A Thrilling Report From Japan
I would like to share with you the story of a little girl in Japan who had been for two years in a tubercular sanitarium. Her body had wasted away so much that she could hardly move in bed.
One day when a group of gospel workers were visiting the hospitals, they left a Christian tract with her. She was not able to hold it, but had the nurse prop it up on a stand above her head, and turn the pages, one by one, as she read.
As she read and reread that simple gospel message, it gripped her heart. She prayed, asking the nurse to help her by standing by to hear her voice in prayer. God reached through, and as she prayed for forgiveness of sin, she had a wonderful experience of salvation.
As many when they are first saved, this girl wanted to share the joy the Lord had given to her. One day she read in the newspaper of a wicked man who had been condemned to death for a murder.
She decided she must write him, and tell him of Jesus. It took her about three days, but she finally was able to use her little strength and movement to get a letter finished, and with it she sent the tract which had meant so much to her.
When he received it, he was contemptuous, but later as he reread the letter, he realized how much this little one-page letter really meant to the little girl who had mailed it to him.
His heart was touched that some one would care enough for him to write him a letter at such cost.
He began to read the tract, and over and over he read, until the truth grasped his heart, and he believed it. God came into that Tokyo prison and saved a brutal murderer, through the witness of an almost helpless little girl in the tubercular sanitarium across the city.
Later the murderer was taken to another prison, more that a thousand miles away, where he was placed in the "death row" as his final place before his execution.
One day he was singing a gospel hymn which he had learned from the Christian workers who held services in the prison. As his lonely cell echoed with the praises of God, he heard a voice call through the "peep hole" to the next cell. It was a man named Uchida, who had also found Christ as his Saviour.
What a joy when the two were able to share their faith together.
Mr. Iwata (for that was his name), and Mr. Uchida, began to pray and work for the salvation of the other men in death row. The warden gave them permission to share their testimony with the other prisoners in death row when they were all together at meal time.
In the two years that Mr. Iwata was in death row, 41 condemned prisoners were won to Christ. The warden permitted the baptism of the Christians in the prison bath tub, and he stated that the whole atmosphere of death row had changed from frenzy and fright to Christian joy and peace. As the guards made their rounds along the cells they could hear gospel hymns coming from the cells. It transformed the whole prison.
The time finally came for Mr. Iwata to die for his sin. He was permitted his last request, and it was that he might be taken to the tubercular sanitarium to see the little girl who wrote him the one-page letter and sent him the gospel tract.
Standing by her bedside, the converted murderer told her the story of what the letter and the tract had done for him and his friends, through the saving power of Jesus Christ.
Tears poured from the girl's eyes as she heard the story of what God had done.
Before leaving her, Mr. Iwata was moved to lay his hand upon her head and pray a prayer of faith for her healing. He then returned to the prison, and was soon executed for his crime, but he went to the God whom he knew and trusted and loved.
The same living Word of God which had transformed him and the 41 men of death row, now came into the dying body of the little girl in the sanitarium.
Within two weeks she was completely healed of her illness by the power of God, and she walked from the sanitarium and returned to normal life.
What a wonderful work of God this was! It all started because one helpless little girl who could not do much, did the little she could do. And because a condemned murderer, imprisoned in death row, did not give up, but did what he could to tell others of his Lord.
Truly the Word became flesh and lived again in the lives of these people.