TOKUSHIMA, Japan (BP)–Missionaries in Japan are rejoicing as God has continued to work following a Christian festival this past summer.
A former member of the Japanese Mafia known simply as Mr. Shinohara was the first man who came to faith in Christ, and since the festival he “has been telling everyone he knows that he believes in Jesus now,” said Ron Reynolds, an International Mission Board missionary to Japan.
Two months after accepting Christ, Shinohara invited a prayerwalking group to a dinner he was having at his business, a local garage. His wife prayed to accept Jesus as her Savior after the dinner.
Shinohara’s 14-year-old daughter also heard his testimony that night but was skeptical that there was anyone on whom she could truly rely. Missionaries shared with the girl that as a Christian she would never be forsaken, and she accepted Christ as well.
The next month, missionaries were invited to a dinner hosted by Shinohara’s in-laws. He told the guests he has been reading the Bible, often crying over the stories.
“Even though Japanese Christians sometimes boldly witness to employees or friends, the real difficulty comes in speaking to their parents or older relatives,” said Cindy Reynolds, Ron Reynolds’ wife. “Tears came into Mr. Shinohara’s eyes as he told about the love of Jesus — another thing that Japanese men aren’t known to do — cry before others!”
In January, missionaries began holding weekly worship services in Shinohara’s garage.
Barely 2 percent of Japanese profess to be Christian. Most Japanese claim to be both Shintoist and Buddhist. People who convert to Christianity risk social and familial persecution. Because Japanese often are slow to come to Christ, missionaries were excited to see a whole family make public professions of faith.
“The joy of seeing [this couple] tell others about their faith is something that has not been experienced often by our team members,” Ron Reynolds said.
During the festival, Southern Baptists gave audiocassettes of the Jesus film and a response card to passersby.
Immediately following the festival, few response cards were received, missionaries said, but suddenly in the middle of September several postcards with comments desiring to know more about Christ came in.
Missionaries said they do not know why there was such a long delay in receiving the cards, but they praise God for the responses.
“We believe that through God’s people praying, we are privileged to see the results of God working in the hearts of these Japanese people,” one IMB missionary noted.
— Learn about missionary teams serving in Japan via the Internet at:
— Search for prayer requests from Japan at:
— Prayer profiles of unreached people groups in Japan can be accessed at:
— Search for ways students can serve Christ in Japan at: