In the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami disaster, we made the difficult decision to leave Japan. Now, by God’s grace we are back to continue the mission.
In 2010, as newlyweds we sought refuge from the big city life of Tokyo in the small countryside town of Saku. We came to Saku to take over the ministry of a missionary couple who wanted to retire to the states; a decision we made somewhat hastily and without much input from others. We spent two long years in Saku struggling to make progress, only to come up short. After two years we were tired and burnt-out. We had come to learn some hard truths not only about ministry but about sin within our own hearts. It seemed that every door had closed, so we decided to return to America and start over.
During our first year back in the States, God worked in Drew’s heart, revealing idols of pride and self-reliance that led him to make hasty decisions without solid Christian counsel. We traveled the country sharing our experiences, praying for a healthy church where we could learn. We wanted to understand what a healthy church looks like, and how to lead through repentance. Yet, we found even more in Karis Church. We found a family. In the years that we have been a part of Karis, we have grown tremendously. Together we learned to walk in repentance, and learned the value of Christian community. Drew joined the two-year internship program at Karis, where he served and led in new and different capacities, maturing him as a leader. Megumi learned at Karis just what it meant to be a healthy member of a gospel-centered church family. Together, we reached and loved Columbia, our city, through a small group that we coordinated. The elders also nurtured our vision for mission as they explored with us how God might use Karis to reach the Japanese. Leaders from Karis joined us on several trips to Japan, as they helped us prayerfully consider how we might reboot and renew our ministry in Japan.
Over these years, God moved us to see Tokyo in a new light. While Saku taught us something about ministry in Japan, Tokyo has a greater strategic need. At 30 million people, it is not only the world’s largest city, but the cultural heart of Japan. A unique blend of ancient traditions and modern tech marvels, Tokyo is not only a mecca of anime and nerd culture, but a culinary fan’s delight, and a marvel of public transit. But, Tokyo is so much more than that for us. Tokyo is where Megumi was born and raised, and where we met. Our family and friends live in Tokyo, its where we first served in gospel ministry together. Following the counsel of Christian mentors and God’s direction, we realized that Tokyo is our home, and God is calling us back to that great city as our mission field. We returned to Tokyo in the summer of 2016, to work with Yoshito Noguchi, a church planter serving in Fuchu. Fuchu lies in the heart of Tokyo, where we live on mission for Jesus. If you would like to support our church planting efforts in Tokyo please click here.