SAFETY, REST, AND QUIET
Even Less Quiet
Though I didn’t start preaching out in public until after I became a missionary in Japan, I didn’t start my street preaching in Japan. I first preached in public on the Pacific island of Guam, a U.S. territory. Very soon after becoming a missionary here in Japan, God showed me the need to preach out in public because so few Japanese would come to church. But preaching in public would be a new thing for me, and therefore difficult. Because I was in language study at the time, and still very poor in speaking Japanese, it would have been hard to do my first street preaching ever, in this new language. Stage fright would likely have caused me to clutch up, forgetting what little Japanese I did know.
In August 1975, only 5 months after becoming a missionary, I visited Guam for the first time. At that time, there was a lot of Viet Namese refugees on Guam. How my heart went out to them, as they had fled their homeland because of war. So I witnessed to them about Christ, taught them English, and was often with them in their refugee camp. That was a highlight of that first trip to Guam. Also, I fell in love with hot, tropical Guam and its peoples, a melting pot of islanders, Asians, people from the U.S., and other peoples. So I started going to Guam twice a year or so, as it is close to Japan. I particularly enjoyed going in the dead of winter when it is so cold where I live in Japan. What a relief to spend January basking in Guam’s tropical heat.
At that time, I hadn’t been in Japan very long. So it still seemed most “foreign” to me. How refreshing it was to go to Guam and there use American money, talk in English, and such. Upon calling me to be a missionary, God gave me a burning desire to witness about Christ. It was frustrating that I could talk so little to the Japanese then, because of my limited language ability. How good it felt to escape to Guam and there talk freely in English. On the 18th of May 1978, I preached out in public for the first time in my life, and I did it there on Guam.
Oh, it was so hard to do at first, because courage was lacking. How I dreaded it each time I left the house and drove to the place I had chosen to preach. My first attempts were so feeble. Some of the times I went out to preach, I would go to the public place I had chosen where there were several people around, open up my Bible, and even open my mouth, but could not muster up the courage to speak. I would close my silent mouth, close my Bible; get back into the car and leave. The times I did find the courage to speak out, I usually felt so embarrassed that I cut it short and soon quit. I share that with you because you are likely to experience such if you start preaching out in public. If so, keep praying for more courage and don’t give up and quit. Determine that with Almighty God’s Help, you will be like perfect and upright Job. “Neither was I quiet.”
“Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it”
I returned from Guam to Japan and spent a lot of time fasting and praying for more courage. In January 1979, I went to Guam again and God helped me do much better preaching in public. “Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John 15:2) Amen! God certainly does that. And what a joy to me to see Him bless my efforts to proclaim His Word out in public and to watch those efforts become less feeble each time.
“Lord God, I desire to bear fruit for Thee. Please make me fruitful. Please purge me that I may bring forth more fruit for Thy Glory. I pray this for all other Christians also. Amen.”
I had also prayed for wisdom and discernment about the best locations and best methods for preaching out in public. I had carefully considered those 2 factors before I ever preached on Guam. I knew better than to interrupt people’s daily affairs to much extent at all; as most people out in public are plenty busy working, running errands, or immensely enjoying some pleasure or recreation. Though the eternal salvation of their souls is much more important than their daily physical affairs, likely I would only offend them and turn them against my message if I were much of an interruption to what they were doing. My favorite method in Japan of preaching on the narrow residential streets would not work so well because residential areas on Guam are not so compact. At first, I rejected places where people were “at work” (in any fashion), so as to avoid bothering their “important” work.
Therefore, in 1978 when I first preached in public, I chose places of “play” and preached mainly in the park at Ipao Beach and the Paseo Park in Agana next to the ocean. I would preach near people who were fishing, having a picnic, carrying on some form of recreation, just sitting in their cars gazing at the beautiful ocean, or such. But what resulted wasn’t so good in that the people in the immediate area often left (just ran away) when I started preaching. And if I moved on just a ways to where different people were, they too would leave when I started up. I honestly felt bad about interrupting the good time they had come there to enjoy. Also, the ones who fled didn’t hear much preaching. So in my mind, I sought for better locations. And while back in Japan, fasting, praying, and seeking God’s wisdom, courage, and guidance; I determined that with God’s Help, the next time I went to Guam I would preach in front of “dens of iniquity” and at the large Flea Market in Harmon Field.
I praise God that He poured out a great increase the next time I went to Guam. I arrived on Friday, January 19th. And on the 3rd night I was there (Sunday night after church), I went out to preach in public for the first time on this trip. I went to those 2 bars near Taco Bell on Marine Drive there in Tamuning. In much prayer, I had sought God’s guidance about where to preach. And more and more, it became clear to me that I should go to places of sin, and preach there. I was plenty scared as I walked onto the parking area in front of those 2 bars to preach, all alone. On my last 2 trips to Guam I had an over abundance of stage fright each time I tried to preach out in public. But now I had a new and better reason to be afraid. Murder is not all that rare on Guam. And I figured that preaching in front of bars was about as good a way as any, to get murdered there. “Help me, Lord.”
I looked over the situation; people going into and coming out of the bars from time to time, and a large, muscle-bound “bouncer” standing near the entrance of one bar. I wished he were not out there in sight. He would likely object to me preaching because preaching definitely isn’t conducive to the bars’ business and it could result in bar customers bad mouthing me or even assaulting me. I kept about as far away from the bars as I could, staying on the edge of the parking area near the street (Marine Drive). And calling on God for protection, I mustered up all the courage I could, opened my Bible, and started preaching. “Neither was I quiet.” Out of fear, I didn’t preach very loudly at all, but the bouncer and the others around could easily hear it. As soon as I started preaching, that bouncer turned his attention to me, observed me for a while, and then soon headed toward me. “I knew it. Trouble.”
“What are you doing out here?” he asked me.
He was silent for just a while, trying to decide what to do about that, I guess. Then he said, “Why don’t you go somewhere else and do that? These people might not like you preaching here.”
Well look at that. I had only been preaching in front of bars for 3 minutes or so, when I got an invitation to preach at other places also. How fortunate and blessed I was. I have forgotten exactly how I responded to that invitation. But I meekly and firmly held my ground and told him I wanted to preach there for a while. He soon left me and went back to his post. And glory to God, I stood my post and proclaimed God’s Word to those drunken sinners. And as best I recall, I didn’t get murdered that night. Thank God for that. Glory!
From that day in January 1979 till December 1984, by God’s grace I preached many late night hours in front of several different bars and other “dens of iniquity” on Guam. The devil reared his ugly head and fiercely opposed it many times. But my God was so good to protect me and enable me to stand out there and be like Job. To God be the glory for it all. “Neither was I quiet.”
The next day, Monday the 22nd, I went and preached in Agana, near the drivers’ license office in that government building across the street from the front of the Agana Post Office. That building is long and somewhat narrow. And the long side of it, that faces the police station across the street, is a covered walkway that is open on the outside side. Several offices there conducted their business through office windows that opened onto that covered walkway. People going there on business would not enter the offices proper, but just go up to a business window in that covered walkway. Guam is hot all year and the walkway was under the building’s roof that kept out the rain.
The drivers’ license office was in the very end of the building, closest to the post office. Much of the time during business hours, a line of people extended from its window back on the sidewalk (that was a straight extension of the covered walkway) toward the post office. The people in line submitted some kind of paperwork at the window (likely application forms), and then sat on the benches lined up against the outer edge of the covered walkway and waited for their names to be called.
As God had been stirring up a desire in my heart to preach out in public, I began to look on everyone out in public as a church congregation, and was always on the lookout for public places that had good congregations. Oh how I liked that “captive” congregation of people in line waiting to submit their paperwork and the several people sitting on the benches waiting for their names to be called. They wouldn’t run from me like the people playing in the parks did. Also, beside that sidewalk was a great tree with spreading branches and large spreading roots above the ground. I call it a banyan tree from its looks, though I do not know if it actually was a banyan tree. But as I first looked at it, I was quite sure that God put it there to provide a good shade and coolness for me as I preached to that lovely congregation faithfully assembled there daily, composed of different people each day. So being most desirous to take advantage of that wonderful congregation God had so graciously provided, I started standing under that large, spreading tree and preaching to that congregation so nearby. Glory to God! “Neither was I quiet.”
The first few times I preached there, it was ever so hard to speak out and get started. I would look at the people, some lined up and some sitting on the benches, and I knew they sure were not expecting a preaching service to start. Also, I knew that was the last thing most of them wanted. As I got in place beside the sidewalk and under the shade of that tree, the closest people lined up on the sidewalk directly in front of me were only 5 or 6 feet in front of me. What a close front pew that was. When I would start preaching, the slightly meandering line of eternal souls, almost with military precision, would straighten up and float over to the far side of the narrow sidewalk to get another 2 feet or so from me, just as far away from me as they possibly could and still stay there and conduct their business. As some of them began to look up at the sky or down at the sidewalk, anywhere but at me, I could just about read their thoughts. “I can’t believe this is happening.” “There should be laws to protect us from such as this.” “Such harassment shouldn’t be allowed in this land of the free.” “Get that line moving up there so we can get gone.”
Usually the line moved ever so slowly and after reaching the business window and submitting their paperwork, the people waited nearby till their name was called. Often each person was there 30 to 40 minutes, plenty long to hear a lot of good preaching, which I gladly gave them. “Neither was I quiet.” For one time, I felt good about a government office being “slow” and keeping the people there for a long time. On most weekdays, people were lined up there and sitting on those benches during most of the office hours. I would go there often and preach for a few hours at a time as the people came and went. Just a few Christians spoke words of encouragement to me. A very few lost people came up to me and asked me serious questions about God and the Bible. A few people told me I shouldn’t preach there. A very few cursed me as they left. Through it all, I continued preaching as my Lord led me to do, and I got such a blessing out of it. Glory! The people waiting there at the drivers’ license office were one of the most “convenient” congregations I have ever had out in public. Traffic on the nearby streets wasn’t very noisy and the people were very close. Those 2 factors kept me from having to raise my voice to be heard. Therefore I could last many hours, talking in a “normal” voice. The shade tree and breeze gave plenty of comfort. How blessed I felt that God called me to minister to that congregation daily gathered there at the corner of that government building. And how I enjoyed preaching to them many hours from January 1979 through the summer of 1984. “Neither was I quiet.”
The next night (Tuesday), a couple of men from Harvest Baptist Church went with me to an area where there were a few bars, but a different place from where I had preached on Sunday night. They passed out tracts and witnessed to people while I preached. We all got such a blessing out of it and how it encouraged me to have them with me. O what joyous Glory!
