• Mission,  Reflections

    Socially Anxious Missionaries Who Don’t Speak Japanese

    So grateful today! For various reasons, today was the first day the kids actually got to meet some other neighborhood kids. I sent them out when we saw that other kids were at the park, but it was just little boys and so the girls kept to themselves. A while later, some girls around the age of mine rode up on bikes, and Madeleine came back to the house to ask me how to say something to them in Japanese. As I got myself ready to go out and help them communicate, I prayed again for courage and blessing in these interactions. The truth is, I didn’t want to go…

  • Mission,  Reflections

    Meagerness And Abundance

    The building where the Matsudo church meets is rather old. It’s basically a repurposed house, with the downstairs set up as an assembly hall. It’s not much to look at, but it serves the church well and is a blessing to have. While there’s plenty that could use renovation, one feature I love about the grounds is a small grape vine that wraps around the front fence. It has been there ever since I first came to Matsudo, and I’m sure it was here many years before that. The branches usually produce a good amount of fresh grapes each year which you can eat, assuming the crows (or a few…

  • Mission

    What We’re Focusing On In Year One

    As the months have marched on towards our return to Japan, we have been considering our upcoming work and thinking about what our plans are moving forward. We want to approach this work with a vision supported by plans and goals. Nehemiah sets the kind of example we want to follow. He prayed for God’s blessing and provision (Neh. 1:4-11; 2:4), he set a vision (Neh. 2:5), he considered and prepared for the work (Neh. 2:6-16), he cast the vision before others and gathered help (Neh. 2:17-18), and he got to the work (Neh. 3-6). This is applicable to our upcoming mission. It’s useful to not only have a vision,…

  • Mission,  Prayer,  Reflections

    Sowing With Tears, Reaping With Joy

    Over the course of this year, the importance of prayer has become ever more apparent to me. I think it’s safe to say that I have prayed more this year than I have ever prayed in my life. Of course, I still have plenty of room to grow in this spiritual discipline, but I have learned to lean on God in prayer throughout this year like never before. I am thankful for the challenges that have led me to that deeper relationship with him. Part of what has helped me focus in prayer this year has been reading through a daily devotional book on the Psalms by Tim Keller called…

  • Mission,  Partnership

    Excited For Service

    Not too long ago, our dear sister Sanpei wrote about why she would like for our family to return to Matsudo. Here’s a translation of what she said: “Although the Matsudo Church has been around for over 50 years, at the moment we have no preacher and are relying on speakers from various other churches to help each week. We currently have less than 10 people on Sunday, and we hope from our heart that Leslie and his family will be able to return to Japan and to their mission work here. We feel certain they will be able to reach out to young families and children in this area.…

  • matsumoto-castle
    Mission

    The Glory And Honor Of The Nations

    22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of…

  • Mission

    How You Can Help

    We know that many people care about the work we are planning to do in Japan and want to help, but may feel like there isn’t much they can do personally. The truth is, however – this work relies on the actions of others at least as much as it relies on the actions we ourselves take! During our last missionary journey in Japan from 2012-2017, we had so many individuals who did seemingly small things that made a huge impact. Based upon our experiences, we’ve put together a list of four specific actions you can take that can have a serious impact in this work: Pray For Us. God…

  • Mission

    Why We Believe In Japan

    When we talk to people about doing mission work in Japan, it is often met with various kinds of surprise, and we can understand that reaction. Japan is, after all, very far away. It also has a completely different language, different culture, different food, and so on. There are surely simpler places to move our family. Many people wonder what would convince us of the need to go to a place so far from home. The simple answer is: we believe in the mission and we love the people. In Ephesians 1, Paul tells us of all the incredible blessings we have through Jesus Christ. He tells us we were…

  • Mission

    Planning For The Work

    As our family returns to Japan, it’s important to reflect on the work that we plan to do upon our return. The vision may morph some once we’ve arrived, but it’s good to bring a vision with us as we go, so we know the kinds of things to be preparing for and praying about. Let me begin by saying, as I have said before, that our primary focus is on making disciples. That means we’re more concerned with spiritual growth than numerical growth. We’re not simply looking to get more people to show up on Sundays. Rather, we want to encourage a church community where all members are serving…

  • Mission,  Statistics

    Japan Missions Profile

    Being as far as it is away from the U.S., many people don’t know much about Japan, especially in terms of the state of the church there. Because of that, it may be difficult to understand why this mission field is so important to my family, as well as some of the challenges that exist on the field. Rather than write a lengthy blog post about every point, I thought it might be easier to make a simple infographic to provide a profile of the mission field in Japan. Scroll down to the bottom to see a few points of interest explained in further detail. As you can see, the…