“Yukio and Junko Fujitake: Their Sharp Door Approach,” Ensign, Aug. 1990, 68
When you think of missionary tools, you may not think of knitting needles, knife-sharpening equipment, or extensive knowledge of Buddhism. For Yukio and Junko Fujitake, however, these are the very tools they use to touch Japanese hearts and bring souls to Christ.
Formerly Buddhists, Yukio Fujitake and his wife, Junko, of Ube, Yamaguchi, Japan, were baptized into the Church in 1973. Since that time, they have served in the Ube Branch and have helped it grow. Brother Fujitake has served there as a branch president, a high councilor, and a counselor in the stake mission presidency. Sister Fujitake has served as Relief Society president, Primary president, and Young Single Adult program chairman.
In July 1987, Brother Fujitake closed his business, and he and Junko entered the Japan Tokyo South Mission, becoming the only native-Japanese couple serving in Japan.
Using their rather unusual approach, the Fujitakes were instrumental in twenty baptisms and the reactivation of twenty other less-active members.
They gained entrance to people’s homes by offering to sharpen the family’s kitchen knives for free. Once he had sharpened their knives and made friends with the family, Brother Fujitake would return to re-sharpen knives or make toys for the children, and Sister Fujitake would knit sweaters for members of the family. As the Fujitakes worked in the homes, they would introduce the gospel to the families.
With this combination of friendship and service, many people have been touched by the Spirit and have learned about the Church. Wherever they were transferred, Elder Fujitake would repair or improve their apartment, mending broken doors or windows or installing shelves, counters, or clothes hangers. Sister Fujitake would provide some kind of service, such as making caramel candies and packaging them cleverly.
Buddhism is the dominant religion in Japan, and because Yukio and Junko knew it well, they were able to understand the people they taught. The Fujitakes also shared their insights and their teaching skills with missionaries in their mission, and were so successful that leaders of all the stakes in the mission desired that they labor in their areas.
Now that they have returned home, they hope to prepare themselves to serve wherever and however the Lord needs them.