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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended November 10, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 08Nov00

By Kent Larsen

Missionaries In Japan Practice 'Road Preaching'

CHOSEI, JAPAN -- Proselyting in a foreign country is difficult for any English speaking missionaries, but Elder James Blackwood, practices "dendou" a Japanese term for road preaching. The 20-year-old Boise native studied Japanese at school but admits the language is difficult. "Sometimes the conversion take time because the Gospel's new to them....In Japan they don't believe in Jesus Christ at all, so we're starting from scratch," Blackwood said.

Most of the houses have intercoms and the residents of Chosei, east of Tokyo offer polite excuses. "I am Japanese, so I am Buddhist," is another brusque reply. "Out of around 100 houses I've visited ... there were about two where I got to go in," he said. Elder Blackwood is accompanied by a Japanese missionary Masaaru Kina.

English conversion classes are offered for free by the missionaries. Most commercial classes cost thousands of dollars, so the missionary classes are quite a draw. "Mostly we get to know people through our English conversation classes," said Elder Timothy Hewlett. The English classes are advertised by two Japanese characters on the front of an advertising flier: "No Charge."

Not all of their efforts are discouraging. A middle-aged woman listens intently as Elder Kina conveys the message of the Gospel and hands her some material to read. "She was very positive," said Blackwood. "That's encouraging. She wanted to know why there are so many Christian religions in the world, and I think she's genuinely interested."


For missionaries, a mixed blessing
U.S. News & World Report 13Nov00 N1


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