Then the next day, Wednesday, January the 24th, I preached at the flagpole between the Tamuning Post Office and the bank next door. I think that was the Bank of Hawaii. It was there on Airport Road and both that bank and the P.O. have changed locations since then. The bank building was near Airport Road with an open area behind it with the flagpole and 1 or 2 large trees, and behind that was the post office. The parking lot was beside those 2 buildings. So there were no cars in the little “plaza” between them and the traffic was far enough away so it was quiet enough there. There were always people going into and out of the post office and the bank and usually some standing around in the shade, reading their mail they had just picked up, or talking with other people. Though usually fewer in number than the people waiting at the drivers’ license office in Agana, there was a lovely congregation here most of the day each weekday. And with Almighty God’s Help, I gave them a lot of hours of good preaching. It was one of the few places I preached on Guam where no one came up to me and told me that I couldn’t preach there, or shouldn’t preach there. Also a couple of Christian gentlemen whom I had never met before, usually spoke a short encouraging word to me most every time I was out there preaching when they came to the post office almost daily. What a blessing all that was to me! Glory! “Neither was I quiet.”
“Almighty God in Heaven, please powerfully stir up all the hearts of us Christian believers to be like Job, and not to be quiet about help, hope, and salvation in Christ as people around us are perishing daily. Help us to daily hold forth the words of life to them. Amen.”
At this time, I was going to Guam usually twice a year and staying 5 or 6 weeks each time. Two years or so later, on a day that I flew from Japan to Guam, Brother Billy met me at the airport. He was a good Christian friend that I had met at Harvest Baptist Church there. This time, as he drove away from the airport he soon said, “Sam, there is something I just have to tell you now.” And he went on to tell me about a young, local man that he worked with. When Brother Billy first talked to this man about Christ, his reaction was plenty sarcastic and he had no desire to hear about God and the Bible. But over a period of time, he got to be quite friendly with Brother Billy, mainly because he observed that Billy was of fine, honest, and upstanding character. And what Brother Billy was so desirous to tell me, was something this young Chamorro man had recently told him at work.
“You know, one day when I went to the post office, there was a man standing at the flagpole there preaching. I couldn’t believe anyone would be out there preaching in such a place and thought it was so ridiculous. I went on into the post office, but when I came back out later, he was still out there preaching. And I just kept thinking how out of place it was for anyone to be out there in public preaching. As I got in my truck to leave, I was thinking what a crazy guy he must be. But I waited to listen to it just a little before I left. And do you know what? I sat there in my truck listening to him preach for an hour. And it was good!”
Glory be to Almighty God in Heaven, for the Power of His Word to change a heart like that in a few minutes. That man didn’t get saved upon hearing me, but his sarcastic attitude about someone preaching in public quickly changed and he became “blessed” by the Word that was being preached. And what a blessing it was to me when Brother Billy told me about that. I was most glad that I had not been quiet. “Neither was I quiet.”
When that lost, Hell-bound man sat in his truck listening to me for over an hour, I had no idea he was doing it. I was simply following God’s leading by standing out in public and proclaiming, “thus saith the Lord God” to all available ears. And I most strongly like the fact that that man was free to listen to it or not. Had I tried to stop him to witness to him personally, likely he would have refused me and gone on his way. Had I stopped him to witness to him personally and had he submitted to me doing that; likely he would have done it reluctantly, would have been impatient, irritated, and would have had his guard up against me trying to force religion on him. And it is most doubtful he would have let me “hold him” for an hour. Had he attended church, he would likely get bored before the sermon ended, feeling like a captive till the church service ended. But sitting there in his truck, he was totally free to leave any time he wanted. And that was one main reason he enjoyed listening to Bible preaching out in public for an hour, just after having thought is so ridiculous and crazy when he first confronted it there that day. He was totally free to take it or leave it at any time.
I have nothing at all against soul winners witnessing personally to an individual out in public. I do that myself. I certainly rejoice in lost people attending church to hear preaching. But I also favor preaching in public because of the strong points I see that are peculiar to it. It goes into all ears within hearing range, including the ears that will not go to church nor let you stop them to witness to them personally in public. Also, the hearer is totally free to listen to as little or as much as he chooses, gladly listening to it for an hour, just after thinking it so ridiculous and crazy when he walked upon it unexpectedly. Had I “collared” that man to talk to him personally, and had he submitted to that, and had I talked an hour, non-stop, to him personally, there is no way he would have gone away from there saying, “It was good.” Most likely he would have gone away, very mad at me for interrupting him for so long. There is unique power and advantage in doing what God commanded Ezekiel to do in Chapter 2; stand before a rebellious, impudent, stiffhearted nation and declare unto them, “Thus saith the Lord God.” God has led me to do such for thousands of hours, and how blessed it has been. Please seriously consider if you would like to partake of such blessings. “Neither was I quiet.”
“Lord God, please stir up my heart with a good understanding of the blessedness of proclaiming Thy Word out in public and give me a great zeal to do that. I pray this for all other Christians also. Amen.”
(Now let me get back to this week of public preaching in January 1979.) The next day, Thursday, I preached at the Dededo Shopping Center, next to the building where people were entering from the parking lot. A Chinese Christian lady who had a cafe there named “Our Daily Bread”, came out to me and spoke kind words of encouragement to me, and then invited me into her store to treat me to a cone of ice cream. As I preached in public on Guam, Christians whom I had never met before would stop and bestow such kindnesses upon me, often offering me water or juice because they know how easy it is for me to get thirsty preaching out in that tropical sun. On thanking them, I usually reminded them of what Christ said in Mark 9:41. “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” When I get to Heaven, I want to look up those people and see just what wonderful, eternal rewards they got for those refreshing cups of water and juice that they gave me in Christ’s Name.
The next day, Friday, I again preached at the drivers’ license office in Agana. Also I spent some time on Friday getting ready for a big preaching service I hoped to conduct early the following morning at the large Flea Market in Harmon Field. At that time, that market attracted a large crowd every Saturday and Sunday morning. Early birds came about 4:00 A.M. and most everyone was gone by 10:00 A.M. or so. The peak crowd at 7-8 AM reached about 2,000 souls, I suppose. That is a lot of eternal souls and they were peoples from several different nations. So I considered that Flea Market an excellent mission field. I had prayed long and hard for the courage to stand out there and preach in the midst of that large crowd. And, on Saturday morning, January 27th, I went out there to preach. I was excited and also plenty nervous about it. But I was determined that by the grace of God, that I would not back down and fail to preach.
I went out to Harmon Field about 5:00 AM, drove on into the vending area, chose a selling spot and parked there, then pulled out a $5 bill and nervously waited for the man in charge to come around and collect my vender’s fee. I had two things to be nervous about; the needed courage to preach, and whether they would allow me to preach there. I could have parked outside the vending area, walked in, and just started preaching. But I thought they were more likely to object to that. But if I made it official by paying for a vending spot, then I should be allowed to just “talk,” shouldn’t I? While holding a Bible? And talking somewhat loud? And talking about religion? “Lord, help me, please. Please don’t let them refuse me.”
Soon the man came down the line collecting money from the venders. When he reached me, I quickly thrust my $5 bill out the car window, wanting him to know money was available for the taking. But he first asked me, “What are you selling?”
“I don’t have anything to sell. I just want to preach.” And I showed him my Bible, along with my offered payment.
“No,” he said very firmly and business-like. And how my heart plummeted. All the high hopes I had of preaching to that great multitude were totally wiped out with that one word. But praise God that despair lasted only about 2 seconds. “You don’t have to pay for that,” he added. The relief I felt on hearing those words, must have been akin to being raised from the dead. He was a man of India and not overly fluent in English, which resulted in him being rather blunt in speech. I thought his “No,” was forbidding me to preach. But it was just the start of him telling me that no payment is required for preaching. What a bright difference.
I happily thanked him, and I thanked my God also. And with the coast now clear, I put that money away, got out with my Bible, stood in front of the car, and facing the lane where many people were walking by, I started preaching. Untold joy began to flood my being as I preached, and preached, and PREACHED! “Neither was I quiet!”
What a multitude of eternal souls. Plenty of people stopped to listen. Just a few would stop right in front of me or very near to me. But more would stop at a further distance to my right or left, likely thinking that if they stopped closer to me, that I would then try to personally cram religion down their throats. I was glad to see that some would stop to listen. The people, who did not stop, also heard “some” preaching as they walked by. O what a multitude of souls out there, headed for eternity. What a privilege and joy to stand there and hold forth the Words of Life to them. What great satisfaction to finally have the courage to stand out there and do that, after so many feeble attempts and times that I wasn’t even brave enough to start. Finally, I wasn’t quiet at all, and how I thanked God for that and desired to give Him ALL the glory for it. “Neither was I quiet.”
“Lord God in Heaven, please help us all to be like Job. Amen.”
The local newspaper just happened to be doing the Flea Market that Saturday morning. So when the newspaper came out the following Monday morning, there I was on the page featuring the Flea Market. With great joy, I preached for 2 to 3 hours out there that morning. Then my voice began to wind down about the same time that the crowd did. So I headed back “home” with joy unspeakable and full of glory, so happy and thankful that God had enabled me to preach to that mass of souls out there.
(That was the beginning of many preaching sessions at the Harmon Flea Market. Often, people from Harvest Baptist Church joined me. We sang together, and they passed out tracts and witnessed to people as I preached. Such precious memories.)
During my previous trip to Guam when I first tried preaching in public, it only amounted to a few sporadic and feeble attempts. Now, this climatic, large service at the Flea Market capped a full week of preaching out in public every day for a quite long period of time each day. That was so fulfilling to me. I felt like I had somewhat arrived at where God wanted me to be and was doing what He created me to do. Such joy unspeakable and full of Glory! In speaking to the Samarian woman at the well, Christ told her, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)
“Springing up” seemed to describe everything that God had put into my little ol’ heart that I had opened to Him many years ago. I was overflowing with so many things I wanted to tell the whole world, concerning how wonderful God is. Preaching from a pulpit inside a steeple house 3 times a week or so would certainly not be enough to use up all that “springing up, bubbling up, and running over” that was going on in my heart and mind. I just about had to be constantly telling it to lost souls who so badly needed to know about God and His Salvation. During my previous 5 trips to Guam since August 1975, I had done a lot of “knocking on doors,” wanting to talk to people about God. But so few people behind those doors would let me talk to them, and that made me feel so bound and restrained, not being able to tell about this water of life that was springing up in me. But all this week, freely standing out in public and freely preaching anything God led me to say, with large numbers of souls there to hear it, I had never felt so free. Talk about “having arrived!” That is exactly how I felt. Glory to God for it! “Neither was I quiet.”
“Lord God, please help all us Christian believers to do Thy Perfect Will in being like perfect and upright Job, in regards to not being quiet. Remind us of how we constantly talk about anything and everything but spiritual matters that matter for all eternity. Help us to use our voices for the exact purpose for which Thou didst create them. Amen.”
“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet”
Many Christians seldom or never talk to lost souls about God and eternal matters. And a lot of those Christians appear to have no desire to do so. Something is terribly wrong with them. Are you one of them? Christ promised in John 4:14 that this water of life that He gives to believers will be a “well of water springing up.” So, if it is not springing up and overflowing from you into many ears around you, I think you should call on your God to show you exactly why it isn’t.
