by Japanese Evangelist Paul Ariga
There was the time in the Okinawa Crusade. The Okinawans had raised $1,000 for the Crusade and Bro. Hona spent that much again. It was the last day of the Crusade. We had spent all of our money and were still $50 short.
God had wonderfully undertaken for our needs before the Crusade. A Christian businessman in Australia sent money just when it was needed for the Okinawa Crusade. This money provided the foundation for the Okinawa Crusade, resulting in 1,078 decisions for Christ.
Now Bro. Hona and I were without funds. Before we went to prayer, Bro. Honda said jokingly, "Paul, I may have to pawn your watch, along with mine, in order to pay the bills." We went to prayer trusting God to meet our needs. That night the poor Okinawan Christians gave us a love offering of $150.
This paid the $50 hotel bill. What left Bro. Honda short was that he had to pay the bills for three weeks for a Crusade team of four. Since my only suit was in poor shape, Bro. Honda bought me a new one for $25. God had answered our prayers. He never fails.
I can never forget the Crusade help given by Rev. Floyd Hitchcock, founder of the Faith of Our Fathers Radio Program in Springfield, Missouri. He sponsored five Crusades in Japan. He came to two of them, the Hiroshina and Wakayama Crusades. Because of his help we were able to preach over the radio in these two Crusades.
The hotel manager and her daughter heard Bro. Hitchcock preach over the radio in Wakayama. They came to the Crusade and accepted Christ. Bro. Hitchcock was a very godly man. Even though he came as the sponsor of these Crusades he was very humble and sacrificed with us. He was a faithful steward of the money that had been entrusted to him by his supporters.
After the Crusades he came to Otawara City to preach in my church. As he preached on the crucifixion many of my members were in tears. Some of them said, "Here is a man who acts like Jesus." After hearing him many of them made a new dedication to love and follow Jesus more.
During the two nights that he was with us he slept on the floor in typical Japanese fashion. He was reliving the early days of his missionary career. The Depression had forced him and his large family to leave Japan. He had left Japan but Japan had never left him. Thirty years in America had not robbed him of his fluency and good accent in the Japanese language.
I was looking forsward to seeing him again in America. Eddie Karnes told me that when he last saw him he was dragging his right foot along his side. His right arm was also paralyzed, the result of a stroke. The last prayer that Eddie Karnes heard him pray was a sobbing prayer for the salvation of Japan's lost millions. God called him home just a few weeks before we were to be with him.
Surely there will be jewels in his soul winner's crown from these Crusades. "He being dead, yet speaketh." When we went to pay the deposit on the hall for the Tokyo Olympic Crusade, Bro. Honda had to almost empty his Crusade account. Gladly Bro. Honda wrote out a Crusade check for $650 for the salvation of lost souls.
When Eddie Karnes returned to the Seattle-Tacoma airport he was met by Dorothy, his wife. She handed him some letters, and among them was one from Rev. Eugene Arney, successor to Rev. Hitchcock. He had sent a check, almost to the dollar, for what Bro. Honda had just spent in Tokyo. Almost at the very same time when Bro. Honda was emptying his Crusade account, Bro. Eugene Arney was busy sending him a check. Bro. Arney did not know what the need was, but God did, and He did not fail his servants.
Our Crusades have been prayed for and supported by Christians from almost every nation in the world. One West German businessman has freely supplied us with almost $10,000 worth of tracts and follow-up materials during a five year period. Most of the gifts that have been sent have been small ones, but God has multiplied the loaves and the fishes. John R. Mott once said, "Missions is carried on by associated poverty." Such as been the case with our Crusades.
Sometimes we are God's last voice to men. Such was the case in the Nagoya Crusade. 5,000 Nagoyans died, as a result of the Ise Typhoon, less than one week after we closed our Crusade.
In the Tamano Crusade the Mayor came to welcome us to his city. He remained to hear Bro. Hona preach. When the invitation was about to be given he stepped off the platform. When the invitation was given he was standing by those who had come forward. He bowed his head and joined in the prayer of accepting Christ. Six months later he was dead. Only eternity will reveal what God did in his heart that night.
Then in the Kumamoto Crusade a pretty girl of 24 came into the Crusades. She was dressed in a beautiful red kimono. With tears in her eyes she came forward to accept Christ. When the pastor called on her he found out she was a call girl and a high class prostitute. She became saved and now has quit her profession and faithfully serves God in her church.
In the Hamamatsu Crusade many factory girls from the piano companies came to the Crusade and there accepted Christ. Hamamatsu is the city where the famous Yamaha pianos and organs are made.
The chairman for our Hiroshima Crusade was Rev. Suteichi Oe. He is head of the Christian Missionary Alliance work. During the war he was put into prison for his faith because he preached on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to reign over the world. The police did not like the idea that Jesus would rule over the Japanese Emperor too, so they jailed Pastor Oe. Like Daniel, he kept true to his Lord.
On the last night of the Hiroshima Crusade a 21 year old factory worker came into the hall at the end of the message. He accepted the Lord in his seat. Two years later he testified in our Kure Crusade that he had accepted the Lord that night. In his seat he had been given a decision card and had signed it. He is now a youth leader in Pastor Oe's church.
It was also in Hiroshima that we had our biggest street meeting. Bob Mueller came with his marimba; John Masson from Scotland came with his accordion; and together with some pastors we held five street meetings. The largest was in a market place where 300 heard us.
In the Kure Crusade we had a Crusade Parade. Some 20 Christians paraded their cars through the streets one day before the Crusade. The people of Kure were surprised to see such Christian strength and unity. Kure is a strong Buddhist city. 1,000 came to the Kids Krusade on the last day and almost that many to the adult Crusade. Almost 2,000 came in one day. This is God's miracle and God's doing. God is not a beggar. He provides for His own work in His own way.