Sermon Illustrations

World War II POW Becomes Missionary to Japan

Mitsuo Fuchida was the pilot in charge of one of the most successful aerial attacks in recorded history. Under his command was a squadron of 360 specially selected pilots, & on Dec. 7, 1941, Fuchida’s squadron bombed Pearl Harbor. He quickly became one of the most highly decorated pilots in the Japanese air force, & the one most hated by the American forces. That included Jacob DeShazer, a young B-25 bomber pilot who longed for the day when he would be able to pay Japan back for what they had done. When the radio announced the sneak demolishing of Pearl Harbor, he hurled a potato at the wall and shouted, "Jap, just wait and see what we’ll do to you!" One day that opportunity arose as DeShazer became a part of the very first Doolittle Raid over Japan. But after dropping his bombs on the city of Nagoya, DeShazer lost his way in the heavy fog & was forced to bail out when his plane ran out of fuel. He was quickly taken prisoner, & for almost two years, DeShazer suffered from hunger, cold, dysentery, & watching his fellow prisoners die. And the more he experienced this treatment the deeper his hatred of the Japanese grew. Then, in 1944, someone gave DeShazer a Bible. He started at Genesis & read on & on, barely sleeping. And by the time he had come to the Book of Romans he had surrendered his heart & life to Jesus as his Savior & his Lord. Immediately Matthew 5:44 became a crucial challenge to him, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you & pray for those who spitefully use you & persecute you.” Because of it DeShazer’s attitude toward his Japanese guards began to change. His hostility evaporated & every morning he greeted them warmly. He prayed for them & sought to witness to them. Slowly their attitude toward him also changed & some of them even began bringing him extra food & supplies. Finally, the war was over & DeShazer was free. Returning home he studied for the ministry & decided to return to Japan as a missionary. After establishing a church in Nagoya, the very city he had bombed, he wrote a pamphlet entitled, “I Was a Prisoner of the Japanese.” It wasn’t long until thousands of Japanese wanted to see & hear the man who could forgive & love his enemies. Meanwhile, Fuchida, the Japanese hero, had come out of the war a very disillusioned man. As he got off the train one day in Tokyo’s Shibuya Station, he saw an American distributing literature. When Fuchida passed him, he was handed a pamphlet entitled “I Was a Prisoner of Japan.” The peaceful motivation he read about was exactly what he was seeking. Since the American had found it in the Bible, Fuchida decided to purchase one himself, despite his traditionally Buddhist heritage. In the ensuing weeks, he read the Bible eagerly. On April 14, 1950, Fuchida asked Jesus Christ to forgive his sins and change him from a bitter, disillusioned ex-pilot into a well-balanced Christian. Fuchida became an evangelist who traveled across Japan and the Orient introducing other to Jesus Christ. Jacob DeShazer and Mitsuo Fuchida were enemies filled with hatred and anger. But they experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ and were forever changed.

From a sermon by Michael Brogen, Hoarders, 1/7/2010

Related Sermon Illustrations

Related Sermons