In the testimony Mrs. Tanaka* gave before her baptism, she shared that she was first attracted to Christianity two years before, when she attended a church event for the first time and was greeted with a smile and a few kind words. But, the story of how God drew her to faith in Him actually began over a quarter century before.
In 1991, Nathaniel and Trudy, Christar workers in Japan, invited businessmen in their neighborhood to a 10-week conversational English class. Ten men showed up, and after each week’s hour of English instruction they stayed for a 30-minute Bible study in Japanese.
At the men’s request, Nathaniel and Trudy extended the class a week longer than planned so the group could watch a two-hour video on the life of Christ. After the lessons came to an end, several of the men agreed to meet in the couples’ home weekly to study the Bible. One of them even read through the entire New Testament during his daily commute to work.
But, Nathaniel and Trudy didn’t see any of these men place their faith in Christ. Years, then decades, went by and the couple kept in contact with several of their students. At least two passed away, both without embracing the gospel. Nathaniel and Trudy have seen no evidence of God’s Word at work in the hearts of any of these men. However, God was moving in the life of one of their daughters: Mrs. Tanaka.
At her baptism, Mrs. Tanaka shared that 14 years prior, she had fallen into a deep depression, and wanted to end her own life. She was hospitalized three times, under 24-hour watch. Between two of those stays, her mother suggested that she visit Nathaniel and Trudy to see if they could help. But, Mrs. Tanaka couldn’t drum up the courage to seek the couple’s assistance.
Two years ago, however, she agreed to attend a ladies’ Christmas luncheon outreach at a church Christar workers, including Nathaniel and Trudy, had helped to plant. One of Nathaniel and Trudy’s teammates, Lacey, went out of her way to greet this newcomer, and Mrs. Tanaka was drawn to the love she felt from followers of Christ, as well as moved by the guest speaker’s message. Before she left, she signed up for a Bible study that began the following month.
In addition to the Bible study, Mrs. Tanaka began attending weekly worship services. At first, she struggled to comprehend the truths she was hearing. But, as she continued to study the Bible chronologically, God opened her eyes to His plan of salvation, revealed through both the Old and New Testaments. In spring 2017, Mrs. Tanaka became a new creation in Christ.
A few months later, Mrs. Tanaka’s parents, including her father who attended the English classes 26 years before, witnessed their daughter publicly profess her faith in Christ and be baptized. During a meal that followed, both expressed their gratitude for the positive change they’ve seen in Mrs. Tanaka’s life since she began attending events at the church.
The story that began in 1991 isn’t over yet. Nathaniel, Trudy and their team continue to pray that Mrs. Tanaka’s parents will also be drawn to the love of followers of Christ, and that God will open her husband’s heart as he sees how the gospel is transforming his wife. And, the team continues to keep Mrs. Tanaka in prayer, asking God to use her to begin stories of eternal hope in the lives of others.
How can I get involved?
- Pray for perseverance for Christar workers who are ministering faithfully but haven’t yet seen spiritual fruit.
- Praise God for drawing people like Mrs. Tanaka to faith in His Son.
- Ask God to open the hearts of many in Japan as they experience the love of his followers.