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