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David Kuba

Missions in Japan
"Having given his best to the Master "
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, 2015

For 33 years, David and Edna Kuba followed the call from Acts 26:18 (NIV): “To open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light…so that they may receive forgiveness of sins.”

Born in Mountain View, California, David was raised by his Buddhist uncle until age 17. David became frustrated with the futileness he saw in Buddhist teachings. When he was 20 years old, a friend invited him to attend a camp meeting in Los Angeles. He accepted Jesus as Savior, finally finding the peace he’d been seeking. The next year, he felt God calling him to serve as a missionary to Japan.

David first attended a junior college in Los Angeles and later graduated from Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary (Kentucky). After meeting Edna, the two were married and briefly pastored a Japanese Free Methodist congregation in California. Having been raised Buddhist in Hawaii, Edna also felt called to minister to Buddhists in Japan.

In 1952, David and Edna, together with their daughter, Keiko, were appointed by the National Holiness Missionary Society, now World Gospel Mission, as the first missionaries to Japan. A son, Jonathan, was born in 1956. The Kubas primarily served at Immanuel Bible Training College in Yokohama. In a Call to Prayer article early in his ministry, David described what he saw IBTC graduates accomplish. “IBTC is producing hardy workers and sending them to new fields in this land. Our hearts go out to them as we see them giving themselves in such trying places.”

David was deeply concerned about the struggles some IBTC students experienced, particularly pressure from their families to have successful careers. David wrote that God’s promises and encouragement, along with continual prayer, acted as aids help the students persevere. “Their very presence at the Bible school attests to their having given their best to the Master whom they love so dearly,” he wrote.

As well as serving at IBTC, David held Bible classes at Rikkyo University in Tokyo for more than 30 years and regularly ministered to church congregations. He also served as the field statistician and maintained WGM’s missions building. In 1960, the Kubas established the WGM Student Center where university students could gather for Bible studies. The center was later renamed the Kuba Student Center in honor of the Kubas’ service and continues to reach out to university students today.

David and Edna retired in 1985, after 33 years of service with WGM in Japan. Edna passed away on February 24, 1998. World Gospel Mission joins with David’s friends and family in celebrating his lifetime of faithful service. We rejoice that he is with his Lord and Savior today. Matthew 25:23 testifies to his life: “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

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