Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 22, 1959

Entering A New Field

Bob Nichols, Hyogo-Ken, Japan

The last week in August my family and I moved our home to Osaka, Japan, which is three hundred miles southwest from Tokyo, where we had lived and worked for the past sixteen months. The city of Osaka has a population of over three million, and the surrounding area has another three million. Thus, over six million souls are only thirty minutes away from our meeting place. I am the first preacher of the gospel ever to live and work in Osaka.

My first interest in this city was aroused in 1951 when I flew into this area as a pilot in the U. S. Navy. In 1952 my interest in preaching the gospel here was increased further by daily flights to Osaka. I then determined to prepare myself, so that when my time in the service ended I might return to Japan to preach the gospel. When my Navy service was terminated I attended school in America, preaching as I had opportunity, and tried to learn all the Bible I could that I might be better prepared for the work in Japan. Now, after six years, I am once again is Osaka. Because of my previous experiences in this city I am especially happy to be the first full time preacher of the gospel to work in this city.

When we came to Osaka there were only six Christians meeting here, and I had helped to teach and baptize four of these in the past year. They are all zealous Christians, and are actively engaged in spreading the gospel. On October 5 I baptized Mr. Toshio Araki into Christ, and now we have seven Japanese Christians serving the Lord in Osaka.

Brother Araki's baptism was most interesting. I immersed him into Christ at the Osaka Christian Center by baptizing him face downward in a bath-tub. This so-called "Christian Center" does not have a baptistery, hence the necessity of using the tub. The Japanese bathtub is too short for a man to lie down in, so Brother Araki had to sit down in the tub and be immersed face forward. He was our first convert since moving to Osaka; he is an employee of the British Consulate and speaks excellent English. He has already started taking an active part in our work and worship, and has great promise of being an outstanding worker in the vineyard of the Lord.

Opposition In Osaka

On October 8 Brother Toyoteru Sato of the Osaka congregation was advised by the assistant principal of his school that his job was in jeopardy because of his activity as a Christian. Brother Sato has been a member of the Lord's body longer than any other Japanese Christian in this city, and is a teacher of English in a junior high school here. Recently he asked me to help him prepare a three minute speech for one of his students who is taking part in a nation-wide English speaking contest. We wrote the speech as a simple narrative about a young man who was a great success in his school life, and when asked the reason for his fine record, explained: "I want to be third. God first; others second; and myself third." To me this was a simple little story I had heard from my second grade. But in Japan things are not quite so simple.

The next day after presenting this story to his student, Brother Sato came to my home in deep disappoint ment. It seems one of his fellow-teachers had objected to the story because "it taught Christianity." This teacher had spoken to the student's family and to the school auhorities, and was apparently about to cause considerable trouble. The assistant principal spoke to Brother Sato concerning his belief in the Christian's God, and reminded him that the previous year one of their teachers had been asked to leave this school "for a less desirable position" because of his membership in one of the Christian denominations. It might be difficult for an American to imagine a "less desirable position" when one realizes that Brother Sato's present job pays him approximately $33.00 per month.

The forces of evil are working against the Lord here in Japan as they are throughout the world; but let us remember that Japan has been the devil's territory for thousands of years, and naturally he is reluctant to release it. However, there is a small, dedicated band of believers here who are determined to give their lives to "turn Japan upside down" in the name of the Lord Jesus. Toyoteru Sato is one of the most active and consecrated of this group.