Testimony of Salvation by Rev. Tadashi Oyamada

(General Secretary of SU in Japan)


This is my tenth year as a GS of Japan SU. 

Christians are so few in Japan, but I became a Christian by the wonderful leading of God. I would like to share with you how I became a Christian in this country.


Since my childhood, I was attending a church near my house. My mother was the first one who became a Christian in our family. After the War, Japan was in a confusion. She met an American woman missionary in the confusion, and she became a Christian through the missionary.


My mom made the children go to the church near by. I attended the church more than 10 years. I went to the church very eagerly in my primary schooldays and also in junior high school days. But in spite of it, I could not understand the love of God clearly nor believe in Jesus as my Savior. Because it was a kind of liberal church, so I had never heard that if I believed in Jesus I could be saved.


I want you to pray for Japan because it is said that there are about 7,000 protestant churches but in many of which the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not been preached clearly.


As I grew older I began to hate to go to the church, because it seemed to me that the individual Christian was very weak, for they were not living by their own power but only living by depending on God. I was ashamed of telling my friends that I was attending a church and especially to the girls, because I did not want them to recognize me as a weak boy. And in the church I was attending, the message of our pastor used to be very theological and I could hardly understand it.


During my senior high-school days, I hardly ever went to the church. After I graduated from the high-school, I entered Keio university, one of the private universities in Japan, and I stopped going to the church then. What I did was playing margion and pachinko, that are the gambles which many students do in Japan, with my friends, and gradually it became hard for me to stop doing these things. I also learned social dancing because I envied my friends who could do it very well.


I tried to think that I was happy by doing these things, but all such social activities were empty. I could not get anything satisfying from them. Sometimes I was very happy and in high spirits, but sometimes I became depressed and very anxious, and wanted something to depend on.


So I began to pray to God and asked Him to lead me to a better church. And God answered my request. At that time, very fortunately for me, one Canadian OMF missionary, Mr. David Michelle, came to Tokyo and attended the same church with my mom. And one day he suggested me to attend the monthly meeting of OCF. OCF means Overseas Christian Fellowship, which consists of foreign students from South and South East Asian countries. So I went there taking courage because I wanted to study English.


The meeting was held in English and Chinese, so I could not understand at all. But I really felt something filling my wants there. I was attracted by the meeting very much. Most of the students were attending the Tokyo Overseas Chinese Church (later the name was changed to Tokyo International Church and moved Ebisu) which was in Azabu in Tokyo. Therefore I began to attend the Tokyo International Church from next Sunday.


There, everything was so fresh for me. I could see many kinds of people from several countries and strong young Christians, mostly Chinese students from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and so on.


I could not understand their languages well, but by seeing their acts, I could feel that they were strong in faith. So I continued to go to the church and since then my desire of believing in Jesus was strengthened rapidly. I was also helped by some English Bible classes which was held by the missionaries in several places in Tokyo. I could feel the leading of God to make me a real Christian.


And at last, I was completely persuaded to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and also as my own personal Saviour at Matsubarako Bible Camp in 1969. I stayed there for a month and decided to become a Christian. After I came back from there, I was baptized to be fully obedient to Christ, when I was a junior in the university.


Since then I have had wonderful days blessed by God, and I have a sense of fulfillment very deep in my heart. When I became a Christian, I knew that I was changed. I became a different person and I kept on changing day by day by the power of God. I certainly thank God for His leading to make me a Christian.


After that I was led by God to become a full-time minister, and I studied at Japan Bible Seminary for three years. And I was given a precious opportunity of working as a pastor for six years.in Japan. After that I was led by God to go Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in America, to get further theological studying. After I came back from America, I worked as a pastor for 15 years, and finally was led to Scripture Union to become General Secretary in 1998.