Discipleship legacy begun in WWII Japan continues in 21st century Fort Worth
At 87-years-old, missionary Dub Jackson and his wife have not let off the throttle in their service to the Lord. A former United States Air Force fighter pilot, Jackson has served as a missionary for 20 years in Japan, co-directed the Japan New Life Movement, co-directed the 1967 Billy Graham Tokyo Crusade and served as president of the World Evangelism Foundation—all after accepting the Lord’s call to full-time missions after World War II.
Though they do not travel overseas as often as in the past, the two now give freely of their time and energies to mentor future missionaries.
Nick Bonacci, a Master of Arts student at Southwestern, became acquainted with the Jacksons while living in Abilene, Texas, where they began sharing with him and his wife, Amanda, the principles of mentorship. The Lord eventually led both the Bonaccis and the Jacksons back together at Southwestern where Dub and Doris have been meeting with Nick and Amanda to teach them about winning the lost to the Lord and teaching those they’ve won, to do the same, creating an exponentially effective train of evangelism.
The Bonaccis, who plan to serve as career missionaries in Japan after graduation, have earnestly enacted the principles Jackson taught them in Abilene and at Southwestern.
Beginning a mentorship relationship with a TCU student named Hiro Yamada, who had recently accepted Christ as his savior, Bonacci had the chance to implement the concepts he learned from Jackson, and soon saw the snowballing effect discipleship has on evangelism.
“I began meeting with Hiro first to mentor him and then later with Hideto (Nakadoi) who is a student at TCU,” Bonacci says. “I met with Hideto two semesters ago and spent a few hours speaking with him about the Gospel via a Japanese friend, who agreed to translate for me. Hideto was very interested in the material but not very interested in Christ specifically.”
Yet, Bonacci continued to mentor Hiro, teaching him not only about growing in his own faith, but in sharing his faith with others.
“During my time with Hiro we discussed several spiritual disciplines, including some evangelism training. I had not heard from Hideto since our initial meeting, though I attempted to meet with him on other occasions,” Bonacci says.
“Last semester I was meeting with Hiro, who has become a close friend by this point, and he explained to me that he had met with Hideto for lunch to share the Gospel with him again in Japanese. During their lunch meeting, which I was unfortunately not present for, Hideto came to see his need for Christ and prayed to be forgiven of his sins and made a child of God. ”
Bonacci says Hideto has begun attending Southcliff Baptist Church and meeting with Hiro for discipleship lessons. Hiro has now enrolled at Southwestern and is pursuing a Master of Arts degree.
“It is very exciting to see a Japanese mentoring another Japanese. This really is an ideal method—national believers training other national believers,” Bonacci says. “Hopefully, Hideto will begin discipling a new believer himself, and the chain will not only continue, but it will expand. As mentees begin mentoring others, the number begins to grow exponentially.”
Bonacci says his time learning from Jackson has been invaluable to him and Amanda.
“Dub has seen great success in seeing the Japanese profess faith in Christ over the years, and he is a firm believer that it does not, as many believe, take years of evangelism to win someone to the Lord,” Bonacci says.
Jackson, who has seen more than 300,000 pray to receive Christ during his missionary service in Japan, says Christians should expect nothing less than a feverish response when they obey God and tell of His salvation.
“Christ is not willing that any should perish,” Jackson says. “We have no right to lower the goal.”
Jackson says he and his wife pray that the Lord would place the fire of evangelism in others who will relentlessly and indiscriminatingly tell the world about Christ.
“My prayer is that the Lord will raise someone up,” said Jackson. “I’m hoping that while we’re here at the seminary, there will be people who will say, ‘We believe the Lord can do it.’”
Bonacci says while he wishes there were a course that could contain all the wisdom the Jacksons have shared with him throughout their mentorship relationship, he says he will do his part to continue their pattern and to share with others what the couple has shared with him.
“We may not be able to teach this from a book, but we can certainly set an example for others to follow just as the Jacksons have provided for us,” Bonacci says.