The following is a translation of an excerpt from Ishizue: Kashihara Genjiro no shinko to shogai (Cornerstone: The Faith and Life of Genjiro Kashihara) by Teruo Nishiyama. Note: This translation is a provisional one and may need to undergo further revision.
Instances of Salvation on His Mission Tours
According to those who work in the forestry industry, Japanese cypress seedlings are typically planted up in the mountains in February. Rounds are then made in May and in September to nurture these seedlings. Rounds must be made to protect seedlings from ivy and vines that can cover them and hamper their growth. Decrease these rounds from twice to once a year and only half of the seedlings to reach maturity. Even so, it is said that only one in 10,000 of these trees can grow large as the round pillars used in the Main Sanctuary.
Genjiro went through much hardship to nurture members of his congregation belonging to subsidiary fellowships and churches. There were numerous instances of salvation on his mission tours. I wish to give a few examples of them here.
The town of Arita in Kyushu is famed for producing Imari porcelain. It is a narrow town located in a valley. Nishimatsuura Branch Church is located near Koransha, a leading manufacturer of porcelain. Its first head minister was named Koichi Takeichi. He was a minister of Kunina, one of Myodo’s subsidiary churches. In 1903, Koichi came away with a profound insight that motivated him to leave his family of seven behind, which included his aged mother, to go on a missionary expedition to Arita.
Genjiro first made a mission tour to Arita in the spring of 1905 when he was 30 years old. As Genjiro sent information on his schedule in advance, Koichiro came to greet him at the station. Genjiro saw that Koichiro’s eyes were swollen. When they reached the place where Koichiro was living temporarily, Genjiro said something the likes of: “Do not rush on this path. Although I may have gained 200 member households in 16 months during my missionary effort in Karatsu, times are different today. According to what I’ve heard, your parent church is providing you with five yen a month. But as the years go on, it will likely become harder and harder to accept such money.
“It doesn’t matter how many years it’s going to take, do your best until you spread the path here. If Kunina can’t provide for you anymore, Myodo will provide for you 10 to 20 years down the line. Hang in there and spread the teachings. You won’t be able to fulfill God’s intention if you are in a hurry. Understand?”
Koichiro vowed in his heart to hang tight and continue his missionary work. The next morning, his eyes were completely healed and he was in sunny spirits.
When Genjiro came again that autumn, Koichiro shared the following: “To be truthful, when you came this spring, I was in the middle of arranging to go to Hyuga (Miyazaki) where my brother is because I wasn’t having much success in spreading the path here. I grew impatient, thinking that maybe I wasn’t meant to stay here in Arita.
“But then I received God’s tending through the swelling of the eyes and you provided me with your insight. Then, when I replaced my mindset and recommitted myself to missionary work and the path gradually began to spread. Kaicho-sama, who knows where I would be right now if you had not visited me this spring.”
For the next 20 years, Koichiro did not stop to pound rice cakes for New Year’s or went to see a theatrical show. Pouring himself into missionary work, he built the foundation of his congregation, which includes 15 subsidiary churches.
In April 1921, Genjiro went on a mission tour to visit Nishimatsuura when it was promoted to an auxiliary church. Genjiro was able to save the daughter of Dr. Mikajiro in Arita from a brain disease from which she suffered for seven years.
This woman was living a life luxury even though her parents had helped lift her from abject poverty. Genjiro had concluded her condition stemmed from her being unfilial to her parents. She changed her mindset overnight and from the next day rose early, did the laundry, cooking, and cleaning. By working this way, she received the blessings of a complete recovery.
After receiving the truth of the Sazuke, this woman married someone in Mito. In 1914, Genjiro visited her new home on his return from a mission tour in Hokkaido. He told her his plan to send someone on a missionary expedition to the area. He asked her to help the missionary to gain a foothold and she accepted.
In October 1915, Konosuke Kanagae was selected to go to Mito to begin missionary work. Konosuke later established Meisui Branch Church in 1929.
The instances of salvation that occurred during Genjiro’s mission tours led to the growth of the congregation in this way.
- Next installment in this series: Saving a Couple from Leprosy