“Heavenly Father, please show me exactly what is wrong in my spiritual life, that I do not witness to lost souls about Thy Salvation. And by Thy Power, please give me victory over my shortcomings and help me to hold forth the Words of Life to all the lost souls I can. Cause me to truly desire that no one perish in eternal hell fire. I pray this for all other Christians who do not witness to the lost. Amen.”
Some of you pastors have ceased preaching on many of the pet sins that are so openly evident in your congregation. Down through the years, your people have treated you to the banquet table so often that you are now fat. You regularly participate with them in every “clean” recreation available. They have constantly bestowed every imaginable kindness upon you and your family. So now you cannot bring yourself to name their pet sins and “step on their toes” as you preach. And you vex your soul over that failure of yours, as the Holy Spirit convicts you about it. So let me invite you to get out and preach in public and just see how free you feel out there to speak all your heart and mind.
“He shall give thee the desires of thine heart”
I was staying in the home of Christian friends on Guam. And on returning from the Flea Market that Saturday morning, I took a refreshing shower and sat down in the living room to relax and rejoice in what God had enabled me to do. That week of daily preaching out in public, with so many people hearing it, seemed to be the most fruitful week in my whole life up until that time. How rewarding and blessed it felt. Sister Becky sat there talking with me about it and rejoicing along with me. It seemed like life just couldn’t get any better. But it instantly did. The doorbell rang.
That sort of irritated me, for such a “good” time to get interrupted. Because I was a guest there, I just sat still as Sister Becky got up to go to her front door. But she had only taken 2 or 3 steps toward the door when the phone rang. Another interruption, likely enough to completely end the nice time we were enjoying there. Sister Becky sort of laughed and in comical frustration said to me, “You get the door and I’ll get the phone.”
A little irritated, I went to the door to see who their guest was. But on opening the door, I saw that it was my guest, a 10-year-old girl named Marie. “Mother said we can ride the bus to church Sunday.” What a joy and an answer to my prayers to hear that. The last time I had been on Guam, I had also stayed in this home. I would witness to the children playing outside, read Bible stories to them, teach them songs about Jesus, and invite them to ride the bus to church. Several made decisions to receive Christ. Marie and her 2 sisters wanted to ride the bus to church, but their Mother firmly refused that. Several of their friends in the same apartment building rode the church bus and Marie and her sisters wanted to, so badly. They would just about beg their Mother to let them, but she was always said, “NO.”
While in Japan, I had prayed hard for their Mother’s salvation and for her to allow them to ride the bus to church. And now as soon as I got back to Guam, Marie brings the good news that they can go to church with me, adding more joy to the overflowing portion I already had from preaching at the Flea Market. Life sure couldn’t get any better than this. But instantly it did, as Sister Becky called out to me. “Sam, the phone is for you.” (On Guam and in Japan, I go by the name, “Sam.”)
First I was irritated about the doorbell interrupting my good time. And now that I am having such a good time at the door talking to Marie, I am again irritated over someone wanting me on the phone. I don’t live here and I don’t know many people on Guam. Almost no one knows I am at this house. Who could it possibly be? As Sister Becky handed me the phone she said, “It’s Mrs. W. at _____.” Then I realized that this was a very important call for me.
Each of the 5 previous times I had come to Guam, I did as much witnessing about Christ as I could. Much of that witnessing was to children who lived in the different neighborhoods where I had stayed at various friends’ houses. I had so many blessed times, as they would gather around me for singing, a Bible story, and such, on the apartment grounds where they lived. The last time I had come to Guam, Harvest Baptist Church let me use a van to bring people to church each Sunday morning and usually I filled it with children, up to 30. What a joy it was. This time, I had come back to Guam, planning to rent an apartment myself to live in while there and hold children’s services daily in it, free from so many interruptions that bothered us as I met with them outside, like a tropical squall pouring rain down on us.
While in Japan, I had prayed much for God to guide and help me regarding that. I had saved up my pennies to pay the rent. And very soon after arriving on Guam, I went to the apartment complex I had chosen as best suited for my purposes. I planned to be on Guam about 5 weeks and intended to rent an apartment for one month. What a disappointing shock it was to me when the manager told me that a minimum one-year lease was required to rent one of his apartments. It had never occurred to me that I would not be able to rent for such a short time as 1 month. Oh, that hit me so hard. For months, I had made exciting plans for daily having evangelistic services in my own little dwelling the next time I went to Guam. And now that dream was instantly shattered. Oh, that hurt. I got into my car and went from one apartment complex to another and was told by each manager that a lease was required, the shortest one being 3-months. No exceptions. (There were “hotel-like” places that had weekly and monthly rates, but there were few or no children living in such places.)
When I inquired at the apartments managed by Mr. and Mrs. W., he was most kind to me. I think he was a Christian and I guess he felt plenty sorry for me as I hung my head in despair when he told me they required a 3-month lease. “No exceptions?” I asked.
“I could ask the head office in Hawaii if they would make an exception for you. But I know what the answer will be. They will say ‘No’.”
“Please ask them anyway, and let’s see what they say.”
“O.K. It will take 2 or 3 days to get a reply back from them.”
After leaving his office, I earnestly prayed that God would work a miracle and they would allow me to rent for one month. But being so weak in faith, I more or less expected Mr. W. to be right about the head office saying, “No.” The head office in Hawaii didn’t know me. On top of that, I was a “nobody” to Mr. W. and to the head office. So when I took that phone from Sister Becky, I thought that the answer was likely to be “No.”
But God my Creator to Whom I pray, and to whom I belong, certainly knows me! I praise His Name that I am not a “nobody” to Him. And even though my faith was so weak when I prayed to Him to provide an apartment for me, His love and compassion for me certainly wasn’t weak. He took pity upon me. Also, He was most pleased with me standing among those many souls out in public every day this week and preaching His Word to them for many hours. And God rewarded me and gave me what I had prayed for. Mrs. W. said, “The head office in Hawaii approved of you renting for one month.”
“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalms 37:4)
“Almighty Jehovah God, I beg Thee to help me to do exactly that. Please help me to truly delight myself in Thee, My Lord God. Please help all other people to do this also. Amen.”
I was stunned by that good news. Two important prayers of mine were answered there on one spot and in the same instant after I returned from preaching out in public to the largest crowd I had ever preach to in person up till that time. And not a one of them had put forth any effort to come to church that morning. I simply took “church” to them. I did not have to go through a sanity-destroying building project and building fund drive to provide a large sanctuary for those hundreds of people to come sit in to hear good, Heaven-sent preaching. All I had to do was to simply go to where they were, open up my Bible and start preaching. I am firmly convinced that was most pleasing to God. And I certainly believe that there was a direct connection between me spending a week preaching in public every day, and then God answering those prayers right after that. I believe that God was clearly showing me how pleased He was with me standing in the midst of that large crowd and proclaiming “Thus saith the Lord God.” I believe God timed the doorbell and the telephone together to let me know without any doubt that it was of Him. “As for God, his way is perfect.” (Psalms 18:30) Oh, I felt so blessed that day! How glad I was that I had not been quiet. “Neither was I quiet.”
A few minutes after I got that miracle phone call about the apartment, I put some of my clothes into the car & drove out to those apartments, rented one, and “moved in,” if one could call it that by just taking a handful of clothes and such inside. The apartment manager and wife were both plenty surprised that the head office in Hawaii approved the one-month lease. Truly it was a miracle from God, and to God be ALL the Glory for it! The next day, (Sunday) Marie and her 2 sisters went to church on the bus and Marie went forward at invitation time to receive Christ. More Glory! The day after that, Monday the 29th of January, a picture of me preaching at the Flea Market appeared in the newspaper. Also, that afternoon, I had my first evangelistic service in that newly rented apartment with 11 people attending. More Glory! Oh what a blessed time it was. I held a service in that apartment every day through February 22nd and then returned to Japan the next day after that. Several young people made decisions to receive Christ during those services in that rented apartment and what a joy it was to see that. “Neither was I quiet.”
Another apartment complex had been my first choice because I had previously stayed there in a friend’s apartment and therefore knew a lot of people there. But it was not so large, and this one I entered was the largest apartment complex on Guam at the time, I think. Therefore more people attended my services. No doubt this place was God’s choice, and thus He worked a miracle and put me there. Glory to God!
Three days after starting the services in that apartment, very early on Thursday morning, February 1st, I drove to a shopping complex to preach to the long line of people waiting for the food stamp office located there to open up. Each time I discovered a group of people in public, whom I could preach to without interfering with whatever affairs they were there to carry on, I would just exclaim to myself, “What a lovely congregation!” Those people waiting outside the driver’s license office were a most lovely congregation because they were not going anywhere soon. And that was more true of the people waiting in line for the food stamp office to open on the 1st workday of any month.
Starting the first day of the month, recipients could receive their monthly allotment of food stamps any time, and most of the people came to get them the first 3 days of the month. So, when I arrived there about 7 AM this first day of February, already 50 or so people were lined up, sitting on benches or on the concrete, or standing. People were continuously arriving to wait, and the office didn’t open till 9 AM. Oh how I rejoiced in that congregation being there for 2 more hours before the line even started moving, and then after the office opened, a line of people would be formed up most of the day. How I looked forward to preaching several hours to that “lovely” and “captive” congregation.
Marie’s Dad was a security guard there at the shopping center. (Marie is the 10-year-old girl who rang the doorbell Saturday morning with the good news that she and her 2 sisters could ride the bus to church the next day.) So I had previously asked her Dad if anyone in authority there would likely tell me I couldn’t preach outside there. I was most relieved when he replied that he didn’t think anything like that would ever happen. But I quickly found out this morning, that he was totally wrong about that.
Arriving there about 7AM and seeing such a large “congregation” just sitting there doing nothing but idly talking with each other, gave me plenty of butterflies in my stomach. With Bible in hand, I positioned myself near the head of the line, prayed for the needed courage, and hauled off preaching in a plenty loud voice because this line was long. When I started my bellowing, everyone fell silent and listened up, likely thinking I was making some very important announcement about the food stamps they were waiting for. It didn’t take them long to realize I was just preaching, holding forth the words of eternal life to them. But most of them didn’t consider such preaching important, so they quickly returned to their chatting, which now contained snickers and snide remarks about me. I expected such from Bible rejecters and I was glad to see things return to “normal.” I quickly began to get over my case of butterflies. The nervousness of starting up was fading, and I was “settling into the groove” to preach a long time to that large and steadily growing congregation, when the security guard came up to me. I had been preaching less than 20 minutes.
He was plenty kind as he asked me if I had gotten permission to preach there. I replied that I had not. Then he told me that I would have to get permission from the manager and told me where I could find him in a 2nd floor office over the store spaces. I felt plenty disappointed as I walked away from my “pulpit” there. No doubt the sight of the guard talking to me and then me walking away brought plenty of joy to the hearts of many in my “lovely” congregation there. Down through the ages, lots of church congregations have been glad to see their pastor “go.” And I guess this congregation was another one of them. How I wished Marie’s Dad had been on guard duty today, instead of this other man. Her Dad would not have interrupted me at all. But this guard was so kind that it gave me hope that getting permission from the manager would be just a formality. But that turned out to be a false hope.
