I took over the newspaper evangelism work of World Harvesters. I began a weekly column in the Kobe Newspaper, with a circulation of a quarter of a million. The motto of World Harvesters is:
Every Newspaper a Gospel Tract--Every Newsboy a Gospel Messenger.
Newspaper evangelism, or Advangelism, is the work of putting in paid Gospel ads into the daily newspapers. The Knights of Columbus do this in your American newspapers. Our Japanese beer companies buy whole pages for their beer ads. Doesn't Jesus deserve better treatment than beer?
We can use the newspaper of Japan to evangelize the whole nation. Since newspapers enter 95% of the homes, it is possible to evangelize the whole nation of Japan in a matter of days. Surely this is the business-like method of evangelizing in literate nations. What a buy in evangelism. $1 will bring the Gospel into 10,000 homes, where at least three persons will read it.
Often I arrange to take the ones who write in to church on Sunday. To those who write in I send them a packet of Gospel literature, Bro. Honda's follow-up booklet, Bro. Sawamura's GUIDE TO CHRISTIANITY, gospel tracts, a letter of greeting, and an invitation for a free Bible correspondence course.
Most of our letters come from young people. The letters come from office workers, students, and patients. They come from all walks of life and from all age groups. They are faithful readers of my column.
One 17 year old high school student read my ad on a railroad man who was hit by a train. He was left for dead until a 20 year old nurse came by. She felt his pulse and found him yet alive. He was rushed to the hospital where his life was saved. In the ad I said that although others might forsake the reader, God never would forsake them. I told them that Jesus loved them and wanted to help them.
The Kobe student wrote: "I read your ad, "Not Dead". I got into an argument with my father over my college plans. I am like the railroad man--I am about to die. I have been forsaken by my friends and by my family. Life is not worth living. I plan to take my life, if I do not get help soon. Please answer me in a hurry. Help me."
I sent my answer back by "special express" mail. I did not want my letter to reach a dead student. I arranged to meet him on Sunday morning. Together we went to church. After the service I dealt with him about his soul.
At first his face was hard and unresponsive. I opened my Bible. I showed him God's plan of salvation. In tears he repented as I prayed. His problems were solved. He became reconciled with his father and family. He is now a regular born again church member. See what power that there is in a $6 Gospel ad. What an investment in eternity. Suppose that had been your son?
My ads which bring the greatest responses deal with death and life after death. Sin brings so much sorrow in Japan that there are many persons who are contemplating suicide.
Then there was a 23 year old graduate from a university. Her father and mother were not Christians. Her father was a government official, while her mother was a nurse. After graduating she had taken a secretarial job ina large factory. She was very happy. A year later she went to the hospital with liver trouble.
Up until then her life had been filled with hope and joy. Suddenly a blanket of darkness dropped over her. She was sad, desolate, and hopeless. She was told it would take two years for her to get well. For six months she read my ads. Her parents agreed with her that it would be all right if she became a Christian. By herself she accepted the Lord as her Savior. She was happy once again.
She had not sent for our follow-up leaflets, but the Holy Spirit had followed her up and she became converted. She made a decision card, signed her name to it, and sent it to me. In her letter she told me that she accepted kthe Lord in response to my ad on the crucifixion. The verse which spoke to her heart was I John 3:16, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
I wrote to a pastor in the area, who called on her. Since then she became well ahead of time, and now faithfully attends church. How wonderful that a $6 Gospel ad can even penetrate through the walls of a hospital. Japan's hospitals are full of such needy hearts.
Then there was the widower, whose wife suddenly died, leaving him with two children. He was discouraged and downhearted. He read my ad on, "Is Suicide a Shortcut?" I might add that this particular ad brought in our greatest responses. He met with Koji Honda, who led him to the Lord, as well as his two children. They now faithfully attend church. Our $6 Gospel ad penetrated even the home of a saddened widower.
Then I can never forget the case of the poor deaf and dumb girl in Kobe. She was 17 and in poor health. She was half blind. She had nver gone to school. She began to read my ads. One of them was about Helen Keller, who fought bravely to overcome her handicaps. False Japanese cults visited her, but they did not reach her heart. She wrote to us through her mother. Her mother delayed out of fear that we would charge her money.
She finally wrote us on behalf of her helpless daughter. My wife visited her. My wife communicated to her through writing out large Japanese characters. She became very happy as my wife talked to her of the Lord. Yukiko visited her several times, bringing with her fruit and cookies. On the second visit this girl accepted the Lord. Regularly I send her literature which her mother reads and writes out for her. God saved her too through a $6 Gospel ad.
Yes, Newspaper Evangelism is one of the most fruitful ways of winning lost souls to Jesus in Japan. So many can be won for so little. Yes, you too can become a soul winner through Advangelism.