God has led us through many adventures!
Steve and Rochelle met in Japan. They each went as singles to Tokyo, in October ’83 (Steve) and February ’84 (Rochelle). Steve picked Rochelle up at the airport and brought her back to west Tokyo to be his next door neighbor.
Steve and Rochelle were married in 1986 in Levittown, PA during their first furlough. After returning to Japan, they started Japanese language study full time.
Just a year later Andy was born in Tokyo, followed 2 years later by Ben. 3 years after the Clarks moved to Nagoya, Melissa was born. Finally, after 10 more years, God blessed us with Joshua, who was born in Tokyo. So you could say that all 4 children were made in Japan.
They served at several universities in Tokyo over the first 6 years, after which the leadership challenged them to lead a new team to reestablish a campus ministry in the city of Nagoya.
They led the team in Japan’s 3rd largest city, and the ministry began and grew to include Nanzan and Nagoya universities. Students were developed through bible studies and discipled so they learned to share their faith with other students. Some student leaders went on to become pastors or other full time ministry. This work was from 1990 to 1994.
After furlough in 1995, the leadership challenged Steve to take over the office management, administration and accounting roles for the ministry. From 1996 Steve led the administrative team, and in the fall 1996 he was also asked to take on the role of Coverage Coordinator, responsible for the Jesus film ministry and material production in Japan. He developed new materials and the first JCCC website and Japanese Four Spiritual Laws website.
Steve led church partnership outreaches that brought hundreds of East Asian Cru students and staff to Sapporo, Kyushu, Niigata, Nagano and Sendai and the Tokyo metropolitan area.
As Steve continued to serve in these roles, he developed the human resource and staff care functions for the 170 staff and short-termers from 7 nationalities serving with Japan CCC throughout the country.
Rochelle meanwhile started and led many small group bible studies, often using English learning, to engage Japanese women with the Bible, and engaged in ministry to her peers in the schools where our kids were attending and through the Japanese churches we were part of while in Nagoya and Tokyo.
The family lived in a northwest suburb of Tokyo near the national office of Japan CCC (1 train station away) and the Christian Academy of Japan (missionary kids school – 6 stations away) for over 10 years.
After 23 years in Japan we relocated to the Campus Crusade for Christ World Headquarters in Orlando, FL in 2007. It was a major transition. Our desire was to be available to aging parents and to our college kids.
CCC became Cru, and we began serving on the Sending and Recruiting Team, helping to put 50 to 70 new missionaries on the field internationally each year. It also helped to be in the US while Rochelle went through chemo treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which we discovered she had starting about 2005. Rochelle’s mom lived with us from 2011 to 2017, and is still nearby.
Our team has changed and grown, and now our Mobilization Team is responsible for everyone who applies for any position or mission with Cru, short term, internship and full time staff. Together, our network of recruiters and senders sees over 500 full time, 800 1 year intern and 3000 short term missions trippers sent across the US and worldwide each year.
We are also involved locally with various middle and high school outreach and church ministry to men, women and parents. Thanks for your prayers for God’s work through the Clarks!