Hello from Canada (July Prayer Letter)

At the Global Partners offices in Fishers, IN

Hello from Canada! Thank you for your prayers during our recent travel and transition period.

June was the end of our latest missionary term, so we returned to North America for four months of partnership development— a time of reconnecting with partnering churches and raising support for our work in Japan. Before coming to Canada we spent two weeks in the US, where we connected with some churches, had meetings with leaders and fellow missionaries, and visited Global Partners headquarters. 

Along the way, we had to get a tire fixed on our rental car, and our flight to Canada was cancelled so we had to reschedule. But it all worked out and we’re grateful for God’s protection and blessings along the way. Now we’re enjoying some time at Beulah Camp in New Brunswick before hitting the road again.

Over the next two+ months we have a lot of travel planned. We would appreciate your prayers for good health, safe travel, and effective ministry.

We’re also raising financial support for our next term. Right now GP has our “intended support” (faith promise) total at about 88% of our goal (target: $8735/month, actual: $7709/month USD). Please pray that we can gain some new partners during this season. And if you’re not already a regular giver, would you consider becoming one? Please let us know, or contact us with any questions you may have.

Thank you again for your partnership and prayers!

May Prayer Letter

Mid-April with the sakura (cherry blossoms) in full bloom

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your prayers! Yoko and I just celebrated our anniversary yesterday — we’re thankful for our first five years as a married couple, and for God’s blessings in all the ups and downs.

There was lots to keep us busy this past month. One highlight was this past Sunday, when we travelled to Fukui, where we led the service and I preached to a small but responsive congregation. 

Yoko has been working on a new manga script and we’ve both been networking to find an artist for this new project. We’re grateful for new connections and opportunities happening with Drawbridge Creations, and hope to share more soon!

Please PRAY with us for all that’s going on in May:

  • Preaching and music ministry planned on May 19 for Pentecost Sunday at Immanuel Kanzawa-Izumi Church.
  • Worship leading at Immanuel Komatsu Church.
  • Guests (potential ministry partners) visiting from the US.
  • Planning and preparing to go to North America this summer for partnership development.
  • Our continuing work with Drawbridge Creations.

We’d appreciate your prayers that we can balance it all, get done what we need to, minister effectively and rest well.

Thank you for being on our team! We’re grateful for all of our prayer and financial partners.

Easter Blessings (April Prayer Letter)

With Mount Fuji

Hi everyone,

We hope you had a happy Easter!

We got to celebrate Easter in Nagoya with our former home church, Immanuel Nagoya. I (Robin) preached in the morning service and we did an English outreach event in the afternoon. It was fun and refreshing to reconnect with church family, old friends and former students, and to share about the hope of Jesus. 

We also learned that a former English student (who was a kid when I taught her but a teenager now) is attending a church in a another part of Nagoya where Yoko’s former seminary classmate is the pastor! Small world! We’re thankful that God is continuing to work in my former students’ lives. 

Some other highlights from March included:

  • Preaching and leading worship at Immanuel Komatsu Church.
  • Attending the Immanuel Church annual national conference, where we could do some promo for Drawbridge Creations and reconnect with ministry contacts and friends. 
  • Beginning a collaboration with another Christian organization in Japan on a new manga project. This will be our second project as Drawbridge Creations.

Please PRAY with us about the following:

  • Worship leading at Immanuel Komatsu Church.
  • Visiting Immanuel Fukui Church on 4/28, Robin preaching.
  • Our new manga collaboration, especially for Yoko who is writing, and that we will be able to find the right artist for the job.
  • We’re also scheduled for Partnership Development in North America this summer. Pray for the many plans we need to make in the coming months.

Thank you for interest, prayers, encouragement and support!

March Prayer Letter (by Yoko)

On Utatsuyama overlooking Kanazawa

Hi everyone!

Thank you so much for your prayers! This time it’s Yoko writing this prayer letter.

Since the big earthquake happened in the Noto area of Ishikawa, 2 months have passed. But about 12,000 people are still staying in about 500 evacuation shelters etc.  People can’t use water at about 20,000 houses or buildings. For those situations, some Christian groups who have some special skills started working on digging wells in north side of Noto where they had the biggest damage. Please continue to pray for people who suffer from the damages by the earthquake and for the people who serve them. 

We have been involved with a small part of the disaster relief work by God’s leading, but God has encouraged us through the small part. We could share the joy with our home church who cooperated through gathering and carrying supplies for people in Noto. And through our volunteer work at our local gym that welcomes people from Noto as 2nd evacuation shelter, we unexpectedly met a local pastor who lives in our neighbourhood. 

