By Kenny and Lila Joseph
This article about Japanese missionaries begins where I left off in the last article on Revival in Japan:
...We praised God and gave Him the glory. This revival was not of man...nothing fanatical, just quietly guided by God. We got to bed at 2:30 A.M.on April 14, l953, but didn't feel like sleeping. At 7 A.M. my Japanese associate teacher-evangelist Takami San came from Tokyo for a conference on our next campaigns, having fasted and prayed with the same burden we had. Then, without even breakfast, we were called into the Soul-winning Tent Meeting Training Institute where they were having 3 days of special meetings. The leader, Gerry Johnson, asked me to tell what happened last night.
I asked the students to pray. These young students poured out their hearts to God asking Him to bless us on our upcoming evangelistic campaigns. This broke my heart as I realized that I came to be a leader and here these young converts--brands plucked from the burning--were now praying for us.
Revival Among Students
In tears I told them how the Lord had met us last night. "A broken and a contrite heart, oh God, Thou wilt not despise." Even though I thought that weeping was effeminate, God gave me a broken heart. After telling how the Lord had met my need and how I had claimed His power, love and wisdom to go out and reach these people, I sat down. Then I realized that for an hour I spoke in Japanese without one note. Simply overflowing praise to the Lord, and giving Him the Glory This was a miracle because it would take me 40 hours to prepare a one-hour message in Japanese.
Gerry told more about the revival meeting and how he also received a new love for the Japanese. He, too, broke down and this again touched the students' hearts. He told them of how we had a chair in the middle and prayed over each one who came. He then asked, "Who wants to be prayed for among you students?" One young man blurted out, "The devil has bound me. Pray for me." One by one they came forward and were prayed for. One came and left with tears. Many had sins unconfessed. A couple had made love under a bridge and were to be expelled, and they came and confessed. Pride, no love, fear and wicked sins were mentioned as they came forward one by one and asked for prayer.
We put our hands on them and prayed, quoting verses..overcoming Satan through the Word, the blood, and the resurrection power. We praised God for a wonderful
spirit of victory.
Stones Will Cry Out
Everyone came forward but one. We went back to our seats, sang a few songs, and the Japanese TEAM Pastor Tsukigara, asked if anyone was left out. Nobody raised their hands, so he said, "Brother Tanaka, how is it with your heart?" Tanaka said, "I'm OK. I'm Anglican and don't believe in all this emotionalism."
Tsukigara Sensei loudly proclaimed, "This is of God. It is not sensationalism. It is the first time I've seen such a thing, but it is of God! We can't pass you by." He broke down in tears exclaiming, "Tanaka San, I love you. I love you. I want you to get God's blessing, too."
But there was no response from Tanaka, after which Tsukigara quoted from the Bible where the Pharisees rebuked the people for praising God and crying "Hosannah" when King Jesus came riding on a donkey. If these people should be quiet, even the stones would cry out. "Tanaka, are you a stone?"
Finally the young man came forward, reluctantly, and knelt and prayed, but it wasn't real. The Spirit of God didn't melt his heart.
Two weeks later the 5 tent teams went out. They went to a gas station to get gas and water. Around the curve came a truck, hit Tanaka San and he was instantly killed. That put the fear of God in all of us! His poor wife raised chickens to survive.
We thank God for the moving of His Spirit. The Holy Spirit was working overtime in l953, but so was Satan. The verse we all took was II Tim. l:7: We were delivered from the spirit of fear and "received the spirit of love, power and a sound mind." It was agreed that we shouldn't touch an atom of His glory...glory in only the cross of Christ!
This spiritual awakening continued weekly at the Tokyo Thursday early morning JEMA prayer meeting and spread to Toyama, but that's another story, for another time.
However, while we experienced revival on the personal and social level, we call out to God for an omnipotent revival on a national scale. With only 4% of Japan's 127 million professing Christianity, nothing less than divine intervention will do.
Can you believe that Japan's post-war foreign missions began at that soul-winning Tent Meeting Training School at Shizuoka? I saw the potential of young Japanese as missionaries not only in their own homeland, but also overseas.
After 7 months in grueling evangelistic meetings every day, I caught TB and the doctor ordered complete bed rest.."Get off the road." My TEAM-mate Don Hoke invited me to teach at the Japan Christian College (JCC). After I got a clean bill of health from the Mayo Clinic, he married Lila Finsaas and me at the Karuizawa Union Church and we moved into our new Japanese-style home just 2 minutes from the College. I was ordered to just teach for 50 minutes and then lie down. The German Dr. Eitel said, "You are healed by God and the newly-discovered TB medicine. You will take an afternoon nap. If you don't, you will die at 40. If you do, you will live past 80! Understand?"
Wait 99 years, Toshiko!
One of the classes was "Foreign Missions." Of the 33 students...5 were called to the mission field in a student initiated prayer meeting: Toshiko to Taiwan; Jokura to India, Yokouchi to Singapore, Horikiri to Bolivia and Ozaki to Ecuador. When the Domei pastor Matsuda spoke in chapel, Toshiko told him about the 5 missionary volunteers, but her broad smile vanished when he told her to "forget that idea...99% of Japanese are unsaved and going to hell. Wait until we evangelize Japan which could take 99 years." Toshiko answered. "I'll be dead by then."