I found the manager already in his office at that early hour and related to him how I had been preaching outside where the people were waiting for the food stamp office to open, and that the guard had sent me up here to get his permission. I was hoping he would readily approve it. He was plenty friendly too, but he said I would have to get that permission from the owner. That answer disappointed me plenty. But I asked him where I could find the owner, and then headed to the office building across the street where he directed me. Both the security guard and the manager had been plenty friendly. Therefore I had hopes that this fine Baptist man would be even more friendly. But those hopes turned out to be false also.
By then it was close to 8 AM and the owner was in his office, though I never got to see him. When I told his secretary in the outer office that I wanted to see him, she asked me the reason for my visit. I told her that I wanted to ask his permission to preach outside at his shopping center. She went back into an inner office and very quickly returned and told me. “Mr. _____ said that would be a positively ‘NO’!” And she put plenty of emphasis on both the words, “positively NO.” I wasn’t aware that “NO” could be so positive. But that fine Baptist, sure did make it a “positively NO.” So much for his Baptist hospitality, bless his Baptist heart.
Though I was plenty disappointed by being shut out from preaching to that large “congregation” that would be sitting there a couple of hours before moving, I was also thoroughly convinced it would be entirely futile to try to pursue that matter any further in the owner’s office. So I left there feeling most low and defeated. That “congregation” waiting for the food stamp office to open 2 hours later, would have been captive to my preaching a much longer time than any of the other captive congregations I had found. That situation there amounted to about my best preaching opportunity on Guam. How it hurt for that Baptist man to not allow me to preach out there in that open, God created air.
As I walked back to my car, I was all torn up. I had so looked forward to preaching there till about noon. I debated with myself about just going back to my “pulpit” there and preaching anyway, but I thought it best to first pray about that a while. As I got into my car to leave, I gazed longingly at my “congregation,” which was even larger now. Oh how I wanted to preach to them. Oh, how I didn’t want to be quiet. I was at a loss as to where to go and what to do now, as I had planned to be here preaching a few more hours. So I decided to drive a while, to pray and to “blow off some steam.”
I drove out onto Route 4, thinking I would drive across the island to Ipan Beach on the backside, and walk that deserted beach and pray a while. But before reaching Route 10, I had calmed down enough to decide it would be best to get back to work at something. So I turned left onto Route 10 and went through Mangilao. Driving along, praying about what to do this morning, I passed that large Social Security office on the left and was happily surprised to see a large “congregation” gathered outside of it, waiting to get food stamps. I knew that food stamps were issued at various places on Guam, but I didn’t know till now that they were issued here at the Social Security office. I quickly pulled in there and with a little difficulty I found a place to park amongst the many cars. Then with my Bible in hand, I walked up to that large open “porch” area where a multitude of lost souls were “lounging” all around.
How I rejoiced in finding another such “lovely” congregation. But this open “porch” was more or less private property, so I knew it was likely that someone in authority here would tell me I couldn’t preach here. Only one way to find out about that, start preaching. So that is exactly what I did. “Neither was I quiet.” Everyone around went through the expected routine of snapping to attention and listening up to whatever important announcement such loud speech must be. When they recognize it to be nothing more than old-fashioned Bible preaching, most of them return to their chatting, but now with the chuckles, smirks, and snide remarks about me. I don’t mind all that, just so no one comes up and slaps the “cuffs” on me and hauls me away. But here at the Social Security office, no one did that, praise God. Nor did anyone tell me I wasn’t allowed to preach. The congregation soon returned to “normal.” I got settled into some good preaching, and began to feel so blessed because God had given me another large congregation after the owner of the previous place closed my pulpit at his “too good for preaching” commercial property.
It began to look like I might have smooth sailing here. But in about 5 minutes, the ol’ devil raised his ugly head. A large lady in the crowd had stared at me from the start, and now she starts walking toward me. She was an islander who weighed 300 pounds or so, was wearing a white Muumuu about the size of a tent, and she more or less just rolled along as she came over to me. Oh, she was big. “Here comes trouble.” I was quite sure she wasn’t any kind of “official” there, and therefore was going to forbid me to preach. But anywhere I preach out in public, the vast majority of the few hearers who speak to me are nothing more than trouble. They want to argue religion or make worthless speech that is just a hindrance to me preaching. It is most rare for a lost person to ask me any serious, “spiritual” question. So overall, I am desirous for the hearers to simply leave me alone to the high calling of preaching the Word. Just a very few Christians will give me a friendly greeting and some encouraging words. Most who come up to talk to me are simply “trouble” in some form. That is what I perceived this lady to be, and I was right. Looking at her face, I thought she was probably demon possessed. And when she spoke up, I was more convinced of that.
She “rolled up” real close to me, but did nothing more. And I began to get embarrassed with her right in my face. So I stopped preaching to see if she had anything to say to me. And she certainly did.
I had expected her to say something worthless, which certainly turned out to be the case. But what she uttered was about the last thing I expected her to say. I had absolutely no idea what I should say in response to that. You know how we “soul winners” listen to the “expert” soul winners and read their writings to glean wisdom from them. They give a lot of good tips and instruct us as to the best answers for the “far-out” questions and statements people throw at us. But I cannot recall any of them ever advising us on what to say when a person proclaims to us that they are God. I stood there dumbfounded, trying my best to think of something appropriate to say to her when she spoke up again.
“I’m the Three-in-One.”
I immediately thought of a fitting reply to that. “Well, I can certainly believe that. You sure are big enough to be three in one.” But it would not be very nice to say that, so I didn’t. I did say a few words to her, which I have forgotten by now. I was most relieved when she soon walked back to where she had been, and I was able to continue preaching. And as I preached for the next 2 hours or so, I was so thankful that no one else bothered me in any way at all. God helped me do a lot of good preaching and many people heard it. To God be the glory. “Neither was I quiet,” on this food stamp congregation day.
I left there rejoicing because I did get to preach a good long time there. But I was also sort of “bushed” and tired, from getting up so early, then having to hassle with the authorities at the 1st place I preached, being shut out by them, and then meeting that big “god” at the Social Security office. What a day on the job! I went back to the apartment and a good number of children came to the service at 3:30, which greatly encouraged me. God blessed with an especially good service, no doubt as reward for me exerting every effort I could to preach to those large “congregations” in the morning.
My fellow Christian, do you pass too many dull days filled with boredom; nothing unusual happening, just the same old routine every day? Then just try being like Job and not being quiet all day about Almighty God on High, and see how many unusual things come your way that day.
“Lord God Almighty, please help me to do Thy Perfect Will in being like perfect and upright Job in the matter of not being quiet. I pray that all Christian believers will do Thy bidding concerning this. Amen.”
That was Thursday the 1st of February 1979. I continued preaching somewhere out in public most every day. A few men from Harvest Baptist Church started going with me. They would pass out tracts and witness to people, and got such a blessing as they did that. A couple of them also preached some. The following Tuesday night, February 6th, several of us were preaching in that bar area along side Marine Drive, near Agana Beach. I was preaching near the bar named “Korean Village,” where several people were outside, talking together and such. As I preached, a young, local Chamorro man started yelling and cursing at me, telling me to stop. When I kept on preaching, he got madder and louder. Then he pulled a .38 pistol out of his pocket. Though he didn’t point it directly at me, he boldly brandished it as he came walking toward me, now screaming and cursing at me plenty loud. “I was not in safety.”
I hadn’t expected him to pull out a firearm, so that took me totally by surprise. But I was amazed at how calm I remained and what peace I had in my heart, and I certainly give God the glory for that. Also, I didn’t really ponder in my heart what I should do in this situation. It just seemed appropriate for me to keep on preaching, so that is what I did. I didn’t see any reason to cease being like Job, just because a child of the devil objected to it. “Neither was I quiet.”
One of my friends there with me, Brother Al, did something even braver. He started walking toward the armed man, holding out his hand to shake hands with him. That gunslinger really seemed startled by that. Likely he thought clean “Sunday School” boys like us were little sissies and cowards who would quickly turn tail and run from a screaming, cursing, mad, armed man. But when I just kept preaching and Al approached him with a friendly smile on his face and his hand extended for a handshake, he appeared to lose his composure and not know what to do. He put his pistol back into his pocket, fell silent, backed away, and got into his truck and left. Likely all the Christian men there with me were praying real hard for God to intervene. And praise His Name, He did. Another friend who was with me, Brother Bob, went and found a policeman, brought him there, and the policeman took a report of the incident. Later, I heard that the man with the pistol was arrested a few nights later, when he again brandished it at someone.
At times, I think back on that man, out in public, drawing out a concealed firearm and brandishing it at me while screaming, cursing, and demanding that I become silent. I had absolutely no assurance in my heart that God would keep him from shooting me. Down through the ages, God has allowed many of His prophets and preachers to be killed on the job. And as I faced that man with the pistol, I knew that he might kill me. The important thing was, it just didn’t matter at all. “Your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3) “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (II Corinthians 5:8) Those 2 verses, and many other such wonderful, hope-filled verses throughout the Bible, are the reasons that it just didn’t matter at all. Praise God for this eternal confidence that we have in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. WHY should we be quiet about Him??? “I was not in safety…neither was I quiet!”
“Heavenly Father, I thank Thee for this wonderful confidence that Thou hast given us in II Corinthians 5:8. Please help me to make this confidence a definite reality in my life so that I can have the courage to not be in safety and to speak up for Thee when I should do so. I pray this for all other Christian believers also. Amen.”
Oh, what a blessed and rich time of my life it was, that month from 21 January through 21 February 1979, as I preached most every day out in public in that tropical heat on Guam, sometimes for many hours a day. Truly, it was “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” “Neither was I quiet.” On February 22nd, I had the last service for the children in the apartment, cleaned it up, moved out, and returned the key to that kind manager. And the next day I returned to Japan to start preaching out in public here, for the first time, when the weather warmed up in April. For all eternity, I plan to rejoice over what great things God did for me during this trip to Guam. How I praise God that “neither was I quiet.”
“Holding forth the word of life”
That Monday, 22 January 1979, when I first held evangelistic services in my own rented apartment on Guam, was the start of the most joy filled ministry I have ever had. For the next four weeks, I had daily services in that apartment with several children getting saved. (I ceased having the services only because I returned to Japan then.) But from then until the summer of 1984, I went to Guam 10 more times and held daily services in that apartment complex, for a month or longer each time. When I went in December of 1980, I rented an additional apartment in a different area and I had 2 services each day, each in a different location, with different people attending. From then, through the summer of 1984, each time I went to Guam, I rented 2 separate apartments each time and had 2 daily services, each one in a different location. On one occasion, I rented a third apartment in the summer when school was out and had 3 daily services at 10 AM, 1:30 PM, and 3:30 PM. Along with preaching as many hours as I could out in public each day, that made for a full day. But what a joy it was each day to tell so many people the wonderful things God teaches us in the Bible. “Neither was I quiet.”
