Ikuro Teshima

Then one of the scribes came and asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’”

Mark 12:29

In postwar Japan, the spiritual deterioration is serious and evil crimes are committed one after another; people have become as cold-hearted as stone. In order for Japan to recover from this spiritual deterioration, it is very important for us to revive religious power more than anything else. For this purpose we should nurture religious minds through the sixty-six books of the Bible, which is the oldest and immortal book of human beings.

I have led a life of faith for fifty years since I came to know Christ at the age of twelve; during those years, the God of the Bible has guided me and helped me overcome crises of my life many times. I have countless stories to tell about Christ my God who redeemed me, taught me, guided me, and loved me for the past fifty years.

Jesus Christ said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” As I know no other God beside my Lord Christ, I wholeheartedly love Him.

During the Song Dynasty (960-1279) in China, a Zen master called Mumon preached on a religious mind: “Do not pull another’s bow. Do not ride another’s horse. Do not talk another’s faults. Do not try to know another’s business.”

Likewise, I do not know another God besides Christ; I do not want to talk about the faults of other religions. Neither do I use the bow of other denominations or ride on other churches’ ministry. My revered Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa said, “As far as religion is concerned, a borrowed faith is useless.” And Jesus Christ also said, “Love your God with all your heart.”

A Famine of Hearing the Words of God

When I was thirty-seven years old, twenty-five years after I began to have faith, Christ gave me a revelation about postwar: “I will send you a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” Through this prophecy of Prophet Amos He showed me that Japan would undergo a dark age of spiritual famine and that this would characterize postwar Japan. Jesus Christ said that man could live like a human being by God’s words and not by bread. Since then, God’s calling pressed me continuously so that I wanted to give up my various business activities and begin an independent ministry all by myself.

I had learned the Bible through the guidance of Prof. Kanzo Uchimura and Prof. Toraji Tsukamoto, so I had a Non-Church type of faith. As a minister, I was helpless with no church or missionary support, nor did I have any followers.

However, God urged me to convey His words to thirsty souls. Though I tried to follow God’s calling, I was not able to make up my mind and my heart was hesitant, considering my lack of religious background. Then, God put me through a crisis in order to remove my worldly mind and earthly desires. I was very much shocked by the incident and was awakened.

Resisting a US Military Officer

In those days I was living in Kumamoto and the children in our district were crying over their school, Keitoku Elementary School, which was suddenly ordered to close down. This order came from US military officer Petersen who had a bad reputation in the town; since Japan was under the US occupation, we had no choice but to chock back tears and consent to his command.

However, I was not able to overlook the ruling of the occupational army neglecting Japan’s circumstances. As a parent I tried to negotiate with the US military government, but nothing seemed to work. Then I stood up and led the townspeople to organize a resistance movement in order to correct the mistake of the military officer.

Due to our stubborn resistance, the US military government finally gave up their plan of abolishing Keitoku Elementary School. However, I was put on the blacklist of the military government.

One day policemen came and began to search my house with an arrest warrant that said: “Since Teshima is a harmful person to the US military rule, find whatever looks like crime and put him in jail for two months.” This was an unreasonable arrest order of Petersen and the case was later filed at the Kumamoto District Court as one of the three lawless incidents caused by the US military government.

The chief of the local police was aware of the situation, and sympathizing with me, he advised, “Quickly hide yourself somewhere. It’s dangerous!” I wondered if I could escape from the arrest order of the aweful military government, but anyhow I ran into the wilderness of Mt. Aso where no one was around.

God’s Calling in the Depth of Mt. Aso

While I was hiding myself in the mountain over ten days, I was so full of fear that I could not eat. With all my might I prayed to God to save me from imprisonment. One day, while praying in the valley of the Jigoku Heights, Christ suddenly showed His glowing spiritual figure so that I shivered from awe and prostrated in front of Him. Then I heard a murmur in my heart:

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more. You will see them with your own eyes, as vividly as you are now in My presence. Whether you turn to the right or to the left at the crossroads of your life, you will hear the voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’

With the words of the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 30, God encouraged me.

At that moment I made up my mind, “If He will guide me from now on, I will endure even poverty; I will go wherever He wants me to minister.” And I wholeheartedly prayed, “Please save me from the cruel arrest order of the military officer. Please do not put me in jail.”

Then what happened? God saved me from the hatred of the powerful military officer without any harm. Twenty-five years have passed since I began to minister under this guardian Christ. Meanwhile I had many slanders and persecutions, but now I walk in the path of God, outside churches, with some thousands of believers all over Japan. Also, there are several Makuya groups of the same faith in many places overseas.

I started my ministry all by myself and did not even imagine that so many people would join our groups. Is this not a proof that Christ is still living and working among us?

How happy you may be, if you walk with this Christ as your guardian God. I pray for you. This great Christ is the only and the highest Divine Spirit in the entire universe.

(1972)