W E D N E S D A Y , D E C E M B E R 7 , 2 0 0 5
• • • I N F O R M A T I O N • • •
Two under Seventy Optimists gathered on the coldest Wednesday
morning of the season. Guests Tommy Henderson, Everett
Nifong, and Joe Wihebrink were introduced. Door greeters for the
meeting , Keith Gorman and Craig Nayrocker, discharged their
duties. The opening prayer was offered by Bill Lawrence.
One “Birthdayee” for the week is George Brennan. Song Leader
Phil Eherenman assisted in getting us in the Christmas mood by
directing “O, Come All Ye Faithful” and then asked us to whistle the
Past President Bob Jackson reminded the Optimists of the
Optimist/Kosciusko County Cancer Care Fund tourney which is
booked for Friday and Saturday, December 9 and 10.
Immediate Past President Ron Donkers stated that 233 trees
have been sold with 168 remaining. Income has reached $5732.
President Mary Ellen Jordan announced the meeting of the Board
for Monday, December 12 at the Jackson place, beginning at 7:00
Andrew O’Connell provided opportunity for Optimists to indicate
from the list of 103 kids at the Boys and Girls Club, who will have no
Christmas without the Club’s assistance. Names may be selected
or $20 given. The kids have picked the gift they would like to receive.
Past Distinguished President James Nesbitt offered 2006 calendars
for sale at $5. This is the only major fund-raiser which the
Winona Lake French Optimist Club holds each year. He will have a
supply with him next Wednesday as well.
Please keep Joe Wilkey in your prayers as he is traveling to
Cambodia. He will attempt to take soil samples to see if the soil is
suitable for making blocks for building purposes.
Please pray for our Troops and Families:
Brad Andrews (Border Patrol)
Raul Jimenez (Marines)
Bill Lovelac (Marines-Recon Training)
Dan McNulty (Marines Recon)
Matt Miles (Marines-MP)
Jonathan Penn (Army-tank Btl. expects to be deployed
to Iraq in early January).
Sgts. at Arms Jeff Owens, Jason Rich, and Sam Whitaker returned
with a vengeance and collected numerous fines.
December 14 – Larry Peppel – American Red Cross
December 21 – Phil Eherenman – Optimist Singers
• • • I N S T R U C T I O N • • •
Past Distinguished President Jim Nesbitt, narrating, and Andrew
O’Connell, operating the power-point, provided a delightful presentation
of a review of programs, activities and inductions of new members
of the Warsaw Breakfast Optimist Club.
• • • I N S P I R A T I O N • • •
“Sixty-four years ago today, the Lord set in motion what will become one of the
greatest examples of His grace to come out of World War II.
When Captain Mitsuo Fuchida led the Japanese air force of 359 planes which
attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Lord began to orchestrate the
events which would reach the conclusion in postwar Japan.
One of the bombardiers in Jimmy H. Doolittle’s April 14, 1942 raid on several
Japanese cities was Jacob DeShazer. He became a POW of the Japanese and
suffered innumerable kinds of tortures and deprivations, including solitary confinement
for thirty-four months.
Begging his captors for a Bible, he eventually received one in May, 1944 and
was told he could have it for only three weeks He finally came to the prophets
and “found that their every writing seemed focused on a divine Redeemer from
sin. One who was to be sent from Heaven to be born in the form of a human
babe. Their writings so fascinated me that I read them again and again until I
had earnestly studied them through six times.
“My heart rejoiced as I found confirmed in Acts 10:43, ‘To Him give all the
prophets witness, that through His Name, whoever believeth on Him shall receive
remission of sins.’”
On June 8, 1944 Jacob DeShazer placed his faith in Jesus Christ. As a result,
“suddenly I discovered that God had given me new spiritual eyes, and that, when
I looked at the enemy officers and guards who had starved and beaten me and
my compassions so cruelly, I found my bitter hatred for them changing to loving
pity.” This led DeShazer to pray asking God to forgive his torturers and to show
love towards them. One guard who had tortured him looked at him in disbelief
one morning when DeShazer greeting him with “good morning.” DeShazer was
released on August 20, 1948 when American paratroopers rescued him and his
Returning home, with a deep love for the Japanese and their need to hear the
Gospel he received training as a Free Methodist missionary and went back to
Japan in 1948. He wrote a pamphlet, “I Was a Prisoner of Japan,” which became
an effective approach to the Japanese. One person who received DeShazer’s
testimony was Mitsuo Fuchida, who described DeShazer’s story as “something
I could not explain. Neither could I forget it. The peaceful motivation I had read
about was exactly what I was seeking. Since the American had found it in the
Bible, I decided to purchase one myself, despite my traditionally Buddhist heritage.
“In the ensuing weeks, I read this book eagerly. I came to the climatic drama—
the crucifixion. I read Luke 23:34 the prayer of Jesus Christ at his death: ‘Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ I was impressed that I was certainly
one of those for whom he had prayer. The many men I had killed had been
slaughtered in the name of patriotism, for I did not understand the love which
Christ wishes to implant within every heart.
“Right at that moment, I seemed to meet Jesus for the first time I understood
the meaning of His death as a substitute for my wickedness, and so in prayer, I
requested Him to forgive my sins and change me from a bitter, disillusioned expilot
into a well-balanced Christian with purpose in living.” On April 14, 1950 (the
eighth anniversary of Doolittle’s raid), Fuchida committed his life to Christ. “On
that day, I became a new person.”
Fuchida came to America under the auspices of Elmer Sachs, who attempted
to use boys’ interest in flying to reach them for Christ. Sachs contacted Fuchida
to see if he would do the same in Japan. Fuchida was excited to do so. While
in America, Fuchida visited our community and spoke in chapel at Grace
Theological Seminary. I was in the student body and will not forget his opening
statement, “Eleven years ago I came to this country with bombs; today I came
with the Bible,” as he held it high in his hand. What incredible grace!
We had the opportunity to meet Mitsuo Fuchida
Note: Further information can be gleaned from “God’s Samurai, Lead Pilot
of Pearl Harbor” by Gordon W. Pranga