Unusual Soul Winners

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by John of Japan, May 24, 2006.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Have you known someone unusual who witnessed faithfully for Christ? I am convinced that many of those with the biggest rewards in Heaven will not be us pastors or missionaries, but those who were faithful in spite of handicaps or problems. Here is the story of one such person I was privileged to know many years ago. It is from my book The Making of a Soul Winner.

    A SPECIAL SOUL WINNER!
    On a brisk January day I was paired with Larry to go on bus visitation. One thing makes Larry different from others whom I have been visiting with—Larry is blind. On that chilly day God blessed our efforts, and a boy named Rodney was saved. But how touched my heart was by Larry, who wanted so much to win souls.

    Let me explain what it is like to go visiting with a blind man. He must take your arm and be led by your eyes, for he cannot know where to go without help. When you walk up steps, he can feel you step up, and so he knows where to step also.

    Unintentionally, I played a trick on Larry. We came to a sidewalk that was covered with water, and so I stepped up onto a low wall by the sidewalk to escape the water. Larry wondered where I had gone, and was left trying to find the steps he thought I was walking up. We both laughed after he found out that he had been lifting his foot to find steps that weren’t there!

    How much is the soul winner like a blind man! Our efforts are worthless without the Holy Spirit to guide our stumbling feet. We would fall time and time again without His power. When we are left powerless because of sin in our lives, soul winning becomes a hopeless cause, doomed to the sad mockery of failure.

    Later in the day, Larry and I talked to the city judge of Smyrna, Tennessee. Larry, in his eagerness to give the Gospel, pulled a New Testament from his pocket and said to the judge, “Here, open this to where the marker is and read what it says, and you will find out how to be saved!” And I took Larry’s Testament to show to the judge while Larry spoke of eternal life.

    If only all Christians were like Larry! We must give God’s Word to the sinner and let the Holy Spirit drive it into his heart, convicting of sin and bringing salvation to hungry souls.
     
  2. On the Edge

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    Incredible...A blind man who is more willing to share his faith than those who have their earthly sight.
     
  3. mima

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    John of Japan: O what a wonderful inspiring story. And your statement that we must give God's Word to the sinners and let the Holy Spirit drive it into his heart, convicting of sin and bringing salvation to hungry souls is literally a perfect description of soulwinning. Many would be soulwinners flail to realize that conviction and soulwinning is the work of the Holy Spirit. We call ourselves soulwinners and rightly so, but what we could in fact call ourselves us messengers for it is the job of the soulwinner to deliver the message and let the Holy Spirit work his will!!!
     
  4. John of Japan

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    Amen, men. You liked my story so I'll give you another. :cool:

    Boone Helfrich was in his 90's when I met him. He was a bachelor all of his life, but he did something important for most of his life, and that was give the Gospel. He was saved in his 20's through a tract that I have never seen anywhere else. Boone had that tract printed up with his own money, and distributed it for the rest of his life--over 70 years!! (I once had a copy of this tract from him, but I can't find it. It was a good, long one.)

    I first met Boone because he lived at a Christian retirement home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, when I worked for the Sword of the Lord before coming to Japan. We also both went to Franklin Road Baptist Church.

    I went on door-to-door evangelism with this good man when he was in his 90's. He had slowed down considerably by then, though he stayed fit with a set of exercise every morning, including pushups and situps, which would put many a younger man to shame. I remember one day going through some apartments with two doors upstairs and two downstairs. I would get my two doors upstairs and then knock on one downstairs before Boone could get to it!

    Boone had poor balance due to inner ear problems and it bothered him, but not how you would think. He said to me, "John, do you think I should quit visitation? I stagger when I walk, and someone might think I was drunk!" Boone was deeply concerned about his testimony for Christ! Or course I immediately told him, "No, Boone, don't quit. Just keep on visiting for Jesus!"

    Boone's burden was not just local, either. He was burdened for souls worldwide. My wife and I were newly married, on deputation to come to Japan and thus pretty poor. Boone on several occasions gave us a couple of bags of groceries to help us through. Several years after we arrived in Japan we heard that Boone had gone on to his reward in Heaven. I can only imagine how many people met him at the gate to say thank you for leading them to Christ!
     
  5. mozier

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    John of Japan, I must let you know how much I enjoy your posts here on the boards. There is a deep pull in my soul for the spreading of the gospel in Asia, and seeing you do this warms me deeply.

    The sharing of this story is very inspiring. It reminded me of a great minister I once knew who would share the gospel at a local donut shop. Though he would begin in speaking with just us at the table, his talks were so moving and so deep that many others around the donut shop would get up and move towards us so that they could hear better of what he had to say!

