Executive director of the David Cho Evangelistic Mission team, Shigaki Shigemasa, shares his testimony with CHC’s Japanese Fellowship.
By Yong Yung Shin
It was the power of a prayer that led Japanese businessman Shigaki Shigemasa to enter full-time ministry.
Sharing his testimony at City Harvest Church’s Japanese Fellowship meeting on Jan. 16 at the church’s Suntec office, Shigemasa, who travels with Yoido Full Gospel Church’s founder Rev. Dr. David Yonggi Cho on his global missions as his interpreter, counts himself blessed to have been born into a Catholic household; less than one percent of Japan’s population of 130 million are Christians.
Growing up with strict parents, Shigemasa went to church every week, but in the third year of high school, studies, basketball and girls became his priorities, and he stopped going to church. But God was not done with him.
When he enrolled into a university in South Korea, he met his future wife, a young Korean girl who also happened to be a member of Yoido Full Gospel Church. They returned to Japan as newlyweds and his wife, a Protestant, started attending Full Gospel Church in Tokyo, a branch church of YFGC.
After repeatedly resisting his wife’s invitations to attend church with her and their two young daughters, he eventually gave in and followed her after realizing that she needed help to carry the children.
A month later, he relocated to Osaka for work, where the family attended “church service” via live streaming of Cho’s television program because there was no physical church in the area. It happened that just a month later, Cho sent a pastor from Seoul to start a church in Osaka.
“Even though I was still a reluctant churchgoer, I now understand in hindsight that it was the Holy Spirit working in me, compelling me to keep attending church,” shared Shigemasa.
As destiny would have it, he was asked to be the pastor’s interpreter. At the new church’s first ever prayer meeting, there were a grand total of three attendants—him, the pastor and one member. Reluctant to open up to new, unfamiliar acquaintances, he simply blurted out that he wanted to join Cho on his mission trips around the world when prompted to share his prayer request.
Two months later, Cho made a trip to Osaka; being the only one who owned a car, Shigemasa became his driver for the duration of his trip there. That was 30 years ago. Besides being the executive director of the David Cho Evangelistic Mission team, he is also an elder at the Full Gospel Church in Tokyo today.
With an average congregation size of 30 per local church, the most important lessons Shigemasa learned from the man himself are none other than the principles of the Fourth Dimension—thinking positive, dreaming God-centered dreams, boldly confessing and visualizing the promises of God.
“Thirty-five years ago, Dr. Cho had boldly proclaimed that 10 million souls will be won for Christ; needless to say, not many people took him seriously at that time. That unbelief is slowing fading into a growing conviction among the nation’s Christian leaders, but one of the key factors to the achievement of this vision is in raising more pastors,” says Shigemasa, who himself prays through 50 prayer items every day.
The meeting ended with a time of prayer for members to be effective ministers in the marketplace.