Tokyo from where we lived, including riding the hub train at Japanese rush hour--crammed in so tight we could literally hardly move!

    Down in Tokyo, there are "pushers" hired by the train company. No, they don't push drugs, they push people onto the train. Once the crowd on the hub train, the Yamanote ("hand of the mountain") was so thick I was pushed off the train when it wasn't my stop, though I was holding onto the top of the door. Fighting to get back in, I lowered my arms and clobbered a little Japanese "salary man" right on the top of the head with my elbow. He staggered but kept right on going--and this is the elbow I used to break concrete with in Karate demonstrations!

    At the language school I got to know some SBC missionaries and enjoyed their fellowship! We played ping pong ever day, and I would team up with a colonel in the Thai army and others. One Chinese expert ping pong player even took me down to a ping pong store and helped me buy a custom paddle--of course he could whip me 21 to 0. But I digress.

    There were some great opportunities for witness too. I gave Chinese Bibles or tracts to Chinese from Taiwan, the People's Republic, Hong Kong and Singapore. I gave a Thai tract to the colonel, but he returned it--corrected! One young Chinese man was very grateful, and we had many good conversations. He had been sent to Japan by the Chinese government to study art, and he was thrilled to have the Book from which so many famous Western artists got their inspiration! He didn’t trust Christ at that time, but at least he had the Word of God.

    Then one day I gave a Chinese Bible to the young Taiwanese lady who sat next to me in class. She brought it back the next day and handed it back with a shocked look saying, “I can’t take this. It is illegal in Taiwan since it has the simplified Chinese characters that the Communist Chinese government invented!” Nothing daunted I said, “Okay, take this,” and gave her a Chinese tract with the traditional characters. Some time passed. Then one day she said to me, “Thank you so much. I am now going to church every Sunday!” She never told me that she had gotten saved, since her English, my Chinese and our Japanese were not good enough yet. But I could see the joy in her eyes!
     
  9. Rippon

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    And I've got tears in mine reading that JoJ . Thanks .
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    God bless you, brother! :wavey:
     
  11. Bob Alkire

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    These stories of your are great. It shows how often we or should I say me, miss out on sharing the Gospel. Thanks!
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    We would say in Japanese, Ganbatte! Loosely translated, "Do your best.":thumbs:
     
  13. Su Wei

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    Thanks for the sharing, bro JoJ. You should write a book. (Or have you already?)

    Thanks for that Ganbatte too! We need it. So few come through tracting. But we must go.

    Here in Singapore, we pass out tracts that are bi-lingual, English and Chinese, since majority of our population are Chinese, and then the rest can read English.

    As for souls saved, I am sad to say that I have only had the pleasure of leading one soul to Christ, and she has been a lasting fruit, presently serving in our chuch's mission.

    My friend came from an idol worshipping home. Several had shared with her the gospel but finally it was me who brought her to church. She felt the Spirit moving, and she was asking questions like, "Why do I have to pray to receive Christ? Why can't I just "believe"?"

    But finally, at the end of the service, I had the pleasure of praying together with her in a quiet place at church, in tears, she asked Jesus to forgive her sins and come into her heart.

    At that time, she was 19 yrs old. She met with great opposition from her parents when they found out she was a christian and wanted to be baptised. They threatened to disown her and kick her out of the house if she continued. In our asian culture, that is a very, very serious thing.

    An aside: often with chinese ancestral worshippers, the older generation is very opposed to their children not following their ways because that would mean that no one would pray for them when they have moved on to the afterlife. So trapped are they by these fears. (But I'm not saying my friend's family are ancestral worshippers. I've seen a very big altar in their house with an ugly idol sitting there.)

    Anyway, to cut the long story short, she did get baptised, despite the opposition and threats. And last year, more than 10 yrs on, her mother followed her to the church camp! I'm not sure if her mom is saved yet, but praise God! That's one step closer.

    Jia You! THat's in chinese, directly translated, means Add Oil! :thumbs: (Like to keep the car moving.)

    It will be worth it all.
     