During the 6 years that I conducted those services on Guam, from the beginning of 1979 thru 1984, over 300 children and young people made decisions to receive Christ. I do not know how many of them truly put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thereby got converted and saved. But I believe that a lot of them did. What a joy it brought to me to bear that fruit for the Lord of the harvest.
Oh, those services were so precious. Mainly children and teenagers attended, with a parent or two coming on rare occasions. Koreans were usually in the majority, as a lot of them lived in those apartments and many Koreans have a heart open to God. Local Charmorros attended, along with other islanders who had moved to Guam from Truk, Ponape, Palau, & such Pacific islands. Also, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and a few other Orientals attended. Pale faces (white folks) rarely attended and I felt like it was the work God had ordained for me as I preached to all those islanders and Asians.
The highest attendance for one service was about 60 people, and that was a living room packed full. The apartments were unfurnished and as the renter I only furnished them with church attendees, in order to have maximum room for them. God blessed with such good attendance that there was no room for chairs for everyone. Therefore I didn’t use chairs at all, as they would be in the way. Usually among my Christian friends on Guam, someone had a used carpet or rug they could loan me to put down on that hard concrete and tile floor to provide somewhat of a cushion as everyone sat on the floor. When I had no carpet, those young ones would sit on that hard concrete floor without complaining. Usually some friend had a spare futon (oriental pallet) they would loan me to sleep on. When they did not, I would flatten a couple of large cardboard boxes and sleep on the cardboard on the concrete and tile bedroom floor, using my bag of laundry for a pillow. It was a time when I had very little money and skimped on all my personal needs. But the overflowing blessings made it such a rich time. What a treasure of memories I now have as I think back on it. “It was the worst of times. It was the best of times.”
Each daily service was scheduled for one hour but some of the children would stay there 4 hours or more, especially on Saturdays, Sundays, and in the summer when school was out. Most every Sunday, several of them went to church with me or rode the church bus. I would have some playtime on the days they were there that long. But we also did a lot of singing, praying, Bible reading, Bible sword drill, etc. Oh, it was blessed. Living in apartments, there was very little profitable activity available to those children in their free time. Many of them got such joy out of coming to the services and then serving the Lord with me.
They memorized a lot of songs and Bible verses. They enjoyed leading singing during the services in the apartments, and the boys would preach short sermons that I taught them or wrote out for them. I came up with one particular drill that any time I said, “Number One,” they would all chant, “All have sinned.”
“The punishment of sin is death.”
“Jesus took the punishment of my sin on the cross.”
“If I receive Christ, I am saved.”
Many days when we were together long hours, I would often call off those numbers when we were playing, riding in the car, having a service, singing out in public, or doing most anything that we did. And with military precision, they would respond with that short “plan of salvation.” Anytime I said, “Number One,” their mouths just automatically flew open with a loud, “All have sinned.” So I was most thrilled when a 4th grade Korean girl told of taking a spelling test at school. When the teacher started giving the test orally and called out, “Number one,” this girl said that she had to slap her own face to keep from shouting out, “All have sinned.” When the teacher called out, “Number two,” this 10 year-old again had to slap her own face to keep from telling the whole class, “The punishment of sin is death.” When she told me about that, I could hardly stop laughing with joy. “Neither was I quiet.” I put forth every effort possible to make it hard for them to be quiet. And what joy they all got out of being like Job in this matter.
Soon, I started taking them outside onto the apartment grounds after each service was over. There we would sing for the “benefit” of the people lounging around. Some of the children started going with me to the Flea Market early on Saturday mornings and we would all sing there, as I preached some also. I bought an American flag and a Christian flag, each 3 by 5 feet in size and on a light 6-foot pole. The children just loved to hold those flags as we sang on the apartment grounds and at the Flea Market. God gave them so much joy for singing out for Him out in public. But I think I was the one who got the most joy from it all.
Most any time any of them were free, they were eager to go sing out in public. So I often took them to the Tamuning Post Office where we would sing together and I would preach there at the flagpole. We had a lot of good days singing there. It was not rare at all for some people to stop to listen and compliment the children. That is where the 3 girls got soaking wet staying out by the flagpole and singing when the rain started, and a man pretending to be concerned about them catching a cold, spoke rebukingly to me about them singing in the rain. (I talked about that back in Chapter 3.) I rejoice that they were not quiet and also because God kept them from catching colds and thereby turned that scoffer’s prediction into a lie. Glory to God for that!
Also, I started preaching outside at the hospital in the early evening hours when a lot of people were coming there to visit. The hospital building had 4 sides built in the shape of a square with the center area being open space. I would stand in the front edge of that center area right where the visitors filed through, and I would preach there. The building was 3 or 4 stories high and on each floor, the inside side of each wing was a walkway that was open, the open side facing that center court where I stood preaching. So visitors, and even some patients, “loitering” in those walkways, would lean on the balconies to watch and listen as I preached. What a lovely congregation they were.
Soon I started taking the children there to sing and they so enjoyed going there. We would go about 6 PM which meant there was no tropical sun to scorch us as it did during the daytime. Having the children with me to sing attracted more people to come around and listen. We would rotate group singing and my preaching for an hour or two and the children and I all got a great blessing out of it. We went lots of nights to have a singing and preaching service in that open court at the hospital. Neither were we quiet.
In 1977, I had started going to preach at the jail with some other men from Harvest Baptist Church. So about 1979, one Saturday afternoon I took a few children there and we stood outside on the sidewalk and sang to those in the lockup. It was on the second floor over the police station and at that time that westerly side of the jail was a walkway in front of the cells and the “window area” of its outside wall had only bars, no glass. Therefore the sound of our singing flowed inside very well. And as soon as those jailbirds heard it, they came to the front of their cells to look and listen. The children’s singing sure brightened up their dull life, so they cheered, whistled, and such, after we finished each song. Not a one of them let forth a “dirty” word for those children to hear.
We were all having just a great time, but it only lasted through 3 songs or so. That’s because a lady police officer then drove by, stopped, told me we couldn’t do that, and ordered me to stop. I then went inside the police station and talked to the woman desk sergeant about it and she also said we couldn’t do it because it might cause a riot or some similar disturbance among the prisoners. So I took the children and we left, plenty disappointed.
But two days later, on Monday, I went to that taller government building nearby and asked to see a police captain there. I explained to him exactly how we had been singing and that we were standing on the public sidewalk there, not in anyone’s way, and not accosting anyone. That nice captain listened carefully to me, asked me a question or 2 about what exactly happened there that previous Saturday, then told me that I had the right and freedom to stand out there and do that, and that I could do it in the future. I readily agreed with him about citizens of this nation having the freedom to do such, and thanked him profusely for his kindness.
He also said that he would like to tell the same thing to that desk sergeant I had talked to on Saturday and asked me if I knew her name or badge number. Regretfully, I didn’t. But as I thanked him and exited his office door to leave, there she comes into his office. Talk about God’s perfect timing. I was then in an outer office, separated from that captain by a glass window. Through it, I got his attention, pointed to the lady sergeant whose back was to me and I mouthed to the captain, “That’s her.” He nodded to me that he understood and commenced to talk to her. I decided it best for me to wait in that outer office, as either or both of them might want to bring me in on their talk about my singing by the police station. They had a somewhat lengthy debate about it with me watching thru the glass and praying hard, though I could not hear what they were saying to each other. No doubt she was stressing the potential danger of my actions causing some kind of disturbance among the jailbirds. And I knew it was highly likely that she would convince him that they should take the precautionary measure of not allowing the children and me to sing there. So I prayed hard and when they ended their debate and she came out of his inner office into the front office where I was, I couldn’t tell from the expression on either of their faces, just who had won their argument. She looked at me, forced a weak smile, and said, “It’ll be O.K. for you to sing out there.” I thanked her most humbly and sincerely, and we did continue to sing to those jailbirds, much to their delight, and to their Creator’s pleasure, and to our delight also. “Neither was I quiet.”
“Almighty God in Heaven, please impress upon all us Christians, the importance of speaking up for Thee, singing out unto Thee, anywhere and everywhere. And please give us the courage and boldness needed to do so. Amen.”
Along about that time, I was also going to the prison to witness and preach, just on rare occasions. The prison is separate from this jail at the police station, and it was more complicated to get permission to enter it. Therefore I didn’t go inside it much. But after I had been inside the prison a time or two, one day I was driving past it with a church van load of children. And on the spur of the moment, I stopped nearby and walked up to the guard at the gate and asked him if I could take the children down next to the fence and sing to the prisoners. At that time, there was just a single fence, not the double one that is there now. Likely that was the first time the guard had gotten any such request and I had no idea what his reaction would be. He looked at the church name on the van and at the children in it. I suppose we looked innocent enough because he agreed to let us. There were about a dozen children with me and they piled out of the van and walked down the grassy incline with me to the fence. The prisoners who were in the yard on the other side of the fence, all turned their attention to us. It was about 2 days after Christmas, so I started yelling Merry Christmas to them and several of them returned the same greeting.
Most of the prisoners came right up to the fence, as I am sure the children were a refreshing sight to them. I told them that we wanted to sing to them, and we started right in singing about Jesus’ love for them. You talk about an attentive congregation. Not a one of them was yawning or falling asleep like church congregation members tend to do in steeple houses. We sang several songs and hymns to them and they thoroughly enjoyed each one. Several of them were hardened criminals who had committed murder and other horrible crimes. What an inspiration it was to see God’s love and light penetrate into their hearts from those songs, and then to see their faces soften and brighten up. We couldn’t have asked for a kinder congregation. We sang about 10 songs for them, and then talked with them just a little before leaving. They were so desirous to bestow some kindness on us in return. So a few went inside and came out with candy, mainly small pieces of hard candy, individually wrapped. Likely they had gotten it from family and friends who had visited them at Christmas. They began shoving pieces of it under the fence and the children would take them. We all had big smiles by then. The gate guard had followed us down there and stayed near us to keep an eye on the situation. So he also heard all the good singing. There was a cat walking around there inside the prison fence, so I asked the prisoners what the cat had done to get put in there. One smiled and replied, “Cat burglar.” Oh we had such a good time. How I enjoy not being quiet about the Saviour of the World. “Neither was I quiet.” You be like Job too, and discover what rich blessings will then flow into your life.
Before going down to the prison fence to sing, I knew of the possibility of us getting some “unkind” reaction from one or more of the prisoners. So before I let the children out of the van, I tried to prepare them by telling them that these men were criminals and that some of them might not be so nice. Now as we got back into the van, we had all had a fun time and most of the children had a handful of candy. Therefore some were saying such things to me as, “You said those men were bad, but they are nice.” “Why are such nice men in prison?” Children sure know how to ask questions that are difficult to answer, don’t they?
