Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 21, 1966

Coming Home From Japan

When time grows short opportunities increase --or so it seems. Each time I prepare to leave a place I always see many things I could easily do, with a little more time. That is the way the Osaka church looks now. But at the same time there is more decision making, more emphasis on being active in preaching the gospel, and more of a concern about doing only those things which are taught in God's Word than ever before.

The Japanese people have a desire to follow a strong leader. Few decisions are made by the average man. His school, his friends, his job and even his wife are often chosen by others. Of course, religion too is not thought of as an individual matter but its effect on the family, the neighborhood, and business is also considered. Therefore it is little wonder that when one becomes a Christian he expects some one else to take the responsibility for "running the church". In the beginning my "opinion" was asked on the most minute detail, but now I am just "one of the boys". No one runs the church but mature Christians reaching a consensus on business matters.

When Brother Hinton leaves Nagoya for America, the Osaka brethren plan to add that as another regular preaching point. The Nagoya brethren have asked them to come once a month.

The Fukuoka church continues to be a difficult place to work, mainly because there are no men in the congregation. When one of the Osaka brethren goes there he must do all the public work of teaching, praying, song leading, preaching, etc. It would be a good training ground for any of you in America who have yet to take a public part in the worship service. This week I am taking a young man who was baptized nine months ago for his first preaching trip to the island of Kyushu, I will make a short talk, wait on the table and lead some prayers but he will lead the singing, preach and lead most of the prayers. It is a good training ground.

For more than a year we have been studying from C. R. Nichols', Sound Doctrine III, on Thursday night. After studying the lesson on discipline brother Ankyu came forward to confess his sins. He often preaches and he leads singing at one or more services and teaches one or more Bible classes each week but as he stood before the congregation his face was spotted with great drops of perspiration, his entire body quivered, and his voice came with difficulty. He had failed to attend for several weeks sometime before this. To you this may not seem like anything to report, but it is the first time in eight years that I have seen a Japanese Christian confess his sins publicly. Some one says, "you need to preach on this". I have, many times but in a shame centered society, such as Japan, a man must study and understand for himself before he will be moved to make such a public confession.

Recently a decision has been reached to print 200 copies of a book composed of the best articles from our weekly bulletin plus some tracts we have written. The church has plans to distribute it among all of the Churches of Christ in Japan. Although it will contain some teaching that is not found in most of the other churches, it will be accepted and I hope studied by the churches associated with the college here.

When a question arose about spending so much money for the book (about $75 for 200 volumes) brother Sato remarked, "If we don't use this money for teaching the gospel, someone is going to be tempted to use it for entertainment. This church is small but I sincerely believe that they will be able to stand and stand against the innovations of the day.

My many thanks to all of you who have had a part in our travel fund. We are now only $898.00 short of our travel fund requirements. We have reservations on the Argentina Maru which is scheduled to sail from Yokohama in July so we hope to visit with many of you in August.

Robert P. Nichols