THE STORY OF CHARLES AND DIANNE GYURKO
“Do you see this Japanese symbol?” Charles J. Gyurko asked, pointing to a character imprinted on a CFN-Japan Bible School brochure. “This is the Japanese word for righteousness,” he continued. “The character has two parts. The top part means “lamb,” the bottom part means “me,” and “lamb over me” refers to Christ — the Lamb of God. Isn’t that amazing? An ancient symbol shows that God revealed Himself to Asians, in their own written language, 4,000 years ago!”
Charles and Dianne Gyurko, 1983 CFNI graduates and founders of CFN-Japan Bible School (CFN-J), enjoy testifying of God’s love for the Asian people. The story of their journey to Japan’s metropolitan city of Sapporo, on the beautiful northern island of Hokkaido, demonstrates that God is still longing to reveal Himself to the Japanese.
“I am a former Catholic priest who spent 12 years as a missionary in Japan,” says Charles. Saved at the age of 12, Charles felt the call of God on his life to be a missionary. After graduating from high school, he entered a missionary society and became a priest, assigned to ministry in Japan in 1961. Recalls Charles, “I had heard the Great Commission of Jesus to ‘Go’ … but I did not hear His command to ‘Wait, until you receive power from on high.’ So I went to the mission field with good intentions, but with no Holy Spirit power or direction!” Charles says that during his 12 years as a missionary priest, he knew “something was not working right.” There seemed to be an abundance of discouragement and little fruit.
In his search for a deeper walk with God, Charles left the priesthood and returned to America. He fellowshipped regularly with a group of Spirit-filled believers, while working as a high school teacher and adult probation officer in Phoenix, Arizona. His passion for God was further ignited at a conference sponsored by the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association. “It was there I first experienced the beauty of worshiping with uplifted hands and heart,” says Charles. “Tears flowed, and I found intimacy with Jesus brought about by the baptism in the Holy Spirit.” He drove home that evening with an intense yearning to read the Bible: “That was the beginning of a new life.”
By this time, marriage was on the mind of this 45-year-old bachelor. “I asked three pastors from a local church to pray that the Lord would send me a godly wife … and one week later I met Dianne Arthur and her children at church!” says Charles happily. They wed one year later, decided to attend CFNI, and found there was still a missionary calling on Charles’ life.
After graduating from CFNI, the Gyurkos sought direction. “The Lord spoke to us through Scriptures containing the words: north, sea and way,” Dianne recalls. “Charles, who understands ‘Kanji’ — the Japanese system of writing characters — recognized immediately that the English translation of the Kanji characters for the island of Hokkaido reads ‘north sea way.’ It was like receiving a road map to the exact destination God had chosen for us!” The Gyurkos then opened the first CFN-affiliated Bible School in Sapporo, the capital city of almost two million Japanese in Hokkaido.
Since its establishment in 1985, CFN-Japan (formerly Christ For Asia) has been part of a great move of God to combat the forces of darkness. “We believe God has miraculously used the CFN-J Bible School to fuel the fires of revival in the nation of Japan — through marches for Jesus, praise and worship concerts, seminars on the Holy Spirit, and full Gospel teaching,” says Dianne. During their combined 32-year ministry in the land of the rising sun, the Gyurkos have seen the number of Christian believers increase steadily — not decrease!During the early years of ministry in Hokkaido, while Dianne was praying at a secluded beach area, she had a vision of Jesus, which deeply impacted the Gyurko’s ministry in Japan. “I had a special impression of the presence of the Lord Jesus,” Dianne says. “I could see His form, and He was holding a large fishing net in His hands. His face looked sad … as if He were ready to weep. Jesus’ words to me were: ‘I want to fish, but the nets are broken.’”
Charles and Dianne clearly recognized that the Lord desired a great harvest of souls in Japan, but first He needed churches and Christian leaders to become united — the nets of Christian relationships required mending. “The Church was splintered,” Charles recalls. “There had been little bonding, or loving fellowship among the general body of believers in Hokkaido, or Japan at large.” The Gyurkos recognized that bringing unity among the believers should be a matter of priority, and prayed the Holy Spirit would use the Bible School for that purpose. CFN-J began reaching out to the community by holding seminars, worship conferences, and evangelistic crusades.
“The greatest miracle to us now, is to see how the Lord has continued to use the Bible School to become a focal point for Japanese and international Spirit-filled believers and pastors, to meet and fellowship with one another,” says Dianne. “It’s wonderful to see them loving and blessing one another in the power of the Holy Spirit — praising God together!” CFN-J’s influence is also being felt throughout Japan and extends far beyond Hokkaido’s island shores — through student evangelistic outreaches to Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Russia, the Philippines, and other nations.
In 2001 CFN-Japan Bible School — guided by the Christ For Asia Evangelistic Fellowship (CFAEF), a Board of four local pastors presided over by Charles Gyurko — appointed former student and long-time staff member, Toshifumi Kajikawa, as director of CFN-J Bible School.
There is revival within the Church, and God is preparing the nation for a harvest of souls! When the fragile scaffolding of Buddhism, Shintoism and materialism crumbles at the touch and timing of the Holy Spirit, many Japanese will run to a unified Church — prepared to receive them into the arms of Jesus.”
Used by permission, Deborah Anne Perez, Christ for the Nations magazine, 2001.