(A TRUE STORY BY DR. MEL RUTTER)
The war was over! Now our objective was no longer Tokyo but that beloved place, somewhere in the United States, "home sweet home." We were on the large island of Okinawa just a short distance south of Japan. The island was only a shell of her former self. She had been devastated by bombings, shellings, and weeks of guerilla warfare. Her cities were in shambles. Her countryside was laid waste. Most of the populace from the cities had fled to the interior and thousands upon thousands were living in crude makeshift villages.
We were camped just south of Naha awaiting our return to the States. It was a real opportunity for Satan, since "idleness is his workshop." He was not wasting his time; sin was rampant everywhere. Some of us Christians were having nightly Bible study. We were witnessing to the soldiers, but it was difficult, as most of them seemed to have two purposes in life: pleasure and getting home. They were "lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." The multitudes of Okinawans, who for the most part had not heard the Gospel, presented a real mission challenge, but the language barrier loomed before us. Then God answered prayer and allowed us to make the acquaintance of a lovely Christian girl called Rose of Sharon. Rose spoke perfect English as well as her own Okinawan dialect and had a real compassion for the souls of her people. She and a friend of hers volunteered to go with us to the makeshift villages in the hills to preach to the people. Another soldier and I were taking turns preaching and she would interpret for us. (She took our English words and told them to her own people in their native dialect.) We emphasized and reemphasized the new birth (spiritual birth from above) without which Jesus says; "no man can see the Kingdom of God."
One day we arrived at Rose's house to get her to go with us to preach, only to find that she and her friend had already gone to the little church in the hills where we had been holding evangelistic services. By the time we arrived, services had already begun, and the Christians were singing with all their hearts. The little bamboo church was so packed we could barely get inside. One of the brethren escorted us to the front. We sat down, and I glanced toward the platform. There stood Rose radiating the love of Christ. She smiled and nodded to us. Then I noticed the speaker for our service and my heart sank! It was Chaplain ---, a major in the U.S. Army. We knew him well.
He was a rank modernist! We had heard him declare that the Bible was not the inspired Word of God and that it was full of error. He also said that Jesus was a very good man, surely one of the ten best that had ever lived, but that He was not the Son of God. He scoffed at the idea of His shed blood and said his God was a gentleman and would not "bargain" with blood. He said God was Love and would never send anyone to Hell, that man was not bad or sinful by nature but good, and if we just brought out the good, the beautiful and the true, we would make him acceptable to God. You who know your Bible know that these are lies of the Devil! I was puzzled! How did Rose of Sharon get mixed up with this modernist?
My thoughts were interrupted as a dear old silver-haired Okinawan stood to pray. We knew him to be a real man of God, fervent in spirit, a real soldier of the cross. Although I could not understand his language as he prayed, I realized it to be the language that our Lord understands, the language of His Love, and my heart burned within me as I felt the presence of God. Never have I heard anyone pray with such power. After he sat down, Rose sang a beautiful song about our Wonderful Saviour! Then the Chaplain stood to speak, (his bony little legs showing beneath his khaki shorts), and I do mean speak, because preaching was foreign to him.
He talked about the flowers being beautiful, mentioned the wide ocean that separated us from our homes, never mentioning the Water of Life, or of our separation from our Heavenly Home, and talked about a book called, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, never mentioning the tree of Calvary upon which hung our blessed Saviour. In fact, he only mentioned the name of God twice. He never mentioned the name of Jesus, the Cross, sin, Hell, or salvation: he just talked and talked. All of this time Rose of Sharon was interpreting: she was talking to her people in the Okinawan dialect.
When the Chaplain finished his talk he sat down and then the unbelievable happened! Rose walked back and forth in front of her people, her cheeks were stained with tears, and she beckoned with her hands for them to come to the altar. The Spirit was strong, people seemed convicted of sin, and many were coming down the aisles weeping and giving every outward evidence of repentance. It was the only time I have ever seen souls being saved when I just could not enjoy it! I was perplexed! How could this be? My soul cried out within me! This man is a modernist, disallows that man is a sinner and needs a Saviour, denies Christ, and yet the people were coming, broken, agonizing, and apparently being saved. He never even mentioned the name of Jesus, and that He alone can save!
I could hardly wait until the service was over and at the very first opportunity I said, "Rose, was that real? Were souls really confessing sin? Were people really taking Christ as their personal Saviour?" She nodded in the affirmative to all of my questions. "But, Rose, how could this be? That man, that Chaplain, is a rank modernist: he does not even believe in our Christ!" She smiled as she looked up at me and said, "You see, Brother Mel, I did not tell my people what that Chaplain said. I just told them about Jesus!"
Well, Praise God! I know some preachers who could use an interpreter like her! Brother, if God has called you to preach, PREACH! Preach the Book, the Blood, and the Blessed Hope! When Rose told me that, my soul was flooded with great joy, and tears filled my eyes. Again the Holy Spirit took out His auger and bit of love and bored deeply into my soul. He spoke gently, "Mel, back a few years ago, according to Rose's testimony, there was a Baptist missionary who lived in Hawaii. He really knew the Lord, really loved lost souls, and was faithful to witness. He was responsible for Rose of Sharon's coming to know Jesus!"
This young Okinawan lady so loved her Saviour that she forfeited her good government job with excellent pay, security, and sunny Hawaii to return to her own war-torn land. She had lived under great privation for months and was faithful to go up and down telling her people about Jesus and His power to save! She lifted Jesus up, and He promised that if He be lifted up, He would draw all men unto Himself! God bypassed a Chaplain, who was a Major in the U.S. Army, and spoke through a faithful girl to the war-ravished people in the hills of Okinawa that day.
Dr. Mel Rutter
Went to be with the Lord December 30, 1999.
A faithful soldier of the cross.
He never wavered in his concern for the lost.
He was truly a grand old man.