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 hearts and bring souls to Christ.
Yukio Fujitake and his wife, Junko, of Ube, Yamaguchi, Japan, were Buddhists until they 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 branch president, a member of the high council, and 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 a rather unusual approach, the Fujitakes were instrumental in twenty baptisms and the reactivation of twenty less-active members. They gained entrance to people’s homes by offering to sharpen the family’s kitchen knives for free. Once he sharpened their knives and made friends with them, 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 would be transferred, Brother Fujitake would repair or improve their apartment, mending broken doors or windows or installing shelves, counters, or clothes hangers. At the same time, 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. They were so successful that leaders of all the stakes in the mission desired that the Fujitakes labor in their areas.
Now home from their full-time mission, Brother Fujitake serves as president of the Okayama Yamaguchi District mission, and Sister Fujitake is the district Relief Society president.