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so”
So, when I went to Guam in January 1979, what a blessing to me it was, that God helped me get going full steam preaching out in public, after a first and feeble attempt in the summer of 1978. After about 5 weeks, I returned to Japan on February the 23rd. Then when the weather began to warm up here, in April of that year I started street preaching here in the town of Matsuida where I live, and I shared that with you in the previous chapter. I got almost no response when I preached outside here in Matsuida. Rarely was there anyone to help me by going with me to sing or such. Also it was more of a strain to me to preach in the Japanese language. Therefore it really fired me up to go to Guam twice a year to carry on the above described evangelistic work for a month or more each time.
What full days I achieved there on Guam, holding 2 or 3 services daily, then taking the young people out to the above mentioned places to sing and preach, sometimes for hours a day. During school days, I would go preach alone in those places when the children were in school. We went regularly to the hospital at nights. Finishing at the hospital after 8 PM, we would return to the apartment to read the Bible and usually play a while, before they went to their individual houses to soon go to bed. When the young people left my place at 9 PM or so, usually I would also leave again and go to some area where there were bars and other places of sin, and preach there till about midnight. Some nights, other men from Harvest Baptist Church were there with me. A lot of nights, I went at it alone. There was many days that I preached till my voice was gone. Then I would have to be quiet, and how I regretted that.
Saturdays usually turned out to be my “fullest” days. About 6 AM, I would go to the Flea Market to preach, often taking some young people also to sing. Then I would hold a service in the apartments in the mornings and afternoons, also going out to sing and preach in public as much as we could. When school was in session, the young people were more desirous to get out on Saturdays because they had been cooped up in school all week. On Saturday nights, usually a larger number went to the hospital with me to sing. Oh we had a lot of blessed days out there, singing to everyone that we could. Then, when I later went to some bar area to preach, there were more people at the bars on Saturday nights. So I would stay later, sometimes till 1 AM or after. When I did that, it would be close to 2 AM Sunday morning before I lay down on my pallet or cardboard boxes to sleep, after having gotten up before 6 AM on Saturday morning. Then, if I could bring myself to get up between 6 and 7 AM on Sunday, I would go out to the Flea Market and preach an hour or two before going to church at 10 AM. (They had the Flea Market each Sunday morning also.)
It wasn’t rare for me to lose my voice on the weekends and sometimes the young people lost theirs also. But it is not so unusual at all for people to do that. Fans commonly yell and scream at a ball game till their voices are gone. I rejoice that we were spending our voices for God’s glory. We all did it freely because that is what we chose to do, not considering it a burden at all, but rather a most wonderful thing to do which returned many blessings upon us. I was young then, full of energy and zeal. And as I look back on it now, how I rejoice that I used my energy and zeal to its fullest for God. “Neither was I quiet.” If you are still young, please bear in mind that you will not be young forever. If you are to use your energy and zest for God, then you must use it for Him while you still have it. I pray that God will help you to do that.
“Heavenly Father, please help me to serve Thee to the fullest each day of my life, always bearing in mind that each day’s opportunities pass away forever when that day ends. Save me from pouring out my life’s energies on my own selfish pleasures. Please give me more of a burden for the many lost souls around me and a greater hatred for the much sin that abounds everywhere. Help me to lift my Saviour up high before this lost and dying world by going out in public and singing praises to Thee and proclaiming Thy Word to the many people who need to hear it. I pray this for all other Christians also. Amen.”
“They spake the word of God with boldness”
When I first started going to Guam in 1975, I would witness to people out in public, but few would allow me to take their time for that. Soon I began going from door-to-door, trying to witness to people, or at least leave a tract and invite them to church. But so rarely did anyone allow me to come inside their house and not many would even talk to me at the door. I would spend many hours a day doing such “visitation” without getting to say much at all to people about God. So, in a sense, I was failing to achieve my goal of preaching to people, which greatly disappointed and frustrated me. Therefore what joy it brought to me to stand out in public and freely preach what God laid on my heart, many days doing just that till my voice was gone. Glory! Because the majority of the people were strongly determined to prevent me from coming into their homes to preach to them, I too became just as determined that their attempts to prevent me from preaching out in public, would not succeed. So, when that child of the devil brandished his pistol at me, screaming, cursing, and telling me to shut up, I just continued with my Father’s business as usual. God forbid that I give in to him and be quiet. “Neither was I quiet.”
On a different night when I was preaching alone in front of bars, 2 men demanded that I stop it, and I perceived them to be more bent on mischief than the man with the pistol. I thought for sure they were going to beat me up. They came up in a car as I was preaching, pulling in right in front of me to get to the parking area by the bar. The driver stopped the car right at me and both of them stared menacingly at me just a short while before driving on into the parking area behind me. Upon parking their car, the passenger got out and came to me. He was a Caucasian and a big man. The driver was a brown man (islander), and appeared to be a man from Truk. He never got out of the car, but I could see that he too was big and muscle-bound. Both appeared to love fighting and to have plenty experience in it.
The white man stalked right up to me, gave me a “friendly” push on my shoulder to interrupt my preaching, and asked me what I was doing. When I told him that I was preaching the Bible, both he and the driver began to badmouth me and curse me. I would return “Bible” replies to them and that made them madder. Using the worst of language, they demanded me to stop. But I replied that I would keep preaching. As best I can recall, the big guy hovering over me continued to lightly nudge me repeatedly, which made me think he would soon start throwing hard punches. His big forearm was about the size of my thigh and I kept thinking of what serious damage it would do if he hit me.
As we talked back and forth, he soon surprised me by saying, “Let me hear some more of that!” So I obliged him by looking back at my Bible and starting back preaching along the same line I was preaching before he interrupted me, raising my voice in preaching while he hovered over me like Goliath over David. And I didn’t even have a sling and stones. But I did have a sharp Sword. That giant listened so intently to a few sentences that I began to wonder if he were melting under the power of the Word. But he soon bellowed out, “I think that’s a bunch of ______.” Whereupon I then ignored both of them and just went on preaching “thus saith the Lord God.” “Neither was I quiet.”
At that, both of them blew up, began cursing louder, and screaming for me to shut up, the white guy hovering over me. The driver, still in the car, screamed, “Hey! Hey! HEY! You had better shut up.” I thought he was about to jump out of the car, come running over, so both of them could pound me into a pulp. The man with the pistol didn’t impress me as being intent on using it. But both of these men impressed me as being intent on using their big fists on me. And they did scare me plenty. So I tried to make it a good sermon, thinking it might be my last. As both of them got louder and it looked like things were coming to a climax, the mad driver yelled at his buddy hovering over me, “Come on. Let’s go somewhere else where we don’t have to listen to that.” Then the white guy got back in the car, they drove off, and I breathed a “Thank Thee, Lord,” as I kept preaching. And those two didn’t go into that bar, as they had intended to do. To God be the Glory! “Neither was I quiet.” Many such God haters exercised their freedom to keep me from coming into their house to talk about God. So I became most intent on exercising my freedom to preach about Him out in public, no matter how much they opposed it.
As I visited in a lot of neighborhoods on Guam, witnessing to children, singing songs with and reading Bible stories to the ones who would gather around me, and inviting them to church and to the services in my apartment; there were plenty of parents and other adults who opposed that and went to great, sinful lengths to interfere. I met Annabel and her brother as I visited in the neighborhood where they lived. Both of them so enjoyed singing songs about Jesus, listening to the Bible stories, and soon both of them prayed and asked Jesus to save them. They started going to church with me some times. They were a Catholic Filipino family.
Once when I walked over to their house in the middle of the day, I was shocked to see Annabel sitting on the porch alone, in tears and shaking like she was terribly afraid of something. She was about 8 or 9 years old and always radiated sunshine with a big, happy smile on her face. So I could not imagine what terrible thing could have happened to do this to her. I tried talking to her to find out what was wrong, and for the first time ever, she totally ignored me as if I wasn’t there. Soon her brother came out of the house and told me that the priest (Catholic) had told her that she would commit an unpardonable sin by going to church with me. Then I realized why she was so afraid and was completely ignoring me. That child of the devil (that Catholic priest) had lied to her and convinced her that I was trying to damn her to Hell without any hope of pardon even while she was still living. No wonder she was trembling and crying so.
I think both of their parents were away at work, and only Annabel and her brother were at home at that time. I wondered how long ago that liar had told Annabel that. And I wondered how long had she been crying and trembling like that, fearing that she had committee an unpardonable sin by getting saved and going to a Bible preaching church. It broke my heart all to pieces to see what an awful thing the father of liars had done to sweet, little Annabel through one of his lying sons. I talked to both Annabel and her brother, trying to convince them of the truth. Her brother was older and didn’t appear deceived by the lie that scared Annabel so terribly. But as I spoke the truth, Annabel remained just as afraid and just as closed to me. So I soon walked away, perceiving that to be the best thing to do at the time, as my mere presence there now seemed to help convince Annabel that she was committing an unpardonable sin.
I left there hating the devil and his terrible deceiving lies all the more. There were a lot of other similar instances on Guam, when parents and other adults doing the devil’s dirty, lying, deceiving, damning work, kept children from hearing God’s Truth from me, kept them from going to church with me or coming to my services in my apartment, and such. Therefore each time I opened my worn Bible out in public and fired up my worn voice to once again proclaim “thus saith the Lord God” to all the ears around me, I knew that the ears of that God opposing, offender of little ones, Catholic priest just might be within hearing of my words. I also knew that the ears of some of the many others, whom the devil had used to keep children from me, were likely within hearing. Also, the ears of those little ones whom wicked adults were keeping from the truth, were also out there in public to hear the truth I preached there. Both the oppressor and the oppressed were available to my preaching out in public. And how I rejoiced to fill all those ears with many important things about God that they needed to know. And when some oppressor brandished a pistol at me, threatened to assault me, and such, there was no way I could become silent. They liberally exercised their freedoms to keep me from proclaiming God on their private turf. Therefore I was bound and determined to exercise my freedom to not be quiet about Him out in public. “Poor, Poor Annabel, and all the others like her,” I thought as I proclaimed it louder, plainer, and hotter. Sic ‘em! “Neither was I quiet.”
“For we cannot but speak”
That large “congregation” lined up early in the morning each 1st day of the month to get food stamps really weighed heavily on my mind. I had such a burden to preach to them. I didn’t try to preach to the people standing in line for food stamps when I was on Guam in June and July 1979. But I just couldn’t get that long line “congregation” off my mind. Oh, they kept weighing so heavily on my mind that I came to firmly believe that it was God telling me to go preach to them. So when I returned to Guam on 9 January 1980, I was determined to go preach to them on February 1st, one year after my first, aborted attempt of preaching to them.
I was plenty apprehensive when I arrived about 7:15 AM that morning, and saw that a long line of souls was already formed. I immediately started preaching to them, praying for God to fight for me. I kept preaching and the line didn’t move till 9 AM when the food stamp office opened. Oh they got a lot of good preaching to think on for all eternity. I kept preaching as more people kept lining up and the line remained long. It was like Heaven, preaching to such a large, “captive” congregation. As time went by and no one told me to stop, my heart overflowed with thanksgiving to God. But after 10 AM, a security guard came to me and told me I would have to get permission from the manager to do that. So I headed for his upstairs office and as best I remember, I ran into the manager just outside his office as he was going to or from it. I told him that I was preaching outside and the security guard told me I would have to get permission to do that. The manager seemed to remember me well from our meeting exactly a year ago on the same business. He told me that the owner didn’t want me preaching there. I politely replied that I knew that, and that if the owner were to have me arrested, I will not resist arrest at all. On hearing that, the manager walked away from me. I went back to my Father’s business of preaching outside where that long line was, and no one said anything more to me about it. Praise God! I preached there till about noon and then walked away of my own will, as the line had gotten very short by then.
