When I was still a small boy, my diminutive mother said, “I think Kenny when he grows up will travel a lot!”
Little did she know!
Born and raised in small-town Saskatchewan, at 22 after College I left for the mysterious city of Tokyo, and spent 50 years living among the Japanese people. It was soon after the disastrous Pacific War, and Japan had been brought to its knees -- at a terrible price. My bride, Olive, and I been married less than a year and were still on an extended “honeymoon”! We disembarked from a battered freighter after a turbulent Pacific crossing, and what first met our eyes was the desolation of Yokohama, especially huge stretches of bombed-out munitions factories -- blackened chimneys standing stark and foreboding while people huddled in cardboard shacks at their base.
The country was without hope! The economy was in ruins, the food supply was near starvation level. Even the gods, it seemed, had abandoned the Japanese. The exalted “Emperor-god” had renounced his claim to deity.
Stepping on to solid ground after 15 days of typhoon-induced storms, we faced together this incredible challenge. What could we say in the face of such desperation and hopelessness?
“Look up!” I cried, as folks gathered around to hear what this gangly Canadian had to say.. “There is still hope! There is a Great God up there who lives and loves and gives a new outlook on things.”
“Look up!” And for fifty years I held forth the story of hope and new life, using every method I could, especially the printed page.
I watched as the Japanese pulled themselves together and, of all things, began making little Sony radios and selling them abroad. With a generous hand from an American occupation, soon their business boomed. Television sets followed. And cars -- lots of them -- small and inexpensive and attractive to the eye.
How did I respond? I gathered together a rag-tag handful of Japanese men, set up a little printing press, and rode into the burgeoning economy on a shoe-string publishing enterprise, all to deliver this unique message of hope to people. Some rallied around, and soon there were 40, then 100, finally 200 forming an enthusiastic staff with a unique purpose -- introducing the Word of Life to a nation without hope. We published hundred of book titles and a monthly magazine. Even set up a network of bookstores, to reach out to the most reading nation of the world!
At the front end of a string of inspiring stories and hope-filled messages we told over and over was a revolutionary story for Japan. “Not only is the God up there actually alive! He made everything we see -- the grass, the trees, even the sun and our actual bodies! He made all of these as gifts of love and deep concern for us. And He speaks to us, if we will listen!”.
And so began the story of this book! First, fifty years of telling the story in Japan. Then, after retirement, fifteen years of telling it in China, from North to South. We were constantly honing the story as we went along, checking it from every angle, first from the Old Book, then, for ten year after the advent of Internet, with the new media and its wealth of up-to-date information.
What you’re about to read is the result!