Hiroko’s cancer brought life to her and her family.

By Joe Mita; Joe and his wife, Noney, are missionaries in Japan.

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). We witnessed this verse come to reality in the life of a 61-year-old newly saved lady.

Hiroko Koso came to a special evangelistic meeting in November 2012 at Bethel Baptist Church in Iwatsuki, Japan. A visiting US pastor, Rev. Randy Gilmore, spoke on “A Christian World Prospective.” Since her youth, Hiroko had desired to know the true God. She tried Catholicism and other religions but could not believe their teachings. She read the Bible and even went to Protestant churches but could not understand much about God. However, she continued to have a longing for God. During the meeting’s invitation, she came forward and said, “I had been to other churches and read the Bible myself, but I had not understood the meaning of the cross of Christ. But I understood it today.” 

Soon afterward, she studied a five-lesson Bible study (“What is the Bible?”) with my wife and understood more clearly about the Bible and the cross, and Hiroko received Christ as her Savior. She began to come to church regularly, attended home Bible studies, and volunteered for various church ministries.

The Lord is my shepherd

In April she was hospitalized. We found out she had a cancer. Her cancer, which had been in remission, resurfaced. In her hospital bed, she clearly told her husband that she wanted a Christian funeral and burial if she died. In Japanese culture, if a family member dies, a Buddhist funeral and burial in the family Buddhist graveyard after the cremation is expected.

Without knowing what to do, her unsaved husband, Tsuyoshi, called me. In our first meeting, he expressed his desire to be buried with his wife when he died. I urged him to study the Bible to understand his wife. He agreed and started to study “What is the Bible?” with us. By grace, he also put his faith in Christ in June 2013. When Hiroko told her husband, “You don’t need to believe it just for me,” he replied, “I studied the Bible myself and believed it.” Tsuyoshi continued the Bible study with me once a week, and his faith grew.

The valley of death

As Hiroko’s health continued to decline, Hiroko’s and her husband’s faith continued to grow. Their sons began to notice the difference, and as they watched their mother walk through the valley of death with complete peace and faith in God, they also wanted to know more about her faith. They also completed the five parts of the same Bible study.

When the doctor gave Hiroko permission to come home for the last time, her husband brought her to the Sunday worship service in July. Hiroko was taken to heaven on August 18, 2013, and many unsaved family members attended her funeral at Bethel Baptist Church.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

Mr. Koso’s faith keeps growing. He is serving the Lord joyfully with newly gained church friends. On September 22 he shared his testimony in the church and was baptized. On the same afternoon, we had the ceremony to bury Hiroko’s bones in the cemetery lot our church recently purchased at the Christian graveyard. His sons and their families came to participate. Both of the sons started to open their hearts toward the gospel. Please pray for their salvation.