Adventist Logo Adventist Logo Adventist Logo

Adventist Mission

Kimiyoshi Kurihara, 39

Jesus Catches Fisherman

I told the man, “I’m sorry. I do not have a cigarette to give you, but I do have this.”

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Aug. 11. 

By Kurihara Kimiyoshi

Ask a man to present this first-person report.

My heart filled with joy as I saw Sadayuki [pronounced: sada-YUKI], a 48-year-old fisherman, get baptized on the remote Japanese island of Tsushima [pronounced: tsu-shim-a].

After working as a fisherman since he was 15, he had just been caught by Jesus.

I first met Sadayuki when he asked me for a cigarette in a supermarket parking lot. My wife and I live with our two young daughters on Tsushima, an island of 30,000 people located partway between Japan and South Korea. We are Global Mission pioneers—lay people who volunteer at least a year to establish a congregation in an unentered area within their own culture. We were the only Seventh-day Adventists on the island when we arrived seven years ago.

Sadayuki tapped on my car window, startling my two young daughters and me.

“Could you give me a cigarette?” he asked.

I immediately replied, “I’m sorry. I do not have any cigarettes.”

That is how I usually respond to such requests. But the stranger looked so sad and hopeless. As he walked away, I told my daughters that we should pray for him. After praying, I thought, “What if I gave the man an Adventist tract?” But I didn’t have any tracts left in the car after passing out a pile two days earlier. So, I prayed again for God to do something.

When I opened my eyes, I saw a lone tract lying on the car floor. It was tattered after having been stomped on by my little daughter’s feet. But the words were legible, and I had nothing else to share. I grabbed my two daughters’ hands, and we ran after the man.

When caught up with the man, a Bible verse popped into my mind. It was the words of the apostle Peter, when he told a beggar, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you” (Acts 3:6, NKJV).

I told the man, “I’m sorry. I do not have a cigarette to give you, but I do have this.”

I wondered whether the man would accept that tattered tract. He took it without hesitation and read it as I stood there. Then he thanked me profusely. “To tell you the truth,” he said, “I was just preparing to visit a nearby church to ask what hope is left in life. But you came to me before I could go there.”

When I heard this, I was shocked. It was as if our meeting had been divinely arranged. I invited the man to study the Bible with me every day and asked whether he needed something to eat. We could give him food every day, too. The man introduced himself and happily agreed to come to my home for Bible studies.

Sadayuki showed up the next day, and we studied together for three months. I learned that Sadayuki had struggled with depression and alcoholism. He had tried to commit suicide twice by overdosing on pills, but doctors had saved his life miraculously both times. I told him that God would never allow him to die without first knowing Jesus’ love.

Sadayuki was baptized in 2015—becoming the second of three people who have accepted Jesus through baptism since my family moved to this island. He doesn’t drink anymore, and he dreams about opening an Alcoholics Anonymous program to help other people suffering from alcoholism.

Some days, my wife and I are tempted to feel discouraged about the great difficulties we face in sharing the gospel among a population that follows Buddhist and Shinto traditions. But Sadayuki and his smiling face remind us that God’s ways are not our ways and He can direct us to people who are seeking truth.

Kimiyoshi, known to friends as “Kimi,” is among more than 2,500 Global Mission pioneers who have established more than 11,000 new Seventh-day Adventist congregations since 1990. Kimi never planned to be a Global Mission pioneer. He has a pilot’s license and wanted to be a flying missionary, but God had other plans. Still, he plays with airplanes. Watch Kimi play with a paper airplane in his classroom at the link: Read two more stories about Kimi in this quarter’s Children’s Mission quarterly, which can be downloaded at:

Download high-resolution photos and more for this story from the ADAMS photo bank

For medium-resolution photos for this and other mission stories, visit the Facebook page for Mission quarterlies. New photos for the weekly story are posted the Sunday before they are to be presented in Sabbath School.

Download high-resolution photos of Thirteenth Sabbath projects for this quarter — and from the last time this division was featured for Thirteenth Sabbath Offering