Japanese Christians Turn Away from Shame, Addiction

Originally published in 1913

One of [our new church members] is an old man perhaps sixty years of age, who, by the way, had all his money and clothing swept away by the big flood last year. He also barely escaped with his life. He comes to church quite often, even though he has to walk six miles. It takes him three hours to make the journey. With the tears flowing down his cheeks he thanks us for teaching him the way of salvation. He says God is very merciful to save an old man who has killed three men in war. This Brother Nire seems to be in touch with the Holy Spirit, and we are so glad that he found our Savior.

We have an inquirer who feels that he cannot give up sake. He says that he tries to quit and prays earnestly for the power to give up drink. He says that God only can give him this power. One night recently he came to prayer-meeting weeping and saying that he wanted to die. He insisted that he could not give up drink, that he was a burden to his family, and that he would better commit suicide. Our pastor told him that suicide would help neither him nor his family. And he convinced him that his duty is to live and overcome his habit. …

Recently we opened up a preaching place in the business section of the city, and services are held there two nights every week. At every service there is a good attendance and the house is usually full. We keep a small stock of tracts, booklets and books on hand, and we give freely to those who ask for them. As a result, as many as 200 tracts have been distributed in one night, to say nothing of the New Testaments and other books that are put into the hands of the people. Usually the people are eager to receive this literature, reaching out a dozen or more hands at one time in their eagerness. The little boys and girls especially read everything they can lay their hands on. We preach to them and then give them the written message.

Excerpted from “The Kagoshima Field” by P.P. Medling in the Sixty-Eighth Annual Report of the Foreign Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention, May 14, 1913.