One Man's Vision for Japan
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One Man's Vision for Japan
A Memoir
Published:
2/11/2013
Format:
Perfect Bound Softcover
Pages:
292
Size:
6x9
ISBN:
978-1-46271-829-0
Print Type:
B/W

“If there were nothing else to record, history will surely serenade Ralph Cox for an unprecedented half century of missionary service in Japan! Cox was an innovator. He was one of the first to see the potential in short term missionaries. He maximized the potential, minimized the hazards of that approach, recruiting dozens of long-term missionaries from his short-term co-workers.”
- Robertson McQuilkin, President Emeritus, Columbia International University
and TEAM colleague of Ralph Cox, 1956 – 1968

“Ralph was an identity maker. His leadership was marked by his concern to be as close to the Word as possible. His leadership was also marked by his concern for each individual. Ralph influenced the church of Japan. It was a great privilege to know Ralph. I’m so thankful for the identity that he left in me, in TEAM and in the church of Japan.”
- Tom Sloan, Former Chairman,  The Evangelical Alliance Mission, Japan Field Mission

“The ministry of Ralph and Stella is so helpful and challenging as it points the way as to what we are to do and what God will do! Stella used her Gospel cooking classes to reach out to ladies. Ralph trained individuals to pastor and plant churches, and to go to other countries as missionaries! Ralph and Stella are a great model of how to accomplish our mission-- don’t miss this one! What a privilege it has been for our church to support them.”
- Frank Barker, Senior Pastor Emeritus, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama

