From darkness to joy and excitement

* This may not be an amusing story but is certainly an amazing story because of God's love.

My Testimony: Shared in the morning service at Lincoln Road Bible Chapel
Yutaka Ikeda ?29 June 2008

? ? Today, there are approximately 9,000 churches with 1 million Church members for ?127 million people in Japan. ? Only 275,000 Japanese regularly attend the Protestant Church service. ?This means only 0.21% of the total population after 149 years of missional efforts since the first non-Roman missionaries came in 1859. ?

? ? Strange as it seems, over 5 million Bibles are sold annually in Japan today, and 43 % of the under-30s possess at least a copy. ?Nonetheless, Japanese are considered as one of the least responsive people groups to the claim of Christ. ?Is it true that Japanese are inherently indifferent to the Christian message? ?History testifies otherwise. ?More over, it proves the above assumption is a gross myth. ?

? ? Takatsuki, where we have resided just before coming to New Zealand, marked a record that Roman Catholic Christian population exceeded 73 % within less than 35 years of missional work since the very first Roman Missionary, Francisco Xavier arrived in 1549. ?Christianity was the fastest growing religion in Japan.

I would like to share my personal testimony how I came to know the Lord upon the very first hearing of the Gospel presented by a missionary.

? ? Flower blossoms in order to wither.
? ? Promises are made to be broken.
? ? Men exist in order to die.

? ? This is a poem I wrote in my diary when I was fifteen. ?I was born in Japan. ?A traditional Japanese Buddhism gave me an idea that life existed without a purpose. ?I thought my life was just like a vapor and that death was the end of everything. ?I could not stand the thought that I was totally alone and that my life was a meaningless waste.

? ? One day I planned to commit suicide, but I couldn't stab a knife into my belly, because I was scared of dying. ?These following thoughts came into my mind.

? ? Those who commit suicide don't have courage to face the reality of their lives. ?They are cowards. ?On the other hand, those who are living don't have courage to kill themselves. ?They are cowards too, or else they are fooling themselves.

? ? The change took place when I was seventeen after I met a missionary. ?He explained to me that the Bible was very different from any other books in regard to the accuracy of historical facts and prophecy. ?I started to think that if the Bible was true concerning the history of nations, then the Bible could also be true and trustworthy concerning my life after death. ?He showed me a booklet called the Four Spiritual Laws, and told me how God loved me and sent Jesus Christ to die for my sins. ?He told me also that eternal life was a free gift of God through Jesus Christ. ?That night I trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. ?It was January 8 1970.

? ? Since then, the search for the purpose of my existence has ended.
I understand now God does exist and cares for me in every detail of my life.
I learned that nothing will happen to me without first going through God's approval. ?As a result, I do not have to worry about what happens to me in my future. ?Before, I had a very negative, introspective personality. ?After I trusted Jesus Christ, He changed me to have a positive, thankful and peaceful one. ?

? ? Prayer and trusting God became a part of my daily life. ?I started to read the Bible. ?I started to sing new songs. ?I started to share Christ with friends in my high school. ?Christ has changed my life from that of a dark one to that of joy and excitement!

Jesus said, "Let him who is thirsty come. ?And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Rev. 22:17

Here I would like to share my joy through singing a song, “He That Believeth”. ?The lyric is based on Scripture passages, John 6:47, 2Cor 5:21, Isa 53:6 and Gal 1:9.