    #13 Su Wei, Feb 11, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2008
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thanks for the wonderful story, Su Wei. Praise the Lord! It is sometimes very difficult in Asia, but God is able to save. May your friend's family all be saved, too. :praying:

    All of the stories I have written on the BB go into files on my computer. Maybe someday I'll put them into a book about our ministry and how wonderful God has been here in Japan.

    Currently I'm working on a book called Unsung Christian Soldiers. It's based on two previous threads on the Miisions/Witnessing/Evangelism forum about Unsung Soul Winners and Unknown Missionaries, or titles something like that.
     
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Tokorozawa Revival


    In April of 1983 I was pastoring New Tokorozawa Baptist Church just until the missionary who started it got back from furlough. Being fresh out of language school, I wanted something that would show me that God can work in Japan just as powerfully as in America.

    For our preacher I invited Tom T., a very unusual man who had recently been called to preach, and is still a missionary in Japan. Before being a missionary, though, he was a genuine rocket engineer! Among his credits is a stint as the project engineer of the orbital maneuver engine on the Space Shuttle! At that time he was still working in the Japanese space program.

    I prepared for the special meeting as best as I knew how. Two Sundays before the meeting, I preached on “What is Revival?” from Nehemiah 1. Revival comes through tears, repentance and prayer. The week before, I preached on “Win Your Loved Ones.”

    I went down to the printer to order 6000 leaflets. I had heard that it took about a week to get an order printed, so I went down about 2 weeks before the meeting, planning to give leaflets to my people for distribution the Sunday before. I made a near fatal mistake: I forgot that the next week was the Japanese “Golden Week”, with several national holidays in the same week! I was told that there was no way my order could be printed before the 9th or 10th, the Monday or Tuesday after my target Sunday for distribution.

    The only way out was prayer. I prayed, “Lord, we mean business on this thing, we want to see souls saved. Now, Lord, there may be someone who has an order in to the printer that does not care about souls, but only his own petty program. I pray that you would intervene so that that person’s order is cancelled. Amen.”

    And so it came to pass that on Friday morning, the 6th, I got a call. My order was ready, and would I please come pick it up? I knew that God wanted to work through us! He had clearly intervened in our favor, for his glory!

    It was the final countdown. We began passing out the leaflets. One dear widow, in her sixties and full of spunk, took about 2000 of them, and passed out every one of them. A normal person would have then passed out herself, but, as I said, she’s full of spunk! We got all 6000 out, the last couple of hundred just before the last meeting on Sunday afternoon. And we prayed as we did it. Perspiration and prayer: I guess that would be a good motto, wouldn’t it?

    On Friday, another missionary helped me get out the bulk of the leaflets left, about 1500. And that day I fasted and prayed all day, and studied the Bible, particularly on the subject of the Holy Spirit’s power and heaven-sent revival. The verse God had burdened my heart about was Mark 9:29: “This kind cometh forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.”

    On Friday night Tom and I prayed for ten to be saved. We also prayed specifically for four men to be saved. We have a particular burden for men to be saved in Japan, since grown men to Christ come to church here.

    The first service was on Saturday at 4:30. We had 32 in attendance in that tiny meeting room and two saved! A 64-year-old man who had gone to a mission school as a child but never made a clear profession of faith in Christ was saved. And. a woman who heard the gospel for the first time was led to Christ after the service. In Sunday School the next morning we saw an attendance of 23 and two little girls saved.

    We were especially burdened for Ootsuki San, who had come on Friday night with his Christian Taiwanese wife and two lovely children. During the invitation the Holy Spirit had broken my heart, and weeping. I had gone to his chair and pleaded for him to trust Christ. This was a great shock to him Japanese men never weep in public, since it is a tremendous loss of face. But he did not yield, not that evening.

    The Sunday worship service was a disappointment. Only sixteen came, but we did have two ladies come forward for baptism. At 4:30 Sunday afternoon there were only a few people in our little church, certainly not the six lost people we wanted saved. But we started the Gospel film anyway. It looked impossible for God to answer our prayer for ten salvation decisions. But I smiled to myself and thought, “God delights in doing the impossible.”

