In telling the story of 100 years of work by "Christians only" in Japan some significant points need to be made:

1. Japan has been a major missionary interest of our people for 100 years. Since 1883 there have been only the war years, 1942-1946, in which we have not had a missionary witness in Japan. Even after the war with Japan, one of the most ferocious and deadly in history, our people were eager to see mission work resumed and both to send and support missionaries to do it. That abiding interest still remains, even at a time when Japan threatens to gain economic superiority over the U.S.A.

2. We have consistently sent to Japan missionaries remarkable for their dedication, their preparation, their commitment and their staying power. Missionaries who come to Japan are not quitters, even though they are seldom blessed with major spiritual and evangelistic victories.

The longevity of missionary service in Japan is more than a match for our missionaries in other fields. That brings its own problem, of course. 25 of our missionaries are now in their late fifties and sixties. That means we are facing the loss of a great number of missionaries by death or retirement in the next 10 years. We must be getting ready for this eventuality.

What I have said about the missionaries is also true of our Japanese ministers. Most of them entered the ministry in the immediate post-war years. Thus we have here also a very large number in the 50-60 age group. A double crisis appears on the horizon.

3. Our missionaries have a remarkable record for living and working together harmoniously. There are reasons for that, of course. One reason is that we are well spread out through the country. In only one instance do two missionary families live on the same piece of property. As a result, when we get together we are glad to see each other. Fellowship and cooperation are not forced.

Our common convictions about the church and the Christian faith, plus our common support of our one convention and one Bible college, also give us a unifying point of view. Otherwise, we have no institutions, programs and officialdom to require our time and allegiance.

4. We have succeeded in attracting a substantial number of our sons and daughters back to Japan. The percentage of MK's (missionary kids) returning to Japan far exceeds that of any other religious group in Japan. Because of the language and culture, missionary children have a head start when they re-enter life here. They also know very well what they are getting into. Thus theirs is a realistic commitment.

5. The single women missionaries have leaned heavily on the men for support and assistance. On the other hand, in the pre-war period they often got the worst of it in their dealings with men missionaries in relation to property, buildings and rights in the work which they themselves had started.

In the long run, however, they have also proved more durable than the men. They have served with dedication. They have produced stalwart sons and daughters in the gospel who are serving in the churches throughout Japan today. I salute them!

6. In summary, I think the missionaries whom I have been writing about can claim a "Well done!" We have not done as much as we wanted. Not as much as we expected. Not as much as we could have done. But over the years a substantial work has taken place.

We have stood on the shoulders of our predecessors to survey the land, its accomplishments, its needs and its possibilities in relation to the Gospel.

May it be that those who follow us, can stand on our shoulders and be able to see the "Promised Land" of a Christian Japan!