“He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow will return with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:6)
How was the gospel seed planted in the heart of a young Japanese girl Hiroko Yamaguchi, in far away Japan? How did this result in great rejoicing at the Trulls Road Free Methodist Church?To answer these questions, let us tell you the story. In 1957, Canadian missionaries Lavern and Lois Snider heard God’s call to missionary service. Appointed by The Free Methodist General Missionary Board and at the request of the Japanese bishop at that time, Rev. Kaneo Oda, the Sniders along with daughter Carol, set out by boat to Japan.
Teaching in Osaka Christian College and Theological Seminary filled their days as they lived on the college campus. Desiring also to have a ministry in a Japanese community while maintaining their teaching positions, they moved to Nishinomiya, an hour’s train ride from Osaka. Their new home was quickly opened to their Japanese neighbours for children, youth and ladies’ meetings as well as for regular Sunday services. Among those who attended was Hiroko, a teen age girl from the neighbourhood. She heard the gospel message.
You can imagine the Sniders’ joy when 30 years later, now retired in Canada, they received word from Hiroko, now wife of a Japanese business man and mother of two grown children that she desired Christian baptism at the hand of the one who first planted the gospel seed in her heart. Hiroko, travelled from Kitakyushu, Japan to Canada where she gave her testimony and was baptized at the Trulls Road Church. Her testimony follows…..
“I believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ’s resurrection and the eternal life in heaven. I affirm all the facts written in the Bible. Through all my life I will live a Christian life.
Over thirty years ago I met the Sniders. They lived in my neighbourhood and held Christian meetings in their home. I attended many of these meetings. Of course it was God’s will that guided me to the entrance of Christian life. After that I used to go to church on Sundays listening to the preacher’s sermons and singing hymns to praise God. I also used to attend Christian youth camps and I sometimes worked for the children’s class at the Sniders’ meeting. Rev. Snider guided me to the Christian life. He asked me several times if I would receive baptism. My parents did not want me to get baptized before marriage. They thought that being a Christian made looking for a husband more difficult. I did not agree with them at that point but obeyed them because I did not have much confidence in my faith. Their opposition was not the real reason why I did not get baptized. It was I who decided not to believe and be baptized.
A long time has passed since that time. However, last summer I happened to learn that a daughter of my close friend had been baptized with her own intention though my friend’s family is Buddhist. I was much impressed with her daughter’s decision. That is what I could not do when I was young. One night in a dream I knew that I could not go forward leaving a precious baggage behind me. It was a kind of sign shown to me by God. My eyes were filled with tears and I recognized what was going on in my mind. I knew it was God’s will, not mine, that was most important for me. I needed to go back and get that precious baggage of knowing Jesus and following Him. I don’t know why I failed to believe earlier. But God knew what I should do. I needed to get my Christian life back on track.
Rev. Snider sowed seeds in Japan. My soil was not ready to grow them when he was in Japan. But now, 30 years later these seeds have begun to grow up in the soil of my heart. I am very happy to let you know of my decision to follow Jesus. I want others also to know of my decision to follow Jesus.”
Led by Pastor Barry Taylor, the Trulls Road Church family rejoiced over this significant event. Many of the Trulls Road congregation had prayed for the work of their missionaries as did many of you who are reading this report. You have had a vital part in sowing gospel seed and of reaping a harvest of new believers.
Let us keep prayerfully sowing gospel seed wherever we have opportunity. We never know when the seed will germinate and a new life in Christ will result.Written by Rev. Lavern Snider, a retired missionary and member of Trulls Road FMC.
By Mrs. Lois Snider, who attends the Barrie FMC