On this day in 2008, Jacob DeSahzer, a staff sergeant and missionary, died.

In his early years as a staff sergeant, DeShazer had an animosity towards the Japanese after hearing about the attack on Pearl Harbor.  He was chosen to be a part of a special team formed to attack mainland Japan. Part of their mission was to bomb Japan and parachute into China, as their jets ran out of fuel. After parachuting out of the jet, DeShazer became injured upon landing in China. The next day, he and others of his special team were captured by the Japanese.

While in prison, DeShazer persuaded one of the guards to loan him a copy of the Bible.  Although he only had the Bible in his possession for a few weeks, he read it constantly and saw the message of the gospel as his reason for having survived.  He trusted Christ and decided to become a missionary, starting in the prison where he was. He began to learn some Japanese from the Japanese people there and started to treat his captors with respect, which resulted in them doing the same to him.

Upon his release, DeShazer attended a Christian college and studied to be a missionary. He later returned to Japan as a missionary with his wife in 1948.

In Japan the second time, he met Japanese Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The two men became close friends. Fuchia trusted Christ in 1950 as a result of DeShazer’s life and testimony of the gospel. The two men would often preached together all across Japan. In 1959, DeShazer moved to Nagoya to plant a church in the city that he had bombed.

What an absolutely incredible story of the change that the gospel can make in the life of an individual. A man whose mission was to kill and destroy the people of Japan fell in love with God and was changed by the gospel. He took on a new mission, to save the lives of those he once attempted to kill. Have we been so changed by the gospel? Do we love the people of the world that God died for? Let us allow the gospel change us into people who love boundlessly, like our God who did so for us.


Jacob DeSahzer

*Entry written and submitted by Edward de los Reyes

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