That was how JEOM (Japan Evangelical Overseas Mission) started. We met weekly with Christian businessman Tsuyoshi Tadenuma (at our JCC quonset hut Evangelism Department) and prayerfully planned Japan's foreign missions. After sending out Rev. Reiji Oyama to the Philippines on a "repentance mission, etc, " it took off. One by one they came, "Send me to Brazil, Peru, Indonesia." We told these volunteers to ask their denominations to start a Mission and send them out. The Free Church did, followed by the C&MA, AG, TEAM, etc. JEOM became J.O.M.A. (Japanese Overseas Missions Association).
Rising nationalism, Anti-westernisam, anti-colonialism, encircling Islam, exploding population and retreating liberalism have changed the climate of "who sends and who receives." "The missionary obligation is no longer the monopoly of the West or the special preserve of traditional missionary organizations."
So we asked:
1.Can the "Lord of the Harvest" call, commission and thrust out as foreign missionaries, nationals from the "younger" churches of present mission fields in obedience to the first Commission?
2.Can these foreign missionaries Scripturally be sent out to other fields while their own country is not yet completely evangelized?
3.What type of training, internship and screening is right for the health of the indigenous church?
Although the principles apply to most indigenous situations, the research and conclusions are limited to the Japanese situation in particular, and to the Asian field in general.
Five Basic Definitions
1.Mission: "The sending forth of men with authority or commission from God or the church to preach (or spread) the Gospel (John 20:21) and administer the sacraments. 'Christian mission' is the proclamation of the Gospel to the unconverted everywhere according to Christ's command."
2.Missionary: "One who is sent on a mission; an agent or emissary, sent to propagate religion especially," or "do educational or charitable work in some place where his church has no self-supporting local organization; hence, one who spreads any new system or doctrine." "A person sent out by his church to preach, teach and proselytize in a foreign country, especially in one considered heathen."
3.Older churches: or "sending or giving churches," means those older, established churches or mission agencies which send out foreign missionaries, money, Bibles, build native churches, schools, hospitals, presses, etc.
4.Younger churches: or "receiving churches," those newly-formed indigenous churches on mission fields which should mature toward the four-fold ideal of self-supporting, instructing, governing, and expanding their own faith in home missions and foreign missions.
5.Evangelize: "To evangelize is to present the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit so that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Savior and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His Church."
Five Basic Assumptions:
l. The Great Commission, written in all languages and addressed to all Christians, must be obeyed by all true believers in all lands, with no exemptions.
2. Since there are only 42,250 active Protestant foreign missionaries trying to evangelize 6 billion people, an obvious need exists for more experienced, evangelical, effective missionaries today.
3. The Lord of the Harvest also calls nationals from younger churches in today's mission fields to go "into all he world and preach the Gospel to every creature. (Mk. 16:15) They must obediently go, even though their own home missions program is not completed, as did the Apostle Paul, the Eastern Church, Count Zinzendorf and William Carey, and today's Western missionaries.
4. Evangelical leaders in the sending societies, missionaries on the fields and national leaders are privileged to work with the Lord of the Harvest as He purposes to call out a people for His Name from every tribe, tongue, kindred and nation before His return.
5. The indigenous principle of self-propagation has a two-fold meaning:
a. Home missions: Evangelizing the people of similar tongue, not only in their own country, but also overseas.
b. Foreign missions: The "younger churches" must also reach out in foreign missions to people and countries different from their own in language, food, culture, customs and race.
We did the same thing in Korea with Rev. David Cho as he became the Korean KEOM.
My greatest heartache 50 years later is that Koreans, Japanese and Filipinos have missed the main point or the 5th point of Missions--going to different countries, speaking different languages, eating different food, ministering to different cultures and people. To a large extent, the 300 Japanese missionaries into 24 countries and over l0,000 Korean missionaries into 40 countries are not doing numbers 1 and 2. Japanese first reach out to the Japanese natives, Koreans first reach out to the Korean restaurant and get the owners to pay the fabulous rent near a train station. But the restaurant owner can't keep it up too long and the missionaries go back home. The Filipinos do the same. I know. I've sponsored them and preach in their churches.
150th or l800th Anniversary
As the 150th anniversary of Protestantism in Japan is celebrated in 2009, the Catholics snicker....we've been here for 450 years. Buddhists: we've been here for l,200 years and the Keikyo (Church of the East) say they've been here for l800 years. Please, young (JEA) Japanese pastors and missionary agencies, don't fall into the same trap that I did when I was the PR Director for JEMA's and Japan Harvest and Japan Protestant Centennial (JPC) while at JCC. We boasted of our "100 years" while the Buddhists laughed up their sleeves at these "new kids on the block."
J.M.L. Young's English book," By Foot to China" (soon in Japanese) proves that Keikyo was the evangelicals of the early missionaries. "Japan's Jizo and Jesus" and "Japan: The Country of the Erased Cross," by the author and son Ken Jr., are now out in a cheap pocketbook (bunko ban) and "cross" is changed to "Bible," published by Tokuma, available at l4,000 secular bookstores.