"Paul Ariga's Testimony:" "The Gods Were Silent,"

Chapter 7

"A Pastor Obeys God"

During my third year as pastor Brothger Gonda invited me to take charge of the Kids Krusade at the Utsunomiya Crusade. This city is several hours north of Tokyo. I found a great spiritual need among these children, 50% of whom had never heard of Jesus before.

There was also a great challenge on the last night of the Crusade. Over 1,000 were at the adult Crusade. Many came forward. My heart was drawn to this new challenge. I helped Bro. Honda in some of his other Crusades. My church continued to pay my salary so that I could help Bro. Honda without charge. My dear wife, Yukiko ("Happy Child"), faithfully carried on the church work during my absence.

My plans were to return to the Japan Evangelistic Band Bible school in Kobe once my church was self-supporting. I now had three invitations: 1. To teach at the Bible school. 2. To pastor a church in the Kobe area. 3. To assist Bro. Honda in his Crusades.

About this time I was riding the train with missionary Eddie Karnes. We were going to the Wakayama Crusade. Since there were no seats we were sitting on the Crusade literature boxes. Eddie Karnes told me of the great need for full time evangelists in Japan. He mentioned that God had greatly blessed Billy Graham because evangelism was his only work.

He also pointed out that Bro. Honda was carrying too great a load by himself. Bro. Honda was not only pastoring one of Japan's largest churches, but he was also carrying on Japan's largest city-wide Crusade work. I decided then and there that if I stepped out in Crusade work that I would become a full time evangelist. I am now one of the few full time evangelists in all of Japan.

When I returned to my church I told my members of my decision. They agreed to release me for the winning of more souls in the Crusade work. At my farewell they gave me a lovely watch. They also all signed their names in my Bible. Tears flowed down their cheeks, as well as down mine. How wonderful to have church members who are led by God and the Holy Spirit and who back their pastor in God's will.

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