May I Introduce to You This Most Amazing and Remarkable Couple
It was 1954. It was a Youth Rally. I was 16. There they were! On the platform in a little Church of the Nazarene in southwest Oklahoma, Koichi and Nana had come in their beautiful kimonos to speak to us about the Unfailing Love and Power of the Great and Living, Almighty God.
They were students at Bethany Nazarene College in Bethany, Oklahoma. They had come from their homeland in Japan at the instruction of the Lord. The more beautiful thing was the presence of the Lord. Nana's father was a Free Methodist Pastor, connected with an English speaking school for children and young people. Koichi was a student attending the school for the sole reason of learning English.
His father, a pharmaceutical maker, had made the arrangements at the insistence of his son's yearning to speak English. At age twelve Koichi arrived at the school and had no idea he would also be learning about Christianity. So on that first day, with his family sword in its sheath, he climbed onto the top of the Chapel roof, walked out the ridge to the front of the building. With his sword in hand chopped the cement cross off and shoved it onto the ground.
Next he went inside the Chapel and carried out all the Bibles and Hymnals, piled them on top of the cross and set them all on fire. The five American Missionary Instructors of the school went in to emergency session. This behavior required the immediate and permanent expulsion of the student. But first they prayed.
Do you know the story of Peter in prison. Acts 12:5 "Peter therefore was kept in prison:
but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." (KJV)
Whether or not they thought of this scripture, those five men made a decision, a decisive decision! Koichi was enrolled to attend five years of classes which would take him through graduation from the high school.
Those five godly missionary men agreed to begin meeting every Saturday to pray. They would pray for Koichi's salvation through Jesus Christ until he gave his heart to the Lord by the time he graduated at the end of five years or they would then resign their positions at the school and with the mission. Then they would return to the United States of America and cross the country declaring that God does not answer prayer.
So then, the Saturday Prayer Meetings began. Every Saturday, fifty-two Saturdays a year they prayed specifically for the salvation of the boy, Koichi Yamamoteo, through the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Those five men prayed week after week, month after month, year after year until a month before the fifth year graduation. Sometime about the start of that last month the now seventeen year old Koichi spoke to a fellow student.
Koichi told me the boy was a kind of "little milk toast." He had been an ardent witness for Jesus Christ.
As Koichi was passing the Christian's desk, he spoke to the boy. "Do you think this Jesus of yours can protect you?" "Yes." "What if you laid your arm on the desk and I draw the blade of my sword across your wrist?" The boy laid his arm on the desk. Surprised, Koichi drew his sword from its sheath. He laid the razor honed edge on the thin skin of the boys wrist. "Are you ready?" "Yes." He closed his eyes. He opened his eyes and looked at the boy. "Are you ready?" "Yes." He closed his eyes then opened his eyes and looked at the boy. "Are you sure you're ready?" "Yes." He closed his eyes and waited. Then he drew the sword. When he opened his eyes, blood was going everywhere.
I asked, "Koichi, what did he do?", "He forgave me." He answered. Then he explained. The sword had severed all the tendons of his wrist. The boy could never use the fingers of his hand again. Koichi had always, for five years sat on the back row in Chapel. The next day he moved up to the next row. And then day by day he moved forward one row at a time. The day he sat in the front row, he gave his heart and his life to Jesus Christ. In that last week of school, the Lord called him to preach.
The ear of the hearing God answers the unceasing prayers of men who pray in faith. The blood of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, saves the soul of a seventeen year old boy who seeks the Lord.