THE VILLAGE OF THE BOOK
It was early in 1945. As United States forces pushed deep into Okinawa they came across a village unlike any they had ever seen. Here at Shimabuku they were met and welcomed by two old men who invited the troops in as "fellow Christians."
Correspondent Clarence W. Hall described the hamlet like this: "We'd seen other Okinawan villages, uniformly down at the heels and despairing; by contrast this one shone like a diamond in a dung heap. Everywhere we were greeted by smiles and dignified bows. Proudly the old men showed us their spotless homes, their terraced fields, fertile and neat, their storehouses and granaries, and their prized sugar mill."
Searching for an answer as to why this one village was so different from all the rest. Hall uncovered an incredible story. Some 30 years before, an American missionary on his way to Japan had paused at Ahimabuku and stayed only long enough to make two converts and leave a Japanese translated Bible. These new converts, with only instructions to read the Bible and live by it, began sharing their faith with neighbors. Before long the whole town had accepted Christ and for 30 years had been following the Bible completely.
They had adopted the Ten Commandments as their legal code, the Sermon on the Mount as their guide in social conduct. In their schools they taught the Bible, and in their courts made decisions on what God's Word said.
Hall noted that they managed to create a Christian democracy at its purest. The result was that there were no jails, no bars, no drunkenness, no divorce, and a high level of happiness!
On leaving the town, his jeep driver had said, "So this is what comes out of only a Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to live like Jesus." Then with a glance at a shell hole, Hall recalled the driver murmuring, "Maybe we're using the wrong weapons to make this world over!"
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