Question: Are you old enough to remember the Kilroy jokes? If you are, you'll re?member that wherever anyone went, like on the top of a mountain to see a guru, there would be a sign, "Kil?roy was here." Wherever any soldier went, Kilroy had been there. This is the signature of Dr. Fred Jarvis, well?known TEAM missionary and New Life League Mission founder.
Dr. Jarvis and his wife Dr. Clara (with three earned Ph.D.s between them) came from China with the thousands of other missionaries who were kicked out by the Com?munists. He never learned Japanese, and I remember two of his language "exploits. "
As a TEAM missionary on loan to Youth For Christ, I recall him coming into the YFC office and telling the workers to turn off the lights not in use in order to save electricity. ''Dame. Dame. Denki takusan arimasu"[ he kept repeating, while I interpreted his real meaning.
Another one was when he came late to the Japan Christian College picnic. He didn't want them to worry about lunch for him so he said, "It's okay. I have my o-benjo 2 (he meant o-bento 3) right here under my arm!"
Dr. Jarvis was also both post-war Japan's most prolific and promiscuous missionary. In a good sense. Promis?cuous meaning having lots of babies and turning them over to others! What babies?
He started Japan Christian Col?lege which was amalgamated from TEAM's Domei Bible School and appointed Dr. Donald E. Hoke (who married Lila and me and went to heaven just a few months ago at age 87) as president ofJCC.
Thinking about coming to Japan, I wrote him many questions. He encouraged me strongly to come. "The door isn't only open, it's off the hinges!" he answered.
He and I used a paragraph from General MacArthur to get in and preach the pure gospel in hundreds of high school assemblies. The paragraph, in effect, said "Japan is turning to democracy. You can never understand democracy without its Bible-based foundation embedded in Christianity. Therefore I give clear or?ders to spread both allover Japan for Japan's regeneration. It must be of the Spirit if we are to save the flesh." All grammar and high school textbooks were censored, and worshipping the emperor was blacked out along with the doctrine Hakko Ichi-"all eight corners of the earth under Hirohito."
Dr. Jarvis got his fellow-China old hand Ed Fisch ofJSSU Oapan Sun?day School Union) to reprint Moody Press' picture Bible storybook. Then he appointed Jim Norton to go to all the high schools in Nagano to present the principals with a Bible storybook set to put in their libraries. Jim cov?ered all Nagano's schools, preaching to the kids outside after school.
When I went with 103 Japanese laymen to Korea as the first post-war learning and apology evangelistic group-sure enough, Jarvis had already been there and helped start a Christian radio station!
Coming back to Japan, he was also behind the scenes in starting PO BC (Pacific-Orient Broadcasting Com?pany) with FEGC (now SEND) mis?sionary Hardy Hayes and TEAMers Art Seely and Loren McCall.
He was a bulldozer with only one speed: straight ahead, direct and more direct. Though he had his Chicago street smarts, he was polite. Remem?ber, all this was without the language, thus depending on translators wher?ever he went. He also had a bi-lingual radio broadcast.
Dr. Jarvis helped another non?Japanese speaking missionary, Don McAlpine, start the big Morning Glory Church.
Lila remembers the night we had him over for supper. Later in the evening he had her at the typewriter typing a poem he was composing as he went along! His "Crime of the Century" mission article was reprint?ed many times.
Did Japan really have a revival? He was behind starting the Thursday Prayer Meetings for missionaries at the Tokyo GI Chapel Center that was right in front of the Diet Building. Every Thursday the Tokyo mission?aries would gather as Vic Springer, TEAM treasurer, led in prayer from 6:30 to 7:00. When you walked in, you'd find everybody on their knees. At 7:30 it was toast and coffee and testimony time. From 8:00 to 8:30 it was the guest speaker. I rode with Ken McVety in his car from Suginami Ku. We got there in 45 minutes be?cause there were few cars on the road at that time.
This preceded a revival that broke out at TEAM Center language school in Karuizawa and in Tokyo and spread nationwide by Dr. Jarvis and a group they nicknamed "cleansed lepers." He formed teams to go North and South spreading revival among missionaries. Uninvited, they went and crashed prayer meetings, etc. A team invited themselves to our prayer meeting in Shimizu, Shizuoka. The team gave their testimonies of how God had revived them and then had us all sit in a circle and put a chair in the middle, and one by one we missionaries were asked to come and kneel in front of that chair and asked to pray for each one's needs. One mis?sionary said, "I hate Japanese. Their food, language, customs-and I am leaving!" We prayed and he stayed!