    Sure enough, more came during the film, and our total count was forty, more than I had ever seen in the two-year history of our little church. One was Tsurumi San, a member of my English Bible class for whom I had prayed for months! At the invitation, sure enough, Tsurumi San and four others came out for Christ, including one little boy.

    That made a total of nine salvation decisions, including two grown men and a man-in-the-making! Only one man to go. And Ootsuki San had not come. I prayed, “Oh, Father, have you failed to answer our prayer?”

    The week after the meetings I started follow-up work. That Thursday I visited Mrs. Kanabe, one of the ones who came forward for baptism. When I found that she had never made a definite decision to let Christ come in, it took no time at all to lead her to Jesus. That made the tenth decision! But, “I sought for a man....”

    Shortly after, Mrs. Kanabe’s six-year-old son, Gen, decided he wanted to be baptized like Mommy! Patty and I went over to deal with him. When we began talking about Heaven, he excitedly brought over his little electronic game. To win it, you had to escape the demons and climb a ladder into Heaven! Well, it took no time for him to enter the Door into Heaven, Jesus Christ, and there was our fourth man, though just a little man! They were both soon baptized, mother and son. God answers prayer!
     
  16. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    John, I'm not home everyday but when I get home your post here is one of the first place that I go to. Thank you so much brother!
     
  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I'm glad you're blessed! I'm trying to put up one story per every two days or so. Some I have written down from before, some I still have to write.
     
  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    My First Sermon


    We had been in Japan for about eight months, and I felt like I was getting a handle on things. I had witnessed in Japanese and had brief conversations in Japanese. My next big goal was to preach my first sermon in Japanese. The trouble is, looking back I’m not sure when that occurred!

    One day our senior missionary Dr. Jim Norton and I were out doing street evangelism. Dr. Norton parked the car in one neighborhood and proceeded to a vacant lot carrying his big (three feet by two feet) witnessing poster as I tagged along. On one side it had a picture of Christ on the cross, with Scripture beneath it. On the other side it had a witnessing chart originally produced by a missionary to China, depicting Heaven and Hell, with people walking around with the burden of sin on their backs, some of them falling off a cliff into Hell.

    There was a great gulf between Heaven and earth over Hell, and only a bridge could span it. One group of people were trying to build a inadequate bridge to Heaven using planks labeled with good works, but the only true way to Heaven was a bridge with the door being the cross of Christ. Various Scriptures were on the chart.

    At the vacant lot, immediately a group of kids from all around the neighborhood gathered around us saying, “Gaijin, gaijin!” This is the word for foreigner, literally meaning “outsider.” In those days in Japan it was quite easy to get a crowd of kids to gather around simply by being a foreigner, but nowadays they spend their time indoors around their computer games. Dr. Norton said to the kids, “Would you like to know what this chart means?” They all enthusiastically assented, at which point Dr. Norton said, “This man will explain it.” Then he shoved the chart in my hands and walked off!

    In shell shock, I stumbled through the various pictures and verses on the chart, then urged the kids that if they trusted Christ in their hearts He would save them from Hell. They all bowed their heads in prayer with me, after which Dr. Norton showed up from wherever he had been hiding! He talked to the kids about my street preaching, then assured me that they all had understood! Thus I preached my first “unofficial” sermon. I truly hope that some child will be in Heaven because of that stumbling effort.

    Well, that wasn’t really what I had in mind for my first sermon, though it was a great experience. So I began preparing for my first “official” sermon. I wrote out my message on the meaning of the Gospel according to 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, then turned it in to my unsaved teacher at the Tokyo School of the Japanese language, and she graciously corrected it for me.

    The big day came after we had been on the field of Japan for exactly one year and three days. I preached my message at the New Tokorozawa Baptist Church in the city of Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, on May 9, 1982, and two junior high boys trusted Jesus Christ as Savior! Shortly after that, Dr. Norton went on furlough, and I then spent a year as interim pastor of that same church, my first pastorate.
     
