Robin is from New Brunswick, Canada. He graduated from Kingswood University and has been a Global Partners missionary in Japan since 2008. Yoko is from Kanazawa, Japan, and is a graduate of Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya, Japan. They met at their church in Nagoya, and were married on April 30, 2019.
Robin and Yoko’s current ministry focus is a new initiative called Drawbridge Creations— a web-based manga (comics) outreach with the three-fold purpose of reaching the unchurched, resourcing the Church, and empowering Christian artists, in order to bridge the gap between Church and culture; between Jesus and Japan.
Global Partners is the missions arm of the Wesleyan Church of North America. We are also known as Wesleyan Senkyodan (the Wesleyan Mission) in Japan, where we work alongside Immanuel General Mission (IGM), an indigenous Japanese denomination, and with missionaries from World Gospel Mission (WGM).
Robin’s Story: My Journeys to (and in) Japan
I grew up in New Brunswick, Canada, was an artistic kid, and dreamed of making comics for a living. I never even imagined I would live in Japan or become a missionary. But it seems as if God had other plans…
I was “finished school” and working full-time as a graphic designer when I first started sensing God call me into ministry. I didn’t know where that would lead me ultimately, but it started with going back to school, where I received my Youth Ministry degree from Bethany Bible College (now known as Kingswood University).
After Bible College I still had no plans to go overseas as a missionary. I was a youth major, after all, and had a passion for worship leading. So I pursued various potential opportunities in youth and music ministry. But in all my searching for just the right ministry position, nothing I pursued worked out. For months, it seemed like every door I tried was closed. Then, through the internet, an opportunity came my way completely unexpectedly: a one-year position teaching English and doing ministry in Japan, at a little place in Sayama City, Osaka, called Grace English School.
After a lot of prayer and thought, I really sensed that God was leading me to accept the offer. So in the summer of 2002 I left Canada for a year in Japan. It will be a great experience — an adventure — I thought, and besides, it’s only for a year, right?
That year changed my life. It was an adventure, yes. But it changed me in ways I didn’t even realize at the time. It changed the way I looked at the world, the way I looked at missions, the way I looked at life in general, and the way I looked at myself. I fell in love with Japan and, seeing the great spiritual need, have been carrying a burden for the Japanese ever since.
I have been serving with Global Partners in Japan since 2008, building spiritual bridges through English teaching, youth and kids ministry, and the creative arts. Starting in 2010, I focused on English ministry, doing weekly English classes, monthly English conversation cafes, and special events with my church, Nagoya Immanuel Church. In addition to our English ministry, I have also been involved in music, preaching and youth ministry, in Nagoya and elsewhere, as well as less traditional artistic ministries.
In 2018, I began transitioning away from church-based English ministries towards web-based creative outreach endeavours, establishing Drawbridge Creations.
2018 also brought Yoko and I together, and in April of 2019 we were married. I’m thankful to have Yoko with me as both my wife and ministry partner for this new chapter of life and ministry in Japan.
Yoko’s Story (Coming Soon)