By All Means…Sue Nishikawa helped her family. She started working at age 13 or 14 to help support her family of nine. Her parents were Japanese immigrants and Itsuko “Sue” Saito was the second oldest child of seven.
By All Means…Sue believed in getting an education. After graduation from high school, she attended Baylor University where she acquired the nickname “Sue” because Itsuko was too hard to pronounce. After graduation from Baylor, she became the first Hawaiian woman to graduate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master’s in Religious Education.
By All Means…Sue spread the word about mission work in Hawaii her whole life. While she was still in Texas for college, she wore her kimono and spoke to many churches about the mission work in Hawaii. Sue spoke to many churches locally about missions education and ministry. But Sue didn’t just talk, she did! She initiated opportunities to bring children to church and to teach them about missions.
By All Means…Sue served in our local churches, first at Olivet Baptist Church as missions education director and then at the newly formed Hawaii Baptist Convention as secretary. From there, she became the first woman elected to serve as the executive secretary of the Hawaii Baptist Convention’s Woman’s Missionary Union in 1954. And after she married Nobuo Nishikawa when she was 50, she began serving alongside him at Waikiki Baptist Church until his death in 1991.
By All Means…Sue never tired of pointing out the importance of missions education at the local church as she served and spoke to many churches and WMU groups. Her passion was seeing young children involved and serving in missions education.
By All Means…Sue didn’t let a stroke in 1980 slow her down. While she did have to end her 26 year service of state WMU work, she began her work as the volunteer editor of the State Baptist paper. She also continued her work on the State WMU Council and the Aloha Council at Hawaii Baptist Academy. Even though Sue passed away in 2004, her life is still a legacy of missions and ministry.
By All Means…We can continue Sue’s legacy through the Sue Nishikawa Offering for Hawaii Pacific Missions. Every dollar given to this offering goes to help Hawaii Pacific Baptist ministries. Every church that gives to this offering is eligible to receive funds for evangelistic outreaches in their communities. So By All Means … let’s be like Sue Nishikawa: let’s pray, give, and do missions right where we are!