    And his witnessing wasn't just at the table. One day, he and I were on a bus, and right in the middle of the ride he stood up and started singing at the top of his lungs, "A Mighty Fortess Is Our God." I almost withered in my seat out of embarassment! He then turned to me and said, "Come on, lad, sing! Don't tell me that you are ashamed of our Lord!"

    Sigh! Great memories of a truly great Christian man.
     
  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thanks for the kind words and the blessed story, mozier. God bless! [​IMG]
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Downs Syndrome Soul Winners

    Downs Syndrome Soul Winners

    I love Downs Syndrome people. There is something special that God does through them. In our church here in Japan, we have Ai (meaning "love"), a special girl in her late 20's who attends with her parents. This girl truly loves Jesus, and has a language talent. I guarantee that she speaks more English than you speak Japanese! Anyway, at our testimony time, Ai is always the first one to testify, and it's always about something God is doing for her. This past Sunday it was about falling down the stairs. Now according to Ai, her arm broke (she used the English word "boink!" :laugh: ) but that part was just from her imagination. Her Dad is so patient with her, but her Mom got a little embarassed about it. Ai always finishes her testimony with "Thank God."

    In my home church years ago there was a Downs Syndrome young man named Tommy. At the invitation time, Tommy always went forward and knelt at the front to pray for awhile. I went forward once to pray with him, and found out his burden, and what he went forward to pray for. Tommy wanted his parents to be saved. You know what? I never heard if they did or not, but I can't imagine God not answering such a sincere and loving prayer warrior as Tommy was.

    Years ago my wife's home church pastor pastored a church in Brown City, Michigan, in which was a Downs Syndrome young man. We'll call him Billy for this story. One day the town atheist showed up at church, maybe to laugh at the Christians as he liked to do. Billy walked up to him and said, "Do you believe in Jesus?" The atheist laughed and said, "Naw, I know all that stuff is not true." Billy said, "But if you don't believe in Jesus, you'll go to Hell!" The atheist laughed and said, "No, I don't believe in any of that stuff." Billy, being direct as most Downs people are said, "Okay, then, go to Hell," and walked off.

    Well, the atheist couldn't get away from Billy's comment. He begin to wonder if there truly was a Hell! The final result was that the atheist trusted Christ as Savior through the testimony of Billy! Has Billy, a Downs young man, won more folk to Christ than you, I wonder? :thumbs:
     
  8. bapmom

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    My hubby and I teach a Sunday School class for the mentally handicapped, we call it the Higher Ground class. Most of our class members are not only mentally handicapped, but are in wheelchairs as well. One gentleman in particular drives his scooter/wheelchair to soulwinning every Thursday night as the weather allows. He has been so faithful to this ministry! Im not sure if he has actually had the chance to see anyone saved, but I believe his faithfulness in trying can show many of us up. :flower:
     
  9. John of Japan

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    He is certainly not spiritually handicapped!:thumbsup:
     
  10. Gwen

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    Thanks, John of Japan for starting this thread! I love these stories.

    Little children can be soulwinners, too!

    When my 19 year old son was 5, I looked out the back door one day to see him and his two little friends, ages 5 and 4, kneeling and praying out in the back yard. I naturally wondered what they were doing, so I went to find out. Now these two boys (brothers) were not the nicest kids in the neighborhood, to say the least. Mom was an alcoholic and dad was, too, I think. Anyway, these kids were praying and I wanted to know what was going on.

    When I asked them what they were doing, one of the boys said,"Shhh, Mrs. T! We're trying to ask Jesus in our hearts!"

    I stood and listened with tears in my eyes. These kids had a rough life! I questioned them after they were finished praying, and my son had done a pretty good job of explaining salvation!

    This family moved a few weeks later. I don't know where they are now, but I really believe they were saved that day.
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    What a wonderful story! Thanks so much for sharing this, Gwen. You know, though, this means I have to talk about our only child, too! Kids on the mission field often are a major help to their parents' ministry, and so it was with us.

    Things started out rough when we moved to Yokohama in 1983 after language school. Paul usually played fine with the neighbor kids one on one, but was bullied when the Japanese kids got together. Bullying is very common in Japan, where the group is everything. I used to watch the yard out of our second floor window when Paul was playing and the neighbor boy was out, because this kid was nasty. When I saw something starting, I would yell from the 2nd floor, "Hey!! Stop that!!" The kid started thinking I was omniscient and omnipresent!

    On our second term, we located for 6 years in an apartment building in a wonderful neighborhood with lots of kids, and they all became Paul's friends. We lived short blocks from the church, so we had a "walking route" instead of a bus route to go to Sunday School, and six kids, including four little boys and two little sisters, would go walk with us. Through Paul's friendship, all six of those kids got saved in our Sunday School!:praise:

    Unfortunately, all but one family eventually moved away, and then we had to relocate on our third term. The parents of one little boy who I had baptized split up and his father took him way north, never giving us his address like he had promised. Other families went elsewhere. Our next door neighbor had us over for dinner before moving way down to the island of Kyushu. This woman had come to our ladies Bible study in our home, informing us that she was just coming for the fellowship and would NEVER become a Christian. When they had us over before moving, they asked us where a good church was where they were going, because their children had become so good and obedient through Christ!