  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    First Adult Saved in Yokohama


    In 1983 I graduated from language school and we began praying about where in Japan to serve God: with Dr. Jim Norton there in Tokorozawa, in the city of Ogose at the foot of the Japan Alps, which had no Gospel witness, or in Yokohama. Our Christian insurance agent, Mr. Oizumi, had invited us to Yokohama, saying he would join us in a church-planting effort there.

    I remember once trying to pray all night, thinking that the Lord would honor such an effort with His guidance. I lasted until about 3:30! But one day God guided through my personal devotions, as He has at other crucial times in my life. I read on May 30, 1983 in Deuteronomy chapters 1 to 3 how God told the Israelites to go up out of the land (1:21), not to go to the cities in the mountains (2:37), cross the river (2:24). He promised a home to the Israelites (1:33), and promised them success. Thus I believed God wanted us to leave Tokorozawa, do not move to Ogose, but cross the Tama River, a wide river that lay between us and Yokohama.

    We went on a survey trip to Yokohama, checked out a couple of realtors, and finally had one show us a little four room apartment. Patty had been praying for two things: no cockroaches (she's a Yankee girl) and an American style toilet. This apartment fit all of her prayers! We rented it, taking it as an answer to prayer. And we never saw a cockroach while we lived there except for once when one flew in from outside.

    Shortly after that we moved to Yokohama, at three million people the second largest city in Japan. We invited the Oizumi family over to celebrate, and we waited for them. And waited, and waited, and they never arrived. So I called and learned a sad fact. Mrs. Oizumi had nixed her husband’s decision. She wasn’t about to leave the church she loved and start a new one with some foreigner she didn’t know!

    As much as I enjoyed language school, the move caught me unprepared, especially after the Oizumi fiasco. I realized that I had no idea what I was doing, no clue as to how to start a church. I sank into depression bad enough that a psychiatrist might have diagnosed me with clinical depression and started force feeding me pills. I wasn’t quite as badly off as Adoniram Judson, who after his wife died dug a grave in the woods, and would sit for hours gazing at it and wishing he was in it. But to my family it was bad enough.

    I took to going to a park to study and pray with my Bible and R. A. Torrey’s book on the Holy Spirit: Who He Is and What He Does. In the meantime I slowly came to myself, and eventually realized one thing absolutely necessary for starting a church. The church planter must win souls to Christ. So I picked up 10,000 free tracts, got a rubber stamp made and began passing them out door to door. In Japan it is legal to put literature in mailboxes, and since that was a pretty safe way to do it in my emotional condition I did that.

    One day I came to a very nice apartment building with the sign, “If you have no business here, do not enter.” I saw that sign and in my fear thought, “I could get in trouble if I put tracts in these mailboxes.” So I skipped the building.

    Praying in the park not too long after that I read R. A. Torrey’s conditions for being filled with the Holy Spirit: (1) Accept Jesus as Savior. (2) Renounce all sin. (3) Openly confess Christ before the world. (4) Surrender your will to God. (5) Thirst for God’s power. (6) Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. (7) Believe that you have been filled.

    That day I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I didn’t speak in tongues, I didn’t have a great feeling of excitement, I just claimed the promises of God. Shortly after that I went out on evangelism and came to the same apartment building I had been afraid of entering before. I saw the very same sign but said, “God sent me here!” I went in and got a Gospel tract into every apartment.

    Shortly after that we had a phone call from a Mrs. Matsumoto, who wanted to know more about Christ. We went to visit here and found out that she lived in that very apartment building! In no time at all she had trusted Christ as Savior and joined us with her little girl Megumi (“Grace”) worshipping in our home every Sunday and then for quite awhile after we rented a building.! I’ll never forget how cute Megumi was when she said “Amen” at the end of every prayer. And that sums it up—AMEN!!
     
    #19 John of Japan, Feb 17, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2008
  20. Tom Bryant

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    This is a great encouragement to witness. Like someone said, you ought to write a book. Thanks!
     

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