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We praise God and say with David, Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your Name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness.

Commended by Te Puke assembly in 1948, Stuart Caldwell spent 18 months of happy harmonious service with beloved Bob Lawson on the Auckland Bible Carriage. Again commended by Te Puke, later joined by Paengaroa, Stuart left in 1950 to serve the Lord in Japan.

Travelling by freighter, and detained by wharf strikes for 2 1/2 weeks in Australia, I finally arrived almost penniless, in U.S. military occupied Japan, at Kure, the ex-naval base near Hiroshima. I miraculously travelled 18 hours by a military express train to Tokyo, where the next 2 years were spent in language study. In the company of Japanese brothers who asked me to speak first, and with my limited memorized language ability, I was able to preach the gospel to large crowds who gathered in the open air to listen.

Together with gifted young Japanese brother Sasanuma, I moved north to Aomori, the most northern city in the main island of Honshu, in 1952, to follow up contacts from distribution of John's gospels. We used a large tent extensively for meetings in the city, and in surrounding country towns, where brother Takigawa was led to the Lord, and later became a commended worker in Aomori Prefecture. During this time a keen Christian man called Mitsuhashi, stricken with polio at 3 years of age, joined us and I baptized him in the sea. In all their great poverty following the war, many Japanese turned to the Lord, but even to a greater extent, at the nearby Leprosarium. It was a privilege to minister to this group of up to 88 believers, rejected by family and society, but rejoicing in the Lord. Because of stringent living conditions, many Japanese came down with T.B., and I also spent 6 months with it in Aomori hospital. However God had His purpose in this. An 18 year old high school girl seeking peace with God visited me in hospital and became a radiant Christian. Later she was to marry the above-named cripple brother Mitsuhashi, they were commended as full-time evangelists, worked with us in Hokkaido, and became greatly used of God as she carried him on her back for almost 50 years, all over Japan and overseas as well, including a visit to N.Z.

In 1957 there was an opening for the radio gospel programmes being prepared and broadcast in Osaka, to be broadcast from Hakodate, Hokkaido. At first follow-up was done with Emmaus courses from Aomori, but then for 18 months a rented room was used for weekly meetings, which involved travel between Aomori and Hakodate of 4 1/2 hours each way by ferry boat. Two were baptized during that time. In 1960 Marion Pirie (commended from Palmerston North, N.Z., in 1957), and I were married in Tokyo, and we moved to Hakodate to serve the Lord along with the Mitsuhashis. Tent meetings brought the first believers in Hakodate and those saved at that time now lead the assembly there. There was wide distribution of literature in country towns with Richard Goodall and Jim Campbell, when brother Sugai, the lighthouse keeper, was saved, and he later moved to Otaru city to work with us, was commended as a full-time evangelist, and continues to serve the Lord in another city.

Later in 1965, there was a tremendous response to High School literature distribution in Otaru, 5 hours by train further north in Hokkaido. After following this up from Hakodate with a weekly meeting for 6 months, we moved to Otaru in 1966. Hayden Harvey and Bill Peez joined us there, and they later moved out to new areas, and brother Sato, a saved barber, was commended to full-time work, and continues to serve the Lord in Otaru.

After furlough in N.Z. in 1970, we moved back to Hirosaki, 40 km south of Aomori city (1952-60) where there was much blessing amongst students for about 20 years. Two medical students, Doctors S. and Y. Haneda, spent 3 years in Burma, 4 years in Nepal, and continue a fruitful medical, and gospel witness in Yamagata, Japan. Another couple are serving the Lord in Indonesia.

Caldwell1-113x176Today we are still in Hirosaki and thank God for being able to continue to serve the Lord with faithful believers with a vision for souls. Our son and daughter both married Japanese Christians, and live in this area.

In some places missionaries have worked for years and seen very little response. In other areas, in particular in Osaka/Kyoto area, and in an area north of Tokyo, the assemblies have been particularly blessed, and branched out many times. You can read more about "Japan Today" in Treasury March, 2009.

We thank God for the faithful partnership in the gospel, of Te Puke, Paengaroa and Palmerston North friends, and so many others.

May God richly bless you all.

 



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