This is the official website of the Original Gospel Movement, or Makuya of Christ, featuring "Light of Life", lectures by Ikuro Teshima, and testimonies of spiritual conversion.

Our First Encounter

Professor Israel Slomnicki

It was in the autumn of 1954. I and my wife, Leah, were travelling on a train from Hiroshima to Nagasaki and were conversing quietly in Hebrew in our compartment. Opposite us there sat a man, who looked at us and listened to us. Suddenly he asked us: "Isn't it Hebrew that you are talking?" We were astonished that this man recognized our language from great many other possible languages, so I asked him how he recognized the language. He replied that he had a feeling that we were Israelis and that therefore we were most probably talking in Hebrew. He took out from his suitcase a large and thick book which turned out to be a Japanese Bible. He showed us that the chapter heads were written in large Hebrew letters, and he added: "I wrote it myself."

He then asked us to tell him about Israel. This was the time of mass immigration to Israel and a time of great austerity. We told our interlocutor that with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 our nation had only 600,000 people, but within a few years the population doubled. It was quite obvious that it was very difficult for the state to adapt to such a massive immigration and such a challenge. Our resources were not sufficient for everybody and we had to have austerity regime, rationing, and so forth. There were not enough buses, so long queues formed and people had to wait for hours. Food was scarce, too; eggs, meat, vegetables, milk and other commodities were in short supply and were rationed. Tents and huts were hastily erected in camps to house the newcomers.

The man vis-a-vis us introduced himself as minister Ikuro Teshima and said: "Look, in this twentieth century, in 1954, Jews from countries all over the world, Yemen, Iraq, Poland, Bulgaria, India return to their homeland exactly as this has been prophesied in the Bible. People in the world look at this ingathering of exiles as if this were only a matter of passports, visas, and tickets. They are blind to see the great miracle that is happening in front of their eyes…" After a while he added, "Since this is a miracle, there is no human force or might in the world that could stop this process; therefore Jews need not fear anybody or anything. Israel will develop and prosper."

The train stopped at a station. Teshima got out and soon came back carrying with him lunch boxes (bento) for himself and two additional ones for us. (Some years later, when we met again, Teshima reminded us of this scene and said in his recollection that we had hesitated to eat the lunch, because Jews in Israel did not have enough to eat at that time.) While we were eating our lunch, Teshima asked my wife what her name was. She replied, "Leah," and I added, "And my name is Israel." To this Teshima said: "Israel is Yaacov and Yaacov's wife was Leah." Before parting we exchanged our visit cards, according to the Japanese custom.

Six years passed by. One day we received a letter from Japan, in which Teshima wrote that since our meeting on the train in 1954, he had not ceased to dream about a possibility of visiting Israel and that now his dream was going to be fulfilled. He was planning to come to Israel, (at that time this was a very complicated matter because of currency restrictions in Japan) and since he did not know anybody except us in Israel, he inquired whether I would be willing to help him in planning and organizing his visit and advise him on what to see, what to visit, where to stay, and so forth.

We immediately remembered the man, although during my seven-month stay in Japan on behalf of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, I met there hundreds of people. It was impossible not to remember Teshima. He radiated a peculiar power, wisdom and deep faith, which one seldom encounters in any one man.

I replied in my letter that I would like to receive a telegram showing the date and hour of his arrival so that I would go to the airport to pick him up, and that my house would be his home during his stay in Israel and from there he would be touring Israel under my guidance.

Teshima came to Israel with Kubota, who, I was told, was the only unharmed survivor of the Nagasaki atomic disaster.

During his stay in Israel, Teshima fell deeply in love with the country. During our travels in the country Teshima stated that in his view it was impossible to understand the spirit of the Bible without actually visiting Israel, without knowing the Hebrew language and the people of Israel.

A year after his visit to Israel, Teshima began to send his disciples to Israel with the idea that they would learn the Hebrew language here so as to be able to read the Bible in the original. Since then, the stream of Makuya people to Israel grew from year to year, and often they came to visit us in Rehovot. This month, a year after the premature death of Ikuro Teshima, also my wife Leah passed away.

It is my hope and belief that the Makuya Movement will have the strength and the faith to follow the road that has been laid out by Professor Ikuro Teshima, and that the links between the Makuya people and the people of Israel will grow stronger and better.

(1974)

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