13. PRAY YE THE LORD OF THE HARVEST
“Therefore said he (Jesus) unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)
On the morning of 14 May 1978, God makes my final Sunday service in Yokokawa Hall a monumental occasion.
I ride the train from Karuizawa down the mount to Yokokawa, walk to Mr. Kuribayashi’s house and he gives me the key to the hall. Four boys playing outside follow me (Pied Piper fashion) to the hall to attend Sunday School. I have a blessed class with them.
Next hour is for adults. But the one adult that usually attends, Mr. Sato, doesn’t come today. Still I wait till the final end of church time, then kneel and pray, lock up, and walk back to Mr. Kuribayashi’s house to return the key.
When I call out at the foyer, an 81-year-old lady answers me from inside the house and slowly makes her way out to the foyer. I kindly give her the key, thanking her for the use of the hall.
“Would you please come in for tea?”
‘If it would not be a bother to you.’
“It’s not a bother. I’ve never met a Caucasian and I would like to meet your acquaintance.”
I enter. She prepares and sets out green tea as she talks, telling me her age and such. She is Mr. Kuribayashi’s mother. Thus I now learn that 4 generations live in this house; (1) the boy and girl who have attended my services, (2) their 2 parents whom I’ve never met, (3) their grandfather (Mr. Kuribayashi the key keeper) and (4) their great grandmother (this lady). I had no idea this great granny was here. But today (out of the 6 residents) she is the only one at home. She happily chats away.
“What were you doing at the hall?”
‘I was teaching about Jesus Christ. Do you know of Him?’
“No I don’t.”
‘Have you ever heard the Name, Jesus Christ?’
“No, I haven’t. I’ve heard of a religion called Christianity, but I know nothing about it.”
Perchance her birthday has passed this year, she was born in 1897. If it has not passed this year, she was born in 1896. She is already past the fourscore years the Bible tells us a human soul might obtain on earth. But most tragically she tells me she has never heard the One and Only Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Almighty Lord God, I praise Thee for taking this barefoot poor farm boy from plowing horses on our poor dirt and mud farm in Alabama, to the lofty skies of piloting jet warplanes, and back down to this old wooden oriental house amongst these jagged steep rock cliff mountains around Yokokawa to tell this precious lost elderly soul of eternal salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. She has never before heard the saving Gospel. How blessed and privileged I am!
As I sip the hot green tea, I speak of salvation in Christ. She happily agrees with all I say, making me think she is most senile, simply agreeing with me just to be friendly. (But I later come to think differently.)
I stay with her about 20 minutes and then ask her if I may pray for God’s blessings upon her house. That thrilled her and she happily consents. I close my eyes and pray. She doesn’t know to close her eyes. She doesn’t know to be silent while I’m praying. And as I pray good things for her family, she repeatedly speaks up. “Oh, thank you.” “That’s kind of you. Thank you.” She was not following dead church guidelines and customs at all. It was glorious and so spiritually refreshing! I thank her for the tea and depart, never again to see her on earth.
Less than 3 years from this day that I pray for great granny in her presence, I start occasional weekday children’s services in Yokokawa Hall. Her two great grandchildren eagerly come to those services. On an afternoon five years or more after this day, I hold a kids’ service, then play with them, and finally sit down to chat together. Setsuko (her great granddaughter) is present, now a chubby 10 or 11-year-old girl with a cheerful disposition who enjoys the services.
‘How is your great granny doing?’ Possibly that elderly soul is no longer on this earth, so I ask this to find out.
“She’s fine. She says that Jesus is good.”
‘Tell her that if she will trust in Jesus that He will take her to Heaven.’
“I’ve already told her that. And she says she trusts in Him.”
Setsuko’s words surprise me and fill my heart with joy. I perceive God chose her great granny and sent me from Daddy’s Alabama farm fields half way round the world to her house in rock cliff mountainous central Japan to tell her of the Saviour of whom she had never heard. Glory to God! Little Setsuko was born about 1973. As you calculate her age now, pray with me for God to save all her house and perfect the way of each soul in her house. Please also pray for her older brother and his family. I don’t recall his name.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:13-15)
Friend, if you have not yet called on the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ to save you, you need to do that now.
If you have been blessed by having been regularly taught about Christ for most or all of your life, please think seriously on the regretful truth that millions of people in this world, like Great Granny, have not heard the Name of Jesus Christ.
“Sweet Lord Jesus, please fill my heart with Thy Compassion for all the lost souls on earth. I now pray to The Lord of The Harvest to please send sufficient workers into Thy Harvest for everyone on earth to hear the saving Gospel. Please make me completely willing to go anywhere on earth that Thou doest desire to send me. Mold and make me into a useful vessel, a fruit bearing branch, I plead. Amen.”
Richard Yerby (Matsuida, Japan) www.Christ-is-all.us