HICKS Newsletter
The Mission Society For United Methodists


Dear Missionary Partner,

Neal praying with Yuko 1/10/2000

How good and far reaching is the grace of God? To what lengths will He go to reach those who are lost? If you asked miss Yuko Yajima, she would tell you, "His grace reached all the way down to where I was." My first encounter with Yuko (pronounced Youko), came through an International VIP bible and fellowship meeting where her mother attended. "Please pray for my youngest daughter Yuko. She has absolutely no interest in spiritual things, hates Christianity, and simply detests Christians." So armed with God's promises, (Acts 16:31; 1 Tim. 2:4) we began to pray and believe God for Yuko's salvation. Then one day, Mrs. Yajima revealed to us her plan. She felt the Lord instructing her to invite her daughter to the famous Chinese hotel where we fellowship, and on the national holiday called "Adult's Day," she would have Yuko come to the lobby. For what purpose? It was a premeditated prayer-full trap!

Mrs. Yajima knew Yuko would do as all Japanese do at 20 years old when they are officially recognized as adults. Yuko, dressed for the occasion, would visit the nearby Shinto Shrine and Buddhist Temple and seek to receive a blessing. But Mrs. Yajima had another idea in store. She introduced us to her daughter, and then quickly added, "Hicks sensei will now pray a blessing upon you." You could tell by the look on Yuko's face that she was more than a little surprised. It was a rather tense moment. But, as the Lord would have it, Yuko graciously and quietly consented. After praying over Yuko, she politely said "thank you," and then joined us for picture with her mother and some of our VIP leadership. In the weeks and months ahead we kept Yuko in our prayers, until one day an exciting word came from a very excited Mrs. Yajima. We learned that on Sunday, May 28th, just four months later, Yuko made a decision to receive Christ as her Savior !

Needless to say, everyone was overjoyed how God had turned Yuko's heart completely around. We thanked the Lord, continued to pray, and wondered how God would lead Yuko in the days ahead. We were soon to learn that the blessings were not over yet. Now God had a plan !

Mrs. Yajima, again excited, contacted us to let us know that God had again answered more prayer. We then learned that Yuko was attending church. In fact, her mother said, "every opportunity Yuko gets, she goes to church. It seems she just can't get enough.!" What an incredible blessing it was to us to learn that God doesn't do things half way. So then, we were not too surprised to hear that Yuko had shared her desire to be baptized.

The next report we heard was that on June ll, 2000, Pentecost Sunday, Yuko was baptized at Yamato Calvary Chapel, which is the largest church in Japan. It is also a Wesleyan church. Rev. Okawa, the senior pastor baptized Yuko. I think the expression on her face says it all. Yuko's older sister, also a Christian, stands with her in this picture. Also please note Yuko's picture below with mom, sister and Calvary Chapel pastor, Rev. Okawa.

Saving God's best for last, Yuko was recently selected, as a part of her work group for McDonald's Japan, as "number one" in the entire country. At the end of October, she is traveling to Chicago with the owner of McDonald's Japan to receive a special award. Yuko has shared how she believes God is sending her on a mission: to share Christ with Mr. Fujita, (whose mother was a Christian) who owns her company. What a courageous step of faith for this new beautiful Christian girl. And now she is requesting prayer to set yet another heavenly trap. God's grace is incredibly far reaching, wouldn't you agree? Thank you for your faithful prayers and precious giving, enabling us to be His instruments and your servants, for making our Lord's presence known among the Japanese.

Your Missionaries in Japan - JAPAN FOR JESUS,