, retired minister in Japan
Masaru Kawagoe, a retired Seventh-day Adventist minister, dropped by my house a few weeks ago in Imabari, a port of about 170,000 people in southern Japan.
My first surprise came when I learned that this 71-year-old pastor was driving around Japan in a tiny car as he produced recordings for the local branch of Adventist World Radio. My second surprise was that he was studying, working, eating, and even sleeping in this cardboard box-sized vehicle.
Kawagoe set out from his house in Japan’s capital, Tokyo, for the 46-day tour on June 29. He started in the northern part of Japan, using a ferry to cross the sea from Honshu Island to Hokkaido Island, and continuing to drive to northernmost part of Hokkaido, Soya Cape. Then he began the return trip back south.
To welcome the Sabbath, he dropped in at the nearest Seventh-day Adventist churches. He preached at the Sapporo, Aomori Minami, Akita and Kyoto Churches before visiting me. Afterward he drove to Honshu Island and Kyushu Island and preached at Yaizu, arriving back in Tokyo in mid-August.
I was astonished to learn that his car was able to handle this all-Japan tour. It seemed to be too small.
When I looked inside the car, I saw that Kawagoe had carefully refurbished it for his every need. All the necessary equipment for recording was packed in a box beside the driver seat. In the back seat was a small table that he had made to sit at for studying, working, and eating. A small bed was set up on the other side of the back seat.
The arrangements in the car meant that Kawagoe didn’t need to eat at restaurants or lodge at hotels. Since Kawagoe was making the trip as an unpaid volunteer, he was trying his best to save money.
Kawagoe kept a tight daily schedule. He stopped to rest and eat in parking lots. During those stops, he washed his clothes and hung them to dry inside the car. He also wrote daily articles about his findings, experiences, and interviews with pastors and others. Then he recorded himself reading the articles using a portable microphone. Finally, he uploaded photos and the recorded files to Adventist World Radio Japan through the Internet.
To me, doing all this seemed like a tough assignment for an elderly man, but Kawagoe is used to hard work after 44 years of pastoral ministry.
Five years ago, Pastor Kawagoe took an all-Japan bike tour to make recordings for Adventist World Radio. The trip took 73 days, and he produced a series of 57 recordings for the radio station. Last year, he took a 35-day bike tour in eastern Japan.
Kawagoe is familiar with doing such tours, and he clearly finds them rewarding as he shares his love for Jesus.
See and listen to Pastor Kawagoe’s reports from his “All-Japan AWR Recording Tour” on the following websites (both in Japanese):
A version of this article appeared on the website of the Adventist Church’s Northern-Asia Pacific Division.