I was not there to make trouble. I had no intention or desire to make any trouble for anyone. I firmly believe that the only reason that I acted as I did, was because my heart was like the hearts of my fellow preachers, Peter and John, when they got arrested for doing the same thing in Acts 4. “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)
“Set our souls afire, Lord. Set our souls afire, Lord, please. Cause the zeal of Thine house to eat us up and to consume us. Fill us full to running over with Thy love and compassion for the suffering, lost, and dying world around us, so that we will not be able to be quiet regarding the words of Thy Holy Bible. Amen.”
When I went back to my apartment that Feb. 1st, and had the service there at 3:30 PM, Heaven came down and we had a wonderful service. Six children came forward and prayed to receive Christ as their Saviour. What a blessed day it was. “Neither was I quiet.”
“And the life which I now live”
The last time I did that kind of evangelistic work on Guam was the summer of 1984. In December 1984, I went on furlough to the States and didn’t return to Japan till May 1986. The next time I visited Guam was in 1987, but only for a week or so on that trip. Regretfully, the situation there had changed so much that I did not try doing the evangelistic work I had done before on Guam. Many of the faithful ones who had attended my services in the apartments had now moved away. Most who were still there were older and had lost interest. Fewer people now lived in those apartment complexes, and even back in 1983 and 1984 it had become hard to get new people to attend the services. They ceased having the Flea Market in Harmon Field. The drivers’ license office changed locations. So did the Tamuning Post Office. They remodeled the hospital so that it wasn’t conducive to me preaching there. Those best preaching spots that I had carefully picked no longer existed or were no longer available. I could still have found places to preach out in public but I felt like that era had truly passed and that I would be beating a dead horse if I tried to continue it. I felt like God was telling me it was time to move on to something else. So, on returning to Japan in May 1986 at the end of that long furlough in the States, I got busier with the missionary work in Japan and ceased going to Guam as often as I did before.
“Redeeming the time”
The longer one lives, through experience one learns that eras come and go in a somewhat natural flow and no effort on our part seems effective to stem that tide or to bring back favorable times we experienced in the past. Things and people just naturally change and the “best of times” we are privileged to experience here on earth just do not go on indefinitely, no matter how much we desire that they do so or how much effort we put forth trying to maintain them.
The most joyous season I have experienced in my entire life was the times I spent on Guam between 1976 and 1984. The joy came from proclaiming the Words of the Bible as much time as I possibly could, mainly “without the camp”, there in the Presence of my precious Saviour, bearing His reproach. Having a small band of young believers go with me much of the time to sing in public added to that joy. Oh, it was wonderful beyond description, mainly because we were like Job by not being quiet. “Neither was I quiet.” Also, the hundreds of services, I held in those cheap, low-middle class apartments with precious young souls daily coming to hear about Jesus, were so blessed. Many of those children were from broken homes, exposed to so much sin in their homes, at school, everywhere. What a blessing to tell them about Christ’s love for them. I have such rich, treasured memories from that.
I now pull out from my desk, a neat, hand printed letter with 3 hearts drawn on it sent from Guam to me here in Japan and dated “Oct 10, 79. Dear Uncle Sam, I hope you come back again. I’m so glad you are my friend. I really missed you. Bye. Your friend, Annie.” Short and sweet, and so precious. Annie was about 9 years old then.
Another letter in that file is dated “8-6-79.” “Dear Uncle Sam, How are you? As for me I am find. Uncle Sam, I miss you so much. And it’s getting a little boring ever since you left. Uncle Sam, I wish you could come back because there’s no one else who can sing song with me and teach me about Jesus. Uncle Sam I been thinking all night about you. Uncle Sam I think some off the kid’s that come to your house are so unhappy. Please write back. Love, Lee.” (The writing mistakes are Lee’s, not mine.)
Arlene’s letter of “7/28/78” included a sweet poem she wrote for me. She was 10 or 11 years old then.
“There is a man whose name is Sam. He’ very kind you see.
He’s kind to dogs, he’s kind to cats, he’s kind to you and me.
And if you see him you will say
My that guy sure looks gay.
He’s always smiling never sad,
He’s always happy never mad!
So if you see him let me know
You will agree with me this is SO!”
Arlene added, “Note: It’s not so good but every word of it is true!”
These letters and poem are such treasures to me. I am the recipient of such glorious, eternal treasures simply because I desired to be like perfect and upright Job by not being quiet about God and His great love for us. “Neither was I quiet.” I challenge you to not be quiet.
“Lord God in Heaven, please help all us Christian believers to do Thy Divine Will for each of us, regarding being like Job, and therefore not being quiet about Thee and Thy Holy Bible. Amen.”
“Train up a child”
I taught those children a compact Gospel message that they soon memorized as we broadcast it time and again. “Listen! Jesus loves you. He died on the cross for your sin. He wants to be your Saviour. So please ask Him to save you from Hell and take you to Heaven.” From 1979 through 1984, we broadcast that short but most important message thousands of times, possibly tens of thousands of times, on Guam. Sometimes, we would shout it out between each song we sang out in public. When I stopped the car or van at a red light, we would usually sound that out for people in the cars around us to hear. I always had the car or van windows open with no air conditioning and some of the other vehicles around were usually “open” also.
Oh how we liked to send forth that short salvation message to everyone that we could. Soon it was on the tips of our tongues, just waiting to spill forth. Any time that I had any of the children with me, all I had to say was, “Listen!” And they would immediately chime in with the rest of that message, whether I said any more of it or not. One Saturday morning when I was holding a service in one of the apartments, there came a knock at the door, and I opened the door to see 2 or 3 Jehovah Witnesses standing there. When they started their “sweet, cunning, and deceiving” speech on me, I quickly let them know I wasn’t interested in hearing it. Seeing a good number of children seated in my living room, one of the visitors asked me what we were doing. I replied that I was teaching them about Jesus Christ. Then I raised my voice just a little and as I was accustomed to doing so many times, I called out, “Listen!” Immediately each child’s voice chimed in; “Jesus loves you. He died on the cross for your sin. He wants to be your Saviour. So please ask Him to save you from Hell and take you to Heaven.” That sermon of Bible truth quickly got those devil’s witnesses going on their way looking for someone more easy to deceive.
One day 6 Korean children were in the car with me, brother and sister pairs from 3 separate families. We here going somewhere to sing and preach when I stopped for a minute at a grocery store and left them waiting in the car while I ran in to buy juice or water. On coming back out of the store, I heard those six in my car saying, “No!” Whereupon, several children in a car parked a couple of spaces away replied, “Yes!” That exchange of words had been going on for a short time and it continued as I got back into the car. I wasn’t very surprised by it, as the six in my car were plenty verbal, but I was a little puzzled as to why they had the “negative” side of that shouting match, as they were by their saved nature usually positive in their disposition. So I asked Ki Yun what was going on.
“That car pulled up there, the lady went inside the store, and we started telling those kids about Jesus. They said ‘Shut up!’ We said, ‘No!’ They said, ‘Yes!’”
So I readily understood what that war of words was all about. I smiled at those six preachers in my car and told them, “Good work. You did just what you should do.” I was most proud of them, and so was their God. Their “No!” and “Yes!” shouting match continued and I joined in on it. So as I drove away, there were now 7 little believers in my car returning a “No!” each time the ones in that unsaved car threw a “Yes!” at us.
And I still refuse to shut up about God and the One Way He has provided for this lost human race to get saved from Hell and go to Heaven. The pathway of mankind is too dark, the cross of Christ too glorious, and the hope of eternal bliss in Heaven too wonderful, for me to be quiet about all the marvelous things God reveals to us in His Holy Bible. As long as I have breath in my body and a voice capable of broadcasting discernable words, I want to be like Job and tell everyone I can about the many supernatural things that God wants to do for them. “Neither was I quiet.”
“Is there not a cause?”
Most of the children who joined me in that open-air evangelism were Korean and Korean-American. A few Filipinos also delighted to go with me every time they had a chance. Vietnamese, local Chamorros, and assorted others, were also with us at times. How they all blessed me. But those Koreans far outdid all the others, and were so dear to me because of that. So far, I have dedicated to one of those Koreans, each of the books I have written.
Myung Ja, I dedicate this book to you. How you blessed and encouraged me, especially the times when we would be singing on the apartment grounds, walking amongst the buildings and singing at various spots. I recall that time in January when we were out there daily singing like that. All of us would already be tired, but you would say to me, “Come on, Uncle Sam. Let’s sing over there too.” “Let’s go sing another song.” “Let’s go over there, Uncle Sam, and sing again.” “Just one more time, Uncle Sam.” Myung Ja, at times when you kept on like that, you were hoarse, your voice was almost gone, sometimes your eyes were red, but you refused to become quiet. You kept singing about your wonderful Lord and Saviour. “Neither were you quiet.” How that blessed me, and how it greatly pleased your Saviour.
Myung Ja was about 13 years old then, and she had a very good reason to be earnestly singing praises to her God till her voice was gone. The previous time I had been on Guam, about 5 months before, one day about 5 children were getting into the car with me to go somewhere to sing out in public. Myung Ja was away, visiting in Korea at that time. But a close friend of her’s, Ann, was getting into the car. As she did, she looked at Myung Ja’s brother nearby and said to me, “ Uncle Sam, Soong Yup is always making fun of us for going to your services and for going out to sing with you.”
I was plenty displeased with him for that. God was highly displeased with anyone offending those little ones who were joyfully serving Him. It is tragic enough when anyone blatantly rejects Christ as his or her own Saviour. But when they go further by ridiculing and making light of others believing on and serving Christ, especially when those others are children (little ones), then God’s wrath, on that sin of offending them and putting a stumbling block before them, is most fierce. How it blessed me to see those young people being like Job by not being quiet about God out in public. How it hurt me for anyone to make fun of them for doing what God created them to do.
I had already gotten into the driver’s seat of the car I was using. I looked out at Soong Yup, sitting on the hood of his small truck, with a can of beer in his hand. He was 18 years old and a mighty tough teenager. He had dropped out of John F. Kennedy High School the previous year. But while in high school, he had been the leader of the Korean gang in school. And while he was the leader, that Korean gang became the toughest gang at JFK High, with the other gangs (Chamorro, Filipino, and such) being no match for the Korean “tuff guys”. So, Soong Yup was quite well known around there for being “tough,” and was feared by some people who knew him. He and Myung Ja (and family) lived in an apartment very close to my apartment there. So I saw him outside from time to time. I liked Soong Yup and wanted to see him get saved as his sister had done. I would give him a friendly greeting when I saw him and he usually returned a “cooler” greeting to me. But now upon hearing what Ann told me about him, I had just gotten plenty mad at him for making fun of my “little flock’s” love for their Lord.