    Just before we left on our second furlough, the Sugisawas, whose son Shu was Paul's best friend, took us out to a lovely steak house. In the car, Mr. Sugisawa asked for the first time to know more about Jesus Christ, and we were able to witness to the family extensively. They, too, had been very impressed with the changed lives of their two children!

    Mr. Sugisawa then told us this story about our son. We had limited Paul to four hours a week of anything with a screen (television, computer games, videos), but he was so careful at it we started letting him keep track of his own time. Mr. Sugisawa, knowing our rule, one day decided to test Paul. He said, "Paul, play this game with me." Paul said, "No, Sugisawa San, I can't because I've already used up my four hours this week!" Sugisawa San said, "Hey, that's okay, Paul, I'll never tell your parents." Paul said, "I can't. It wouldn't be right!"

    Tears are just rolling down my cheeks as I write this. Paul is in seminary in Pennsylvania now, and we couldn't be prouder of him! And we sure do miss him!
     
  12. Gwen

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    How wonderful! God bless your son Paul!

    It is my greatest joy to know my children walk in truth. My youngest son has the heart of a soul winner. I suspect he is going to be a missionary. Just have a feeling! :thumbs:
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Well Gwen, your son certainly has a great start at being a missionary! It says much of his mother that you are proud of him for witnessing for Christ. If he is called someday, you will know that he is entering the greatest ministry there is, reaching the world for Christ as a missionary. Like Paul, "I magnify my office" and wonder that God saw fit to call me. But I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!:praise:
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Togo San

    In the few minutes before lunch here in Japan let me tell you about Togo San. He got saved in my church in Yokohama through reading Hal Lindsey's book on Satan until 3:00 in the morning. He truly wanted to become a preacher, but he had a problem. When he got saved he was addicted to amphetamines sold to him by an unscrupulous pharmacist, and was never able to kick the habit. This is partly the fault of the Japanese government, which gives a generous stipend to such people, considering them to be handicapped by their addiction. Thus there is little incentive to get well in this society.

    Anyway, Togo San was my buddy, even after we moved up here to Hokkaido from Yokohama years ago. He loved America, having gone over for a visit with his Scout troop when he was a boy. He would call me up and we would talk for a half hour on this, that and the other thing. He would draw cartoon pictures of me and send them--I still have one, and I keep it on my bulletin board, even though it makes me look like a Catholic priest!

    One day I got a very sad phone call from Togo San's girl friend. She had found him "sleeping" in his "futon" bed, with his gentle soul flown to heaven. Megumi San (we'll call her) was broken hearted, and I talked to her for a long time. During the conversation she told me that she had heard about Jesus from Togo San many times, and he had wanted her to believe in his Savior.

    It was then so easy to lead Megumi San to Christ over the phone, and Togo San had his wish: after his death, his preaching brought forth fruit for Jesus Christ! I wonder: have you witnessed for Jesus as well as Togo San did?
     
  15. bapmom

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    We have another gentleman in our church who I think fits in this thread. He is older, somewhere in his later 60s I believe. He went through WWII and then came home, got cancer, and lost his entire right arm. More recently he has had to start using a cane to get around. Yet he still continues his routine of daily spending several hours on the street passing out tracts and telling people about Jesus. He walks all over, and more than once I have talked to people who asked if I was from the same church as "that guy with one arm."

    He sees people saved all the time. He has a goal each year, and he stays out there until he can honestly say that he has seen someone saved.

    Of course he is retired, so he has this much free time, but he has not retired from his real work as a Christian witnesser. :praise:
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Wonderful soul winner, Bapmom. I hope that when I am that age I am still at it.

    It reminds me of my grandfather. In the Spring of 1980 at the age of 84, Grandpa Rice suffered a heart attack that put him in the hospital and then in a wheel chair. Nothing daunted, he continued to witness for Christ as he had all his life. I remember seeing him at Franklin Road Bapist Church looking around during the invitation for someone to witness to. He then wheeled his chair over to a man who had raised his hand for prayer, and begain dealing with him about his soul. As I remember, the man was already saved, but until death, John R. Rice never stopped witnessing for Christ!
     
