Early Years of Our Campus Ministry – ’82 to ’89
Reflecting back on what the Lord has accomplished through our years in Japan, we are so grateful to God for His guiding hand in our work. We hope this will be a good reminder of how God works, as well as an introduction to our work for those who are just joining our ministry partner team. Rochelle and I began our time in Japan by participating in a summer project in 1982. 400 college students and staff members converged on Tokyo to minister among 25 major universities in their English clubs. We left over 1000 interested contacts and many new believers to just 3 staff to follow up!
Rochelle and I both sensed God’s call to return to Japan while on the summer project in 1982. We returned as staff in Oct 83 (Steve) and Feb 84 (Rochelle).
In those days Japan CCC was reorganizing, and we had just one Japanese staff and about a dozen American staff in Tokyo. We were doing evangelism and discipleship with students at some of the top universities in Japan, and using English and ourselves as American friends to help interest the Japanese students in spending time with us, which enabled us to reach them with the gospel.
From those early days we praise God for Yuko Kono (pictured with Rochelle on the right), a young Christian whom Rochelle discipled while at Rikkyo University. In these intervening years she used her platform as an English teacher in a high school to share Christ, lead students on evangelistic projects and lead fellow teachers to Christ as well! She joined CCC’s outreach to young adults. After a battle with cancer, she is now with the Lord.
We were able to lead other students to Christ, learn the Japanese language through Naganuma and JMLI language schools, and learned how differently Japanese respond to the gospel. Some of their words also hinder a clear understanding of God’s grace.
Campus Ministry in Nagoya – ’90 to ’95
After learning the language we spent 5 years in the 3rd largest city of Japan, Nagoya, which is near the famous Toyota City. Working with a small team of staff we were encouraged to see God raise up the foundations of the ministry there.
Chief among those blessings was Suzuki Naoya, whom Steve discipled and trained in evangelism. Naoya has gone on to seminary and is planning to pastor a church!
We had many teams of Singaporeans in for short term projects, and while they encouraged us they also helped us lead more students to Christ. Some of the Singaporeans who came on those projects to Nagoya are now part of reaching Japan with Steve in the coverage ministry today!
The ministry in Nagoya started at Nanzan University, but soon expanded to Nagoya University too.
Steve often led the team to spend extended time praying for the evangelization of Nagoya and the raising up of movements of students on our campuses.
After our time there we turned the ministry over to our co-workers, Jody and Lois Kubo, who continued to build up the prayer movement there.
Now God has raised up the first staff through the Nagoya ministry, with another soon to follow!
Many students have become campus leaders who share their faith and disciple other students.
Jody is hopeful of turning over the Nagoya ministry soon to Seiji Ishii, so the whole work there will be Japanese led. We praise God for his work through us and the team God gave us for those years!
How our Family Grew
We praise God for leading us to Japan because we met each other there! It is such a blessing to share our vision for Japan through all these years!
Of course, we feel so blessed to have 3 children, born in Japan, safely in Japanese hospitals!
Andy, Ben and Melissa all trusted the Lord Jesus from an early age, so we praise the Lord for their salvation.
Our kids went through Japanese pre-school and in Andy’s case 1st grade too, so their Japanese skills are very good for conversation, and they are getting Japanese lessons in their school, the Christian Academy in Japan. They enjoy playing in Japanese with the kids at our church as well.