Part 2 Japan
by Laura Harstad
Kingdom Workers
Part 1 Japan
Part 3 Japan

Pastor Mitsuo Haga – far right

This is part two of a three-part series about our brothers and sisters in Japan. We are following the personal story of Pastor Haga who serves Grace Lutheran Evangelical Christian Church in Mito, Japan. Hear how God has miraculously worked faith in the hearts of his family members. 

Pastor Haga’s family was not Christian. His Father was Buddhist and wasn’t interested in hearing about God’s salvation. He was confident he could do everything himself and didn’t feel like he needed saving. Then one day, his father fell due to problems with blood pressure, and his entire body became paralyzed. He couldn’t even speak. His father, who used to think he didn’t need any help, was now completely helpless.

 Haga would visit him frequently and read his sermons and Bible lessons. The walls around his heart began to crumble. One day as Haga was witnessing to his father, tears started to fall down his father’s face. Haga prays that those tears were a sign that his father finally knew he needed Jesus. He hopes that he will see him in heaven.

 Pastor Haga’s grandmother was also an unbeliever. His aunt witnessed often to his grandmother, and it was very difficult because she would continuously reject the saving gospel message. Haga’s grandmother was nearing the end of her life when Pastor Habben visited her. She was afraid of punishment because her religion just taught her laws and work righteousness. She said, “My sins should not be forgiven because I rejected such a wonderful Savior for 87 years." Pastor said, "Jesus said it's not your sin, but Jesus carried it as His sin!" Finally, Haga’s grandmother said, “I want to go to heaven and be baptized by my grandson!” 

 What a joyful moment! Haga remembers that before the baptism, she was afraid and crying because of her sins, and after she was baptized, she was smiling more than she ever had in her life! After his grandmother was baptized, a church member called her and said that even though they might never meet in this life, they would meet in heaven. One church member even came and sang hymns to her.

 Before Haga’s grandmother passed away, he said to her, “Remember what you said when I wanted to be a pastor? You said – don’t do it.” She replied, “Now, I am proud of you. There are so many people in Japan who don’t know Jesus. Go to these people and share what you shared with me.”

 Haga’s grandmother was baptized 10 days before her death and was his first baptism as a pastor. Haga said seeing his grandmother come to faith was a miracle. God showed him that nothing is impossible. He treasures a short prayer that his grandmother wrote to Jesus before she died, “I love you. Thank you.”

 Haga is now married and has two sons. His family is actively involved in the church. His mother sometimes comes to Bible class and church. She has read the Bible for many years, but hasn’t yet come to faith. Please pray that God continues to work in heart that she may know the joy of salvation!

 Stay tuned for the conclusion of this three-part series and learn about the current mission field in Japan and the outreach activities of Pastor Haga’s congregation.