One lady said, "I can't pray aloud in front of everybody." She did and was blessed. It went around to about 20 people and I was the last. But this time that chair looked like a chopping block. I went grudgingly and experi?enced deep revival, with tears flowing that I never knew were there. .
Dr. Jarvis and I had a part in help?ing layman Kenichiro Endo start the CBMC (Christian Business Men's Committee) weekly morning meet?ings at the Marunouchi near Tokyo Station. They still continue, as well as monthly laymen's evangelism prayer meetings.
Dr. Jarvis was never happy just preaching in churches, but pushed for open-air evangelism. He encouraged Russell Walters to get a huge roll-up screen, set it up outside in public parks wherever people would congre?gate, and show Moody Science films and other Christian films. Again God used another non-Japanese speaking missionary through interpreters to reach thousands on the outside of churches. I worked two weeks with Russell in Hokkaido and we had the hardest time persuading the pastors to leave the church building and get out to where the people were. Instead of 20 inside we had 200 outside.
FEGC's (now SEND) Chaplain Sweet harnessed the gung-ho Youth For Christ spirit of the GIs who came over to Japan from the Philippines to do the same. As well as holding Saturday night meetings wherever they could, in GI Chapel Centers, broken-windowed high schools, etc., one FEGC missionary, Rollie Rea?soner, bartered a box of cigarettes to get a carpenter to put in windows in a bombed-out school to have a meeting.
This was the day when missionar?ies and GIs together scrounged for whatever they could find to do evan?gelism inside and out. It was at one of these meetings in 1950 that the lead bomber at Pearl Harbor-Japanese fighter planes' Mitsuo Fujita-heard the gospel and received a tract written by Jake DeShazer entitled "I Was a Prisoner of the Japanese." He read it in his hotel room and was saved and became an evangelist.
Yes, Kilroy was there, too. Helping Dave Morekan set up a YFC office in downtown Kanda near the used bookstores and universities.
Dr. Jarvis was known among inter?preters as "Machine Gun Jarvis," speaking so fast and passionately.
He was one of the few old China hands who came to Japan and stayed. He said, "Buy land, buy land." We younger missionaries thought we knew more: "Jesus is coming in 1952 and the atom bomb will end the world. Who needs land?" One missionary was offered land for ￥1 ,000 a tsubo (36 square feet) because the owner didn't want to sell it to a Communist who was willing to pay ￥3,000.
The smartest and richest group was the Southern Baptist mission, who bought land for a church in every prefecture. They scrounged every pastor they could find and gave them a quick indoctrination into Baptist theology.
Jarvis' "buy land" crusade resulted in buying prime real estate near Shibuya Station for \3,000 a tsubo and after using it for a Gospel Hall, it was sold to HiBA, where their center still is.
He was also behind the Every Home Crusade, challenging the Canadian Jack McAlister to invest in Japan and then through the Word of Life Press. They covered Japan at least twice.
He started "Jarvis Projects" which made loudspeakers for dendo 4 on cars and trucks. Then Jarvis Projects became the New Life League, which he organized outside of TEAM and is now led by Roald Lidal, sending mil?lions of Bibles to China and over 40 other countries.
After TEAM bought a big plot of land in Karuizawa, even though Jarvis was personally opposed to missionary cabins, he spearheaded a project to build plywood cabins for $800 each, and about 15 cabins sprouted up on that land.
You name it and Kilroy-I mean Dr. Jarvis-was there. He recently went to heaven and is survived by his faithful wife Clara.
"Therefore then, since we are sur?rounded by so great a cloud of wit?nesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip offand throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and en?tangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active per?sistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, ... Looking away [from all that will distract] to jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bring?ing it to maturity and perfection]. -Heb. 12:1, 2a Amplified Bible
Yes, just as it says in Hebrews 12: 1 and 2 we can be sure "Kilroy is There" too, cheering us on in our soul-winning today!