Juji Nakada's heart was broken for Japan. So many people knew nothing about the true God. If only there were more people willing to tell them!
Born on this day, October 29, 1870, Juji enrolled in Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, when he was twenty-six, because, as he explained it, he wanted to "get filled with the Holy Spirit." Dwight L. Moody's fame as an evangelist had spread around the world. Eventually Juji would himself be known as the "Moody of Japan." His vision was to found a similar institute and train national pastors for his native land.
One Sunday morning, while he was still studying in Chicago, Juji Nakada met Charles Cowman in church. Cowman had become a Christian at age thirteen but drifted for ten years. When his faith was restored in an experience in which he declared "The room became glorious with the presence of the Lord.." he immediately set out to convert others. Within six months he had converted seventy-five of his co-workers, including the first man with whom he shared the gospel, Ernest Kilbourne.
Juji asked Cowman to join him in working for Japan. Kilbourne and Cowman founded the Telegraphers' Missions Band. This group supported Juji when he returned to Japan.
Juji sailed back to Japan in 1898, but stopped in England on the way in order to visit the tomb of John Wesley and meet English holiness leaders. Three years later, Charles Cowman and his wife Lettie sailed for Japan.
Together with Juji and Ernest Kilbourne, they founded the Bible institute that Juji had dreamed of. Juji became its first president. In 1910, the team incorporated the Oriental Missionary Society in Tokyo. This became a significant world mission, now known simply as OMS.
The story of the Cowmans is well known. Charles suffered painful heart problems that forced him to return to the United States. As he was dying, he prayed fervently for world missions. To encourage him, Lettie accumulated clippings and inspirational sayings. She later published these as Streams in the Desert. However, if it were not for Juji, OMS would never have come into being.
As Dr. Edward Kilbourne, author of a history of OMS reminded his listeners at an OMS conference in 2001, "Nakada never let the Cowmans forget that God wanted them in Japan."
- Beeson, Ray and Hunsicker, Ranelda Mack. The Hidden Price of Greatness. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1991.
- Grace Bible Church. http://www.grace-pdx.com/hark/hark0302.shtml
- OMS. http://www.omsinternational.org/Outreach/ 2001/oct_dec/page4.html
- Sutherland, Allan. Famous Hymns of the World, Their Origin and Their Romance. New York, Frederick A. Stokes company, 1906, source of the picture.
Last updated June, 2007.