Stories: Fukuoka History- Paul C Andrus
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|Looking through your site, I read the articles about
Pres Andrus and he said he did not have a journal entry when Fukuoka was officially reopened. (Dec. '55)
I am sure Elder Austin has that exact date in his
journal. Pres Andrus said he did not know why the
branch was closed. I only know what President
Robertson told me when he sent me there.
Pres. Robertson called me into his mission office and
charged me. He said he wanted to reopen the branch in
Fukuoka, and he wanted me to do it and I could choose
any companion I wanted in the mission as my companion
to do it. I chose Elder Richard Austin and we went
down before the end of the year (Dec. '55). Our first
task was to find a place to live and a place to hold
church...and buy a tansu. Pres Andrus mentioned that
he visited Fukuoka in Jan of 56, so I figure my date
of '55 is correct.
I was told that the Elders had been very unsuccessful
and couldn't find a place to meet or live, etc., etc.
Pres. Robertson said something to the effect that he
was putting the church back into Fukuoka and we were
going to stay for good this time.
In my opinion the sad truth of the matter is that the
Elders had not worked as hard as they should have. Fukuoka was the
greatest field of labor I had ever had the pleasure of
After we found a place to live and had rented a place
to hold church we printed tracks (Eigo Kai, etc.),
Elder Austin and I went tracting. That morning we set
up no less than 8 cottage meetings which were all
taught later. We often had cottage meetings scheduled
all day; from 9 am to 9pm. When a cottage meeting
would fall through we had a rule: If Satan interferes
so we couldn't talk to one person or family, we would
jump on our bikes and go down to the eki and hold a
street meeting and talk to 1000 people. And that
philosophy worked pretty well. On Sunday we'd see
people coming down the street with a tract in their
hands looking for the kyoiku kaikan, where we met. Fukuoka needed MORE missionaries, because we couldn't handle all the people who wanted to meet with us.
A few months later when Pres Andrus came to visit us
(because we were begging for Sister missionaries to
hold Primary, Jr. SS and relief society). Truly the
Lord would go before us to prepare the way. One
morning as Elder Austin and I were tracting we heard a
lovely woman's soprano voice greet us as we approached
the genkan. I said "Elder, here will be our branch
chorister" Believe it or not her name was Tory and
she sang like a bird. She became our branch chorister.
We had over 80 investigators show up to hear Pres.
Andrus when he came. He gave a most powerful, inspiring talk.
The spirit was so powerful that everyone was astounded. Everyone who came that day knew the gospel was true when they heard him speak.
God bless you for your diligence and efforts over the
years in building this web site which can be of such
value to so many. I am sorry your efforts have not
always been greeted in a friendly manner. I can not
understand either how anyone could have the sacred
experiences we had in Japan and then forget them.
You asked if you could post this story. You
can do anything you desire with any email I send you,
I would love to be included in any correspondence from
your web site.
Thank you for your service.
President Andrus responded with the following:
Dear Jim and Lillie:
What a great pleasure it is to be back in touch with you Jim after all these years!
Wayne Summers kindly forwarded me a copy of your recent email which I enjoyed immensely and which I especially appreciate for the light you shed on the reopening of the Fukuoka Branch in 1955 by President Robertson.
Over the years I had come to erroneously think that I had reopened Fukuoka and that I had assigned you and Elder Richard Austin to reopen the work there but I could find nothing in my journal to that effect. Now I know why. It is because President Robertson had already reopened Fukuoka and assigned you and Elder Austin to reopen the branch before I arrived back in Japan. I stand corrected and I am indebted to you for sending this information.
The information you sent to Wayne Summers should by all means be posted on the Northern Far East Mission website. Also it would be great if Richard Austin would write up his own article regarding the Fukuoka Branch and send it to Wayne Summers to be posted on our website. In the meantime I have corrected my statement in my article Memories of Fukuoka and I am sending a copy pasted below of the corrected paragraph so that Wayne Summers can make this correction on our website.
One of my most vivid memories of visiting you and Elder Austin in Fukuoka is of sleeping on the tatami floor in the same room and of the gigantic bowl (wash basin) of wheat we had for breakfast!
Frances and I are now both in our eighties and we are experiencing our share of the infirmities of old age, but we nevertheless are up and around and are in reasonably good health. We trust you are well and we hope you will tell us of your travels and adventures over the 48 years that have flown by.
Aloha, Paul Andrus.
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