  17. John of Japan

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    My Schizophrenic Couple

    Mrs. F. is a college professor in linguistics, and a noted scholar on the Ainu language. She trusted Christ as Savior in our church in Yokohama, but this is not about her. It is about her son Katsuyuki and his girl friend Natsuko. Mrs. F. sat down with me and the young couple after a morning service and said, “Pastor, Katsuyuki and Natsuko want to get married, but Natsuko has a disease.” “Oh, what is it?” I asked. Mrs. F. answered, “She has bunretsubyo.” Now that word meant as little to me then as it does to you now, so Mrs. F. explained. “In English that means schizophrenia.”

    I said a quick prayer. “Oh, Lord, what have I gotten into? You’d really better help me on this one!” Then I calmly answered, “I’ll begin counseling, and we’ll see what the Lord will do.” I counseled Natsuko for several years, and boy was I on a learning curve! At any rate, after trials and tribulations I married them and eventually baptized Natsuko. They had both made professions of faith at an independent Baptist church in Spain pastored by a missionary.

    Later on I learned that Katsuyuki had also been diagnosed as schizophrenic, but his father had not allowed him to be one!! You see, in Japan, once you are labeled with an emotional or mental disorder, you are branded for life, and he did not want that for his son. Katsuyuki grew up just fine, thank you!

    This couple was a real blessing in the ministry. To this day they have a burden for the handicapped, so we started a Bible study in the church for handicapped folk which we called, “Pool of Siloam.” God blessed this ministry, and several started coming to church and a couple of people were saved through it. After we moved to Hokkaido, Katsuyuki won one of those handicapped folk to Christ, Mr. B.. Mr. B. went to Heaven not long after that.

    Katsuyuki and Natsuko now live in Tottori Prefecture with their fine-looking little boy, and Katsuyuki pastors a house church. Natsuko eventually wrote a successful book about her struggles with schizophrenia. When I visited them a couple of years ago, I saw a long shelf of books on being handicapped and having a disorder like schizophrenia. I was impressed and said so, but Natsuko replied, “I don’t pay attention to those books much anymore. When I have a problem I just go to the Bible and look for the answer.” Well, glory!

    Natsuko called me a couple of weeks ago. She is in contact with as many as a couple of hundred handicapped people, and wanted some way to witness to them. As it happened, she wrote a tract over ten years ago for young people which she had evidently forgotten about. Unfortunately I never got the tract printed, but I still have the file. I sent it to her, and she was delighted! Now I ask you: is a schizophrenic doing more for Jesus than you are?:Fish:
     
    #17 John of Japan, Jun 7, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2006
  18. John of Japan

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    Habazaki San and Joe Lowitz

    I just got back from dendo (evangelism) with Habazaki San. This guy is my friend, and one of our most faithful church people. He is a bachelor about my age, pretty much ignored by his family and neighbors. But he trusted Christ as Savior after getting one of my tracts. He wrote me a post card with just four Chinese characters meaning, "I want to enter your teaching," then readily trusted Christ as Savior when I visited him. One of the highlights of my whole ministry in Japan was when I baptized him and Ueno San on the same day. Wow, two men at once! It doesn't get any better for a missionary to Japan.

    In the world's eye he is a nothing, a nobody. He did graduate from a junior college, but his job is delivering newspapers. Now in Japan that is a job for adults, and he is proud to be a full employee of the company (as opposed to a part timer). However, it is still towards the bottom of respected jobs in this society. Habazaki San doesn't care, though. He is a happy camper as long as he can do his job, watch some baseball and come to church!

    Anyway, before we got out tracts today I enjoyed his prayer for God to use us and touch people's hearts with the Gospel. Then I enjoyed his attitude of obedience, respect and good humor. He always does exactly what I ask with no complaints or disagreements, and does it with a smile. We didn't find anyone to witness to today, but maybe someone who got one of those tracts will be saved like he was!

    Habazaki San reminds me of a soul winner in Calvary Baptist Church of Wheaton, Illinois, back in the 1950's. This church was founded by my grandfather, John R. Rice, so he could be located in Wheaton while his daughters were in Wheaton College, which was the leading evangelical school of the day. Joe Lowitz was a man like Habazaki San: he loved to get the Gospel out. He was known as the leading soul winner in the church, but he was Polish, and in those days that did not get you a lot of respect from strongly WASP Wheatonites!

    I have a very sweet memory of my sister calling me into a back room of the church building and giving me a dollar for my birthday, saying it was from Joe Lowitz. God bless the memory of this good soul winner, who is now famous in Heaven. And God bless Habazaki San! :type:
     
  19. John of Japan

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    Habazaki San called this morning before our evangelism time. His brother died yesterday. Please pray for him if you think of it. Japanese Christians have a very difficult time when their lost loved ones die, because great pressure is put on them to worship the dead person by bowing before their photo, offering them flowers and praying out loud (as a kind of testimony) to the spirit of the dead person.
     
  20. bapmom

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    will do, brother.

    :praying:
     

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