In 1944, World War II was raging fiercely in two theaters: Europe and the Pacific. With a national draft law, a tall, 17-year-old athlete name Ralph E. Cox knew he would be drafted as soon as he finished high school. In Lander, Wyoming, he applied to join the U.S. Navy and ‘see the world,’ as the recruiting poster promised. Failing the eye test was such a disappointment that he returned to the family ranch and started eating pounds of carrots every day. One month later, he passed the test and was accepted. His call to duty began, but most of all he had displayed disciplined passion and determination that was to be his distinctive spirit that would guide him through his entire life. A son leaving home, going to war, facing an unknown future was grievous to Ralph’s parents, Jessie and Blanche Cox. Their hearts were broken. Ralph’s father needed him on the ranch and desired a deferment. Watching her son pack his bags, Ralph’s mother experienced great sorrow. She had to leave the room to hide the tears. She had already lost two children to sickness. Would she have to give this one up also? She was a woman of prayer and she could commit him into the hand of a loving God. A small group of courageous young men convened at the bus station in Lander, Wyoming, bidding their farewells to families and friends. The lingering questions in their parent’s minds were, “When will you return or will you return?” Those embraces were the hardest ones. Ralph’s mother gave him a New Testament. He packed it in his bag never planning to read it. Little did he or his mother know that this journey was the one where his future would be shaped. From boot camp, his entire group was sent to a camp in San Diego, California. He wrote a letter to his parents: “We left Farragut, Idaho, Monday at 2:00 p.m. on a special troop train. There were about 400 men going to different camps in California. There were about 20 cars; one Pullman and one kitchen car. We went through Seattle and on down the coast. At Sacramento, we begin to see grape orchards and it was harvest time. We stopped at one town where there was a truck load of grapes. The entire group rushed over and brought back all they could carry. I bet we took five hundred pounds. I know I ate at least five pounds. I ate so many, I could hardly move.” The trains were very slow, so the men had ample time to get acquainted with one another. During the trip, one zealous young Christian sailor, Walter Trim, walked through each car, sat down by each sailor, and talked to him about his relationship with Jesus Christ. When he sat down by Ralph he asked, “Have you ever been born again?” Ralph was rather stunned by the question and did not know how to reply. He stammered a little and said something like “Well, maybe I have been.” That question stuck in his mind as he watched his friend Walt’s life style once they settled on the base in San Diego. Walt would always bow his head before each meal to thank God for his food. Ralph knew that Walt had something that he did not have and felt convicted of sin in his heart. His letter to his parents on October 19, 1944 explained: “Boy I am really happy and lucky. I am now in the naval base at San Diego. I was sent to yeoman’s school and I was the only one to get in to this school. The yeoman’s school is the best school that the Navy offers. The funny part of it, though, is that I didn’t even sign up for it, or in any way try to get it, but am I ever glad I got it. The school will last for five months, and then we will graduate with a third class petty officer rating. It usually takes two years to get that rating. I think the reason I got into this school was because of my high grades in all the tests and that I could type so fast. Another reason is that my eyes and height disqualified me from most schools. Therefore, they wanted to put me some place where my physical defects wouldn’t bother, and they could also make use of my mental ability. That is about the only thing I could have gotten into that my knee probably could stand. (He injured his knee in the last football game he played in high school). At any rate I am going to get a lot of valuable training that will benefit me after the war.” Only the Lord knew how valuable that training would be and how it was to be used for 55 years in his missionary work. Hitchhiking into Los Angeles, dressed in his Navy uniform Ralph stood in front of The Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles. It was New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1944. He was waiting there to meet a girlfriend for a date. They were going to a New Year’s dance party in a movie star’s home in Hollywood. But God had other plans. While Ralph waited in front of the church, the two elderly women approached him and asked, “Sailor, why don’t you come on in the church where it is warm?” “I think I should wait here,” he said. Then they invited him to go across the street to a coffee shop. We want to buy you a treat.” While he was enjoying coffee and donuts the women talked to him about his need to put his trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior. Ralph thanked the women and walked across the street to the church to see if his date had come. She wasn’t there. He waited ten more minutes before deciding to go into the church where it was warm. He sat on the back row. The women who had witnessed to him went to a prayer room and prayed during the entire service. Gypsy Smith, a famous evangelist from England, was preaching. At the end of the service, he invited anyone who would like to receive Jesus as their Savior to raise their hand. Ralph had listened intently to everything Gypsy Smith said and raised his hand. The Holy Spirit came into his heart and he was born again. Now he knew what Walt had been talking about. He was a new man in Christ. He had made the ultimate choice of his life. The church provided a place for servicemen to stay and he was invited to go home with Dawson Trotman, the founder of the Navigators (Christian para-church organization specializing in discipling believers and training them for outreach with a strong emphasis on Scripture memorization). A Bible was beside Ralph’s bed and he began to read and could not stop. He was discipled by some of the men in the Navigator group and began his Scripture study and Bible memory work. His letter of January 24, 1945 explains: “The Navigators do not have any written membership and is not connected with a church in any way, so they can preach the Bible just as it is, and that is what they do. It is for the development and saving of servicemen and is really a wonderful organization. They are backed but not connected with almost every Protestant church. I think this ought to show you that I am on the right track. I also know that I am because of the way I have been blessed in studying and by the feelings I have inside of me that can’t be expressed. I want to be baptized as soon as I feel the Lord is ready for me to be. Oh, I have so much to tell you, I don’t know where to start, or how to say it all. I have hesitated to tell you about this for some time. Because I was afraid that you would think that I had gotten into some radical so called religion, but here goes. I have definitely been shown what my life’s work is to be, and I am really happy. I told you before but you probably didn’t believe me. I am definitely going to be a minister of the Gospel, the Lord willing. I really love the work, what little I have done of it. I spend all my spare time reading the Bible, because it is the only thing I enjoy doing any more. I used to kind of have to force myself to read the Bible but now I have force myself to stop reading it and do something else. I have even quit dancing, going to movies, and going with the girls.

Stella Cox and her husband, Ralph, have been missionaries to Japan for over fifty years. She is the mother of three children, all ‘made in Japan’. Together, they were a catalyst for influencing fifty individuals into entering full time overseas ministry and have planted over ninety churches. Stella’s delightful cooking class ministry, along with English classes, hospitality, and the use of media is a vital component to her and Ralph’s rapid foundation laying method of church planting. Their ministry reshaped mission work in Japan through utilizing short-term missionaries of all ages as part of their team. These individuals were discipled to become future missionaries, similar to Christ’s and the Apostle Paul’s evangelism teams in the New Testament. Stella’s cooking classes that aired on TV, led to the publication of three cookbooks and her life-story book printed in Japanese. Ralph also published in Japanese and English God Is, God Spoke, God Came, an apologetic approach to reaching those of non-Judeo Christian background. This is currently being used as a textbook both in Japan and the United States. Stella, the “Gospel Butterfly” now in her eighties, following her husband’s death, demonstrates Christ’s love to each person she visits and continues to share the light of Jesus to those in need.



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