Hans Bouwman, Japan - Acknowledgement

 hans bauwman

Hans and Gerda Bouwman


“...that the ABUNDANT GRACE might through the thanks¬giving of many redound to the glory of God” (2 Cor.4:15b).
Realizing that each servant of the Lord could write a book about all the remarkable experiences in the Lord’s work, these pages are written with a great deal of reservation and hesitation. In the final analysis, each life lived for the Lord is unique, and even the smallest service done for Him is special, because it will be valued and marked for eternity. “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shown toward His Name” (Heb.6:10).
As I am privileged to be in various assemblies for missionary reports, ministry and Gospel meetings, I have frequently used illustrations from my life’s experience. It has been repeatedly suggested that I collect these experiences in writing with a view to publication, in the Lord’s will.
My daughter Marion offered her help in doing the editing. However, after finishing the first two chapters, she became seriously ill with cancer, and in 1988 she entered into the presence of the Lord. Some years later I felt led to go ahead with the proposed project and I am very thankful to have found others willing to assist. I am much indebted to them for their willingness to sacrifice of their time and effort.
‘A Missionary’s Testimony’ is presented with the prayer that it may be a blessing and an encouragement for the reader, especially for those who seek to serve the Lord. Looking back over 40 years of missionary service, the only thing which counts is a conviction regarding the call of the Lord. Being assured of the call, we have sought to be faithful in fulfilling our task. In spite of our own weakness, our faithful God has blessed and used us, all because of His abundant grace. “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thess.5:24).

The word ‘assembly’ is repeatedly used in this book. Though the word ‘church’ is commonly used, we prefer the word ‘assembly’, since it is a better expression of the Greek word ecciesia, a called-out-people. In its local aspect, the assembly is a company of Christians gathered together in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, where the Lordship of Christ is recognized.

An autobiography is meant to tell a very personal story. The little book by our brother Hans Bouwman does this very well indeed. It is both interesting and readable but, more importantly, it tells the story of God’s gracious dealings in the growth of a soul.

I have, in different ways, been linked with Hans and his wife Gerda since ever they arrived in Japan at the start of their missionary career. Many of the ups and downs, the joys and the sorrows they have experienced were known to me as they actually happened. On occasions I was asked for advice and help which, I sincerely pray, was of some encouragement to them in the twists and turns they had to follow in their years of service for God.
It seemed rather strange to me that God would bring a young man all the way from his native Holland and, after years of ‘training in God’s school’, just at the time when it seemed he and his wife were at the pinnacle of their usefulness for God in the very needy land of Japan, that He would send them, by way of Canada, back to work in Holland. I told Hans this at the time he first broached the subject to tell me of his exercise. It soon became evident that I was very wrong in my estimate of the situation. God has given Hans and Gerda a work to do in Holland, no doubt, for which the years in Japan have amply prepared them. In spite of the great need here in Japan I would say that they are meeting an even greater need in Holland. Two necessary lessons are emphasised in this. It never does to try and get ‘guidance’ for someone else and, conventional wisdom is not necessarily in keeping with God’s mind for His servants.
Not given to reading biographies very much I approached ‘ABUNDANT GRACE’ with the thought, ‘I can’t spare time for this’. I am glad I did! Now I can heartily recommend the book to all the Lord’s people, especially those who are gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus in assembly capacity. It not only tells a very personal story but it also gives much information about the work of the Lord here in Japan.
May God richly bless the little book and use it to glorify the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tokyo, April 10th 1995