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‘Dub’ Jackson has kept Japanese on his heart more than 50 years

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–The winds of war brought William “Dub” Jackson to Japan in 1945. But war was not why God brought him there. God showed Jackson a devastated nation. Jackson responded in the only way a child of God should — with love. For more than 50 years, as an evangelist, missionary and pastor, Jackson has continued to love the Japanese and help thousands of Christians in America do the same.
He was a fighter pilot in the 49th Fighter Group, General Douglas MacArthur’s honor guard in Japan after the surrender. When Jackson wasn’t flying his P-38, the 20-year-old son of a Baptist pastor was working with five American missionaries, distributing food and clothing to the Japanese. He soon realized the Japanese had deep spiritual needs as well.
“If we’d gone in immediately with 10,000 missionaries, we would be dealing with a Christian nation now,” he said. “Everything they believed in had been destroyed.”
He recalled a meeting in Atsugi where everyone in the packed room responded to the altar call. “That was typical of the spiritual hunger of the day,” he said.
Jackson returned to the United States to earn a bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, before attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, his second trip to the school. “I was born on the Hill while my dad attended seminary. My first outing was to the ?Messiah? when I was seven days old,” he said.
Before graduating, he returned to Japan for crusades in 1950 with a group of Christians who led more than 2,200 people to Christ. He earned a bachelor of divinity in 1951, and soon after, he and his wife, Doris, were appointed as missionaries to Japan, where he served as associate director of evangelism for the Japan Baptist Convention and the director of the Japan Nation Wide Crusade. He founded the Tokyo Baptist Church and organized the Asahigawa Baptist Church in northern Japan. At Asahigawa, 117 former Buddhists were baptized in 16 months. He also was the founder of the Otani Hotel Garden Chapel in Tokyo, where 300 Japanese businessmen came to know the Lord in three years.
Jackson’s service isn’t limited to Japan. He has also been associate pastor at First Baptist Church, Houston, an assistant to the president at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a vice president at Dallas Baptist University, assistant to the president of the Baptist World Alliance, co-director of the Japan Baptist Partnership Campaign and consultant for World Mission Crusades.
In 1968, he founded the World Evangelism Foundation, which sent 8,000 Christians into 85 crusades in 38 countries in more than a decade of work. More than 250,000 prayed to receive Christ as a result of the efforts. The foundation didn’t really begin in 1968. It began when Jackson was a missionary and he saw the need to bring laypeople from America to help reach the Japanese. In 1963, 549 Texas Baptists made the journey to Japan and other Asian countries.
The International Mission Board’s partnership evangelism is based on Jackson’s concept of partnering American churches with overseas countries, and in doing so mobilize the laity to be involved directly in reaching the world for Christ. He has been the Western Europe coordinator since 1993, but this year has become coordinator for the Western Pacific and Asia, including Japan. This year he also is being honored for his ministry by receiving one of Southwestern?s distinguished alumnus awards.
“Japan is considered a difficult country in recent years. But the Japanese respond to a positive, strong presentation of the gospel,” Jackson said, adding, “I’ve never met a Buddhist who had confidence in his religion to provide hope.”

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  • Matt Sanders