Frequently Asked Questions
What made your family choose Japan?
Short answer: a long, interconnected series of events! Long answer: Leslie lived in Japan from ages 10-13 years old, and was even baptized there in 1996. Towards the end of his college undergraduate years, he began looking into how to go back to Japan for mission work. During this time he came in contact with Brent & Sandy Rogers who lived in Okayama Prefecture. Several years later (3+ years after Leslie and Sara married), an email came from Brent saying there was a kindergarten looking for an English teacher in their area, and they were hoping a Christian would take the job so they could help with the mission work. Leslie ended up getting that job, and so our family moved to Japan for the first time in 2010. After that first year, we decided we wanted to come back as full time missionaries, which led us to our first work in Matsudo from 2012-2017.
Why do so few Japanese people become Christians?
There are a number of challenges that exist within Japanese culture that make it difficult for people to commit to following Christ. One of the challenges is how deeply the pagan religions of Japan are connected to family life. To abandon e.g. ancestor worship in some ways feels like abandoning your family and your people generally. We have known women who were told by their husbands that they would divorce them if they were to become a Christian. Add in the fact that most people know very little about Christianity to begin with, and it makes for a steep uphill climb for anyone seeking to follow Christ. On the other hand, those who do become disciples are usually quite dedicated.
What is worship like at the church in Japan?
Our time of worship each Sunday is fairly similar to what we do in the U.S. There is a time for singing and prayer, scripture reading and the Lord’s Supper, as well as a sermon delivered by Leslie. There are a few small differences, but it’s mostly the same. One notable difference: we do have a “tea time” after worship every Sunday.
Why did your family leave Japan in 2017 only to move back a few years later?
The best way to understand our thoughts on returning to Japan would be to read this post: Why We Are Going Back. In short, when we left Japan, we did so especially because of concerns for our children. However, as we are told in Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Through the course of our time back in the U.S., we came to realize more clearly our calling to Japan and also how much we needed to trust in God to guide both us and our children no matter where we live. These thoughts, along with several other factors, drew us back to the work.
What Is Your Plan For Returning To Japan?
Our goal is to be back in Japan by March of 2020. In the meantime, we need to raise support for our monthly expenses, and also support for our return costs. You can find more information about our financial needs on our support page. Of course, in all of this we entrust our plans to God, believing he will guide us according to his will.
What is your family’s statement of faith?
Our statement of faith can be found on this page: Statement of Faith. We believe the core elements of the Christian faith which comprise the gospel are non-negotiable, as our connection to Christ hinges on our fidelity to these. (Gal. 1:9). It is important that we stand firm on the truth of God’s word, and call sin for what it is (Eph. 4:17-25). However, on peripheral doctrines where honest questions exist, we believe it is important to extend grace and to “bear with one another” in love. We do not wish to take part in divisive quarrels which lead to discord and strife within God’s church (2 Tim. 2:14ff). We must be actively seeking to grow in knowledge of God’s truth (2 Pet. 1:5), but this is an exercise best done together with fellow believers, as we seek to grow and mature together (Eph. 2:19-22).
How Can People Help?
Any financial support to help make this work possible is welcome. Our priority at the moment is monthly support, as that is what is required for the Japanese government to accept our visas. However, we are very thankful for any one-time support, as well. If you would like to know more details about our financial needs and how to give, please visit our support page here. Even if you cannot offer financial support right now, if you have any connections you would like to share, those certainly can be useful. And of course, we welcome all prayers on behalf of our family and the work we aim to do. Please never minimize the impact of your prayerful petitions – we know God listens!