I locked my eyeballs on him, about 30 feet away sitting on his truck hood with his beer; and I got out of my car and walked straight over to him, staring him right in the eye all the way. He silently watched me all the time as I came up to him, put my hand gently on his shoulder, and then preached to him what he needed to hear the most. “Soong Yup, you need to repent of your sins to God, receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and do right and live for God. Because if you don’t repent, God is going to send you to Hell to be punished for your sins. And it will be horrible for you to suffer in that fire forever.” I preached a little more than that, but no longer remember the rest of it, nor the exact words I used. But the above is the gist of my sermon to Soong Yup that day, the only sermon I ever preached directly to him and likely the last one he heard on this earth. I spoke to him in a gentle and somewhat low voice, not purposely trying to provoke his wrath against me. He could have easily beaten the stuffing out of me, if he had chosen to do so. And I had absolutely no assurance that he would not do just that, in return for me preaching so straight to him and warning him so clearly about Hell awaiting him. But he did absolutely nothing, just gazed at me without showing any emotion, speaking, or moving. I waited just a few seconds to see if he would say anything in response to my sermon. And when he didn’t, I walked back to the car full of children, got in, and drove away to continue serving my God.
The children had watched all that from where they were waiting for me in the car. And when I got into the car, one of the girls (Ann or Michelle) spoke up. “When you turned your back on him, he made a face at you.” So that is what Soong Yup thought of my preaching? I again locked eyeballs with him. Now he is gazing at me with a straight, expressionless face, and is still sitting on his truck hood with his beer. That is the last image I have of Soong Yup. I drove away from that personal sermon to him to go sing praises to God and preach in public with a handful of children who gladly joined me in doing that blessed work for Almighty God in Heaven, never to ever again see Soong Yup in this life.
Poor, poor Soong Yup. He had no idea that just 33 short days later, he would be brutally murdered. And God just may have set the day of his death, the very second he made a face at me behind my back, because I had preached to him. Poor, poor tough, young rebel. “Soong Yup, you shouldn’t have rebelled against God. You shouldn’t have made fun of little children for serving God. And you shouldn’t have made a face at me behind my back when I warned you about the eternal Hell that was awaiting you for doing those things.”
Four days after preaching to that beer-guzzling young tough, I returned to Japan. No one from Guam wrote to me about his death, and I didn’t learn of it until I returned to Guam almost 3 months after it. The first day I had services in the apartment after returning, we were outside singing when Diane told me, “Soong Yup got killed.”
I did not expect that news at all. And though I knew Diane was telling me the truth, still a “NO!” flew out my mouth in rejection of that sad and tragic news. Diane rebutted my “NO!” and went on to tell me how it happened. And in a day or two, I went down to the library, pulled out the newspapers, and read the account myself. One 24-year-old local man, along with three other 18-year-old Chamorro guys, had killed him just before midnight one Sunday down on Ypao Beach. They said he was mouthing off to them as they were partying and drinking. When the older man began hitting Soong Yup with a tree branch, he broke and ran. His attacker chased him down, continued to hit him, and thrust the branch into his chest, puncturing a lung. Then he smashed poor Soong Yup’s head on the pavement, rendering it unable to ever again make a face at a Gospel preacher. The 3 teenagers helped the murderer dump Soong Yup’s body into his (Soong Yup’s) pickup truck bed. Then they drove the truck down onto the beach, spun it axle deep into the sand, smashed the windshield and driver’s side window, and left the remains of Soong Yup there to be found in that condition by a fisherman early the next morning.
“Evil shall slay the wicked.” (Psalms 34:21) “He that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” (Proverbs 11:19) “Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.” (Psalms 55:23)
As I now look at the copy I made from the newspaper picture of dead Soong Yup lying on the pickup truck bed, shirtless, face up, with one leg draped over the side of the truck, he certainly looks a lot different than he did 34 days before that picture was made, when he sat on the hood of that same truck, in his power, pride, and sinful rebellion, with beer in hand, smirking and making a face at me for preaching to him that which he needed to know (and heed) the most. Poor, poor Soong Yup! Had he known that death would be only 33 days away if he didn’t repent, would he have repented when I warned him to do so? Had I known his death would be so near, would I have tried any harder to turn him to Christ? Likely I would have. I should have knelt before him, hugged his feet, and with many tears I should have begged him to repent before it was too late.
That is why I sometimes preach with tears, because the eternal sufferings of Christ rejecters in Hell fire are a most tragic torment and fate for anyone. If you are a Christ rejecter, I now warn you just as plainly as I can, that the day of your death is likely a lot closer than you think it to be. Soon God will cease tolerating your rebellion against Him and snuff out your life. A soon-coming day will be your last chance to repent. Today just may be that day. Whatever you do, don’t be foolish enough to destroy yourself eternally by continuing to rebel against your Creator God.
“Almighty God, please have mercy on me a sinner. Please protect me from and deliver me from my sinful self. Please keep me from destroying myself. Please keep me from damning myself to eternal Hell fire. Please help me to cease from my foolishness of rebelling against Thee. Please instill within me a holy fear of Thy consuming wrath that is upon unrepentant sinners. Please draw me to Thee, give me a repentant heart and grant me faith to trust in Thee. Please have mercy on me and save me, I humbly pray. Amen.”
How it broke my heart all to pieces to hear of Soong Yup’s tragic death. I felt so sorry for him. I also felt sorry for his family, especially Myung Ja, who was such a dear friend of mine. My spirit sank so low. Myung Ja had previously returned from Korea and was on Guam when her brother was killed. I tried to spend a lot of time with her, talking to her, trying my best to befriend her. I prayed much for her, in her presence and also alone by myself. She stayed around me a lot, not saying much, but no doubt hurting terribly inside. Bless her heart.
One night, I went with her and Ann to her house and talked to Myung Ja’s father, giving him my sympathy over the death of his son and speaking to him a little about Christ. He was a Korean man who didn’t speak much English, but he spoke Japanese. So I talked to him in Japanese. He was not a Christian and had lived a quite rough life. He, too, needed Christ so badly. He wouldn’t say much to me, so I soon turned to talking with Myung Ja and Ann. I needed to leave their place, as it was almost midnight. But on the spur of the moment, I asked them if I could sleep in Soong Yup’s room that night.
I knew it was empty, because Myung Ja and Ann had already told me about it. Some time after Soong Yup’s death, one family member (Myung Ja, I think) had started sleeping in his room. But one night when she went into the room, she saw a “being” in the room, which quickly headed toward the window as she screamed and fled back through the door out of the room. She wasn’t sure if the being was a human prowler or a “spirit.” On Guam, I believe it could easily have been either one, as evil spirits are common there. But since the time of that sighting of “something” in that bedroom, no one had slept in it. They had told me about wiring the door shut and not going back into the room at all. And as I sat there on the living room floor before asking if I could sleep in Soong Yup’s room that night, I had observed the wire coat hanger wrapped around its doorknob and tied to something nearby.
I had never spent the night in their apartment before, but all the family readily said, “Yes,” to my request. Myung Ja and Ann unwrapped the wire from the doorknob, opened up the room for me, and I went in and closed the door behind me. It was now midnight, and I was plenty tired from a long and very active day doing a lot of evangelistic work in that tropical heat. I knelt by Soong Yup’s single bed and prayed just a short time. Then I just took off my shirt and lay down to sleep in the rest of my clothes. (I had already kicked off my sandals at the front door, which was the family’s custom.) Being dead-tired at such a late hour, I knew I would soon “pass out” in sleep. So thinking about that “being” they had sighted in this room, I said, “Well, you ol’ spook, if you plan on coming and spooking me tonight, you had better hurry up and do it. Because I am soon to collapse into a tired sleep, and then you will have to turn the bed over and dump me out on the floor to get my attention.” (I never heard from that ol’ spook all night. Likely he didn’t care to come near the guardian angel in that room.)
Lying there in my fatigue with overdue sleep quickly overtaking me, I looked around at that room, still pretty much as Soong Yup had left it. His possessions were all still in place as he had left them. A basketball lay on the floor nearby, everything in place there except for him. And I thought, “Soong Yup, just a few months ago, when you made a face behind my back after I called on you to repent and get saved, you had no idea then, that tonight I would be sleeping here in your bed, and you would be where you are tonight. Did you, buddy? You had absolutely no idea that God would cut you that short, did you?” And I called on God to help me to be more zealous in warning lost sinners about the horrible fate that awaits them after death. Lord, help me not to be quiet. “Neither was I quiet.”
So, my lost sinner friend, I warn you right now as plainly as I possibly can. Heaven and Hell are most real, and one of them will be your eternal home. God is real, and you have sinned against Him. Now is the day of salvation and you have absolutely no guarantee that you will live any longer to have future opportunities to get saved. Repent, right now! Call on God to have mercy on you and forgive your sins. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you and ask Him to cleanse you from your sins by His shed blood on the cross. Please get saved right now before it is eternally too late.
A few days after spending that night in the late Soong Yup’s bed, I talked to Myung Ja in my apartment after having a service there. We had been together a lot for a few weeks and she had talked to me just a little about her brother’s death. I told her that we do not know for certain, the state of his soul when he died. There was a slim chance that when he broke and ran from his attacker, he may have cried out to God in sincere repentance, asking God to save him and help him. I told Myung Ja it was possible that he got saved at the very end, but I doubted that happened. Likely he died just as he lived and was sent to Hell for his sins. “And if that was the case, and if he now has knowledge of what is going on here on this earth, you can give your brother some satisfaction by kicking the devil in the teeth just as much as you possibly can by doing everything you can do for God.” Myung Ja then broke down and cried and I did too. Then I prayed for her as we sat there on that apartment floor.
After that, for the remainder of that stay of mine on Guam, I could hardly keep up with Myung Ja, as she wanted to keep singing out in public till all her voice and strength were gone. Neither was she quiet! And I would pray, “Lord, help me to be like Myung Ja. Help me to be like Job. Please help me to not be quiet about Thee.” “Neither was I quiet.” May God help all us believers to be like perfect and upright Job.
“Heavenly Father, please help me to be like Job and proclaim Thy Word to everyone I possibly can. Please give me a genuine burden for lost souls. Please make me fully aware of the much misery they suffer in this life and the eternal torments that await them in Hell if they die in their lost state. Please help me to not be quiet about salvation and eternal life in Jesus Christ that is available to everyone. I pray that all other Christian believers will also be diligent in holding forth the words of eternal life to the lost world around them. Please help Brother Richard to continue to zealously proclaim Thy Word at all times. As we believers preach the Word, please work mightily in the hearts of the lost people who hear it, to change them and cause them to repent. Thank Thee for hearing and answering this prayer of mine. Amen.”
(This ends Chapter 6 of “SAFETY, REST, AND QUIET.”)