Each year at Christmas the Southern Baptist Convention takes up the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. One hundred percent of this offering goes directly to missionaries serving all around the world. As part of this offering, we always have The Week of Prayer for International Missions. Sometimes, they share stories of the challenges missionaries face. Other times, we can read about the individuals they are ministering to or the people groups they are working with. In honor of this week of prayer, I want to share with you some of the testimonies of those who have given their lives to serve far away from home in obedience to the call of Jesus.
Today, I want to share with you the story of Kiyoshi Sugioka, a 53-year-old man from Tokyo, Japan from the IMB website:
Kiyoshi Sugioka entered the busy Tokyo train station with a single purpose in mind – to end his life. Dressed in a business suit and dress shirt, the 53-year-old looked like any of the hundreds of Japanese businessmen crowding the station.
But on that day in July 2009, Sugioka’s life was dramatically different from those surrounding him at the station. He had hit rock bottom. In one year, Sugioka had lost two jobs, his family, his home, his honor and even his identity. Sugioka was unemployed and homeless.
He stood at the edge of the platform, preparing to jump. Then he remembered a phone number he had in his wallet. IMB missionary Josh Park had given him his cell phone number when he had met him two months before. Sugioka called Park from the station.
“When I saw him … he was in really bad shape,” Park said. “He look tired, weary and worn out. “I just listened to him talk,” Park continued. “I remembered that he wasn’t interested in hearing the Gospel … then he said, ‘Tell me about God.'” After Park shared the plan of salvation, Sugioka prayed to receive Christ. Following a few weeks of discipleship, Sugioka was baptized in Tokyo’s Tama River in August 2009.
“He introduced me to God and Christ,” Sugioka recalled. “It was a world I didn’t know. I felt like I was born again.” Park didn’t learn until later that Sugioka had been on the brink of suicide when he called. Southern Baptists provide Park with the cell phone service that costs about $50 a month. Thank you for giving so Sugioka could make a life-saving call.
If you would like to help support missionaries all around the world please send a check to: Living Oaks Baptist Church, 8855 East 91st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74133. Please write “Lottie Moon” on the memo line. One hundred percent of all the gifts we receive will go to help missionaries share the good news of Jesus.