The Words of the Ladouce Family
Notes on the mission in Osaka (1)
November 30, 2003
Here are some notes about our recent activities in Osaka.
November 13 - Leaders Meeting in Abiko church
After a few days of activity, we had felt the need to create more trust and co-operation with the Japanese leaders. A lunch was organised in Abiko church.
Around the table were Reverend Kang (Regional Leader), Mr. Ito (IIFWP), Mr. Nomura (Asian affairs), Mr. Shim Myung Ki (World CARP) and Mr. Komiya (PWPA), as well as the IIFWP leader for Nara city. On our side, the 24 members working in Osaka were also invited.
Other leaders would only be able to come and see us in the evening and it was particularly the case of WFWP. The meeting was extremely helpful to know one another and who was doing what. Mr Ito put it very simply:
"The entire financial mission falls upon Japan shoulders. We provide most of the financial resources necessary to support the major projects and missions world-wide. If we stop our activities even one day, the whole progress of the movement is jeopardised. We are really choked. But we are desperate to help you. 90% of our membership is in the business, and only few members can do PR work. Please do not worry about filling the Osaka Hankyu International Hotel on Sunday. It is our responsibility and we know how to do it. We want to help you reach out to certain VIPs, and we try to make appointments with them. But we do not mind if you go and knock on many doors without appointment."
Mr. Nomura then gave a very passionate explanation about the Korean residents. He spoke from the bottom of his heart and we were impressed by his determination to do Godís Will. When all the leaders had spoken, we could ask a few questions, but the time was quite limited. The IIFWP leader for Nara sketched a brief outline of the situation of religions in Japan and made it clear that religion is weak in contemporary Japan, which has become a very secularised nation. He spoke about visiting a famous temple of Nara the next day, and many members were attracted by this project.
In the afternoon, many more visits took place and at the end of the day, we had many results and good experiences to report. Some members had visited neighbouring cities and met important people. My mission was to locate the Christian churches and try to make appointments for the next day and Saturday. Using the internet and the telephone, I was able to set up 6 appointments with several Christian churches.
The evening meeting was much more joyful and hopeful than the previous day, and we all received a renewed stimulation about our activity in Japan.
After the Hoon Dok Hae and the testimonies, we took much time to make a very clear plan for what was to be our busiest day of the whole campaign in Osaka. This time, we obviously were lacking manpower for the abundance of appointments that had been made in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto.
Concerning the churches alone, we had 5 appointments in Osaka, three of which at 10:00 a.m.
My mind started to focus on the first appointment of the day, with Pastor Masafumi Sasaki of the Suita Bible Gospel Church ( SBGC). The website of this church indicated a substantial 4-floor building located in Suita city, North of Osaka. I was alone to go to this appointment, and meanwhile, other members had an appointment with a pastor of Osaka International Church (OIC) at 10:00 and another appointment with Pastor Kim, of the Korean church of Osaka.
Pastor Sasaki at Suita Bible Gospel Church
My driver and I arrived 10 minutes after 10 at the SBGC. We were welcomed by a young handsome pastor, who had an austere and intellectual appearance, and who introduced us in the building. We sat down in the corner of a big hall. The building was modern, perfectly clean, and apparently very well organised.
Pastor Sasaki had little time and obviously little concern for interreligious activity. He kept a polite but distant attitude, and he explained that his church had very limited social or cultural activities, and was rather focusing on teaching the gospel. It was obviously a rather fundamentalist Protestant church, and when we mentioned Fatherís name, the relation became even more cool. However, pastor Sasaki received our documents and greeted us very politely on the way back to our vehicle in the parking lot of the church.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church of Osaka
We were now returning to the Abiko centre when my attention was drawn to a huge steeple with a cross on top of it, on the right hand side. I was excited and asked the driver to stop. He was bewildered but gave me satisfaction. I told him to continue and that I would go to the church by foot and come back with the subway.
The building I had seen was facing Tammabashi station and Matsuzakaya Department store, across the river, right after the junction of Okawa and Neyagawa rivers. I crossed the bridge, prayed in a park, tried to visualise the situation I would meet and approached the building, which simply indicated SDA in red letters. It took me some time to grasp that it stood for Seven Day Adventist (Church). On the first floor was a language centre, and I came in. A young man at the reception desk immediately offered to help me. He spoke English fluently. I apologised to come without appointment and requested to meet any pastor if possible. The young man became more and more resolute to help me and really insisted that a pastor should come down and see me.
I sat down and waited for about two minutes. Mr Yujiro Sagawa came in and we exchanged our cards. He is the president of the West Japan Conference of Seventh Day Adventist. The man was polite but apparently not inclined to spend to much time with me. He apparently took this visit in an bureaucratic and administrative way.
"We shall study your documents and your invitation and we shall give you an answer", he said.
I spoke about Father, and the relation became even more cold. He took all the documents and went back to his office upstairs. But the young man who had helped me got interested in knowing more. He sat down in front of me and we spoke from 11:00 until 12:30. He was probably approaching the age of 30 and had been born in an Adventist family.
"I keep searching, and I am not fixed in rigid dogmas. Thatís why I like to talk with you."
I felt that it was worth spending this time with him rather than with a church leader. We have to go where the Spirit is guiding us. There came a moment when he wanted to know what salvation means for us who follow the Principle. In order to explain our view of the Messiah, I had to explain about the Purpose of Creation. At this time, I strongly felt that drawing the 4 Position Foundation on a piece of paper was a very important step in my mission of Peace Ambassador in Japan. I also taught him about the fall of man and the process of salvation through the True Parents. He was spiritually thirsty, and I could have continued, but I had other commitments this day, and therefore had to bring an end to the discussion.
I was confident to find the way back to Abiko, and actually, I received a lot of help from many people who clearly showed me the way. I could have lunch with other members and at 2 p.m. we went to the next appointment with Pastor Michael Mason, from the Sakai International Bible Church. His website indicated that he had a Japanese wife, and had come to Japan as a missionary. The website also showed his staff and described the atmosphere of the church as truly international and youthful. We felt the need to prepare well before going, and because we arrived in advance, we had time to pray together. Henri felt that the central point was to testify about Jerusalem, and I prayed that God would give us signs of the preparation of this pastor.
There were a few signs. Pastor Mason welcomed us very warmly and humbly, with a profoundly spiritual attitude towards the Ambassadors for peace sent by God. We had come to introduce IIPC, and his church was called SIBC, I had a Japanese wife, and he had a Japanese wife too. We spoke about the 7 nations and he said: "We have seven nationalities attending our service."
When we talked about Father, he did not show any sign of hostility and showed the greatest interest about Jerusalem. He indicated that Pastor Kuroda, the former of SIBC, was a specialist of Israel and had often travelled there. He requested to have documents in English and Japanese so that all the members of his congregation could have a chance to read them and be informed about our activities. When we asked him to pray, he took a very humble and deep attitude and really prayed that Heavenly Father would bless IIPC and guide millions of people to this movement. We also took pictures in the church and he invited us to take part in the Sunday service.
We all felt the holy spirit after this visit and came back to Abiko full of energy and enthusiasm. Everybody had stimulating reports of their day during the evening meeting.
To be continued
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