As we shared last month, we hosted a potential missionary on a vision trip from February 17 to 27. It was a great chance for us to get to know him better and we were glad that he could understand better what it looks like living in Japan. He and Robin attended JEMA Connect (a missionary conference) on February 19 to network with the Japan missionary community and promote Drawbridge Creations. This ministry became a JEMA endorsed ministry last year, so Robin had a chance to present about this ministry during the conference. Yesterday one missionary we know who attended the conference told me, “Yoko, you should be proud of him! He made a great presentation!” I’m sorry that I couldn’t attend this conference with him, but that’s fun to hear from other attendance about the good response like this! 

By the way, on the first of this month, we released a new online comic of Waypoints. This one is special for us as a married couple, because this is the first comic where I’m the scenario writer and the art is drawn by Robin. Please check out the comic!

March will be a busy month for us that includes some travels. Robin and I are scheduled to lead worship at Immanuel Komatsu Church on the 17th and he will give a sermon, too. After the Sunday service, we will travel to Yokohama to attend the Immanuel Church annual conference (March 19 to 21), host a guest there and have another meeting in that area. Also, we will travel to Nagoya for serving at an Easter Sunday service (Robin will preach) and leading an Easter English event at Immanuel Nagoya church. 

Please pray for us to keep good health and seek God’s face especially during this Lent season. We appreciate your partnership with us for God’s mission in Japan!

God Bless Your Lent Season! 

– Yoko (and Robin)

PS: Apologies if you received an extra email of February’s prayer letter; it was a technical error.

Image from the latest Waypoints manga, art by Robin, story by Yoko

February Prayer Letter

Hi everyone,

Thank you for praying for our recent volunteer work. It turned out there were a lot fewer evacuees who ended up staying at our local community centre than expected. But it was good to be able to help out for a couple days, and make some connections with local people too. 

In the coming weeks we don’t have any relief-related plans, but as Christian relief efforts in Noto ramp up we’ll no doubt get involved in some way. Meanwhile, please continue to pray for the thousands who have lost their homes, and for the people serving them. There is also risk of a major aftershock, so pray for safety, too.

Meanwhile, the last half of February we have some extra things going on, so we’d appreciate your prayers about the following needs and opportunities.

We are preparing to host another potential missionary on a vision trip from February 17 to 27. He and I will be attending JEMA Connect (a missionary conference) on February 19 to network with the Japan missionary community and promote Drawbridge Creations. Then, Yoko and I are scheduled to lead worship at Immanuel Komatsu Church on the 25th, with our guest taking part in the service as well.

God is answering our prayers for more workers in Japan, and this vision trip is another sign of that! Thank you for your continuing prayers and partnership in God’s mission in Japan!

Website Updates

I’ve been working on some website maintenance lately, so please excuse any hiccups you may be experiencing using the site. It’s a work-in-progress. You may notice that old blog posts are no longer available here, as they have been archived during this process. If for some reason you want to see some of our older updates (2023 and before), please visit our archive site HERE. Thank you for your interest.

Earthquake Update 2

Hi everyone,

Thank you for praying for Japan in the wake of the New Year’s earthquake in the Noto Peninsula. As of this morning, official reports put the number of dead at 232, with 21 people still missing. 26 people remain isolated in five remote villages. Currently there are around 13,934 people staying in 359 evacuation shelters. 

Please continue to pray for rescue, relief and repair workers, and for the health, safety and peace of mind of survivors.

Since it will take some time for communities to be rebuilt, many evacuees are now being moved from shelters into more comfortable temporary housing outside of the disaster area. This includes hotels and community centres. 

One such centre (a public sports complex) here in Hakusan is welcoming some 600 people. Since this is literally in our neighbourhood, we have signed up as volunteers and will be serving there a few days next week to begin with. Please pray for us, that we can be a blessing and encouragement there.

Meanwhile, Christian relief efforts have also begun, as several organizations and churches are coordinating efforts under the banner of “Noto Help.” There is a lot of work to be done in the coming months. Please pray for the Church and missions community to be united and well-organized in reaching out to those in need, and that God will use these efforts to sow Gospel seeds in this largely unreached area of Japan. 

If you would like to donate to these Christian relief efforts, please check out this email from JEMA, which lists up trusted Christian organizations who are engaged in relief work.

If you want a recommendation from us, CRASH Japan is a trustworthy Japanese organization who are well set-up to receive donations from overseas: https://crashjapan.com/en/donate/

Thank you again for your prayers!

Pray for Japan (Ishikawa earthquake update)

Thank you for praying. By now most of you have probably already heard about the major earthquake and tsunami that occurred here in Ishikawa on January 1. It was centred up the coast from us on the Noto Peninsula.

Thankfully, we are safe. We did experience some pretty intense shaking and a tsunami warning. But our immediate area did not sustain much damage from the quake, and the tsunami did not reach us. 

But many were not so fortunate. Please join us in praying that rescue workers, supplies, and comfort will reach those in need in a timely manner. Also, since the initial quake, there have been aftershocks occurring several times a day. This is expected to continue throughout the week, so pray for protection and peace of mind.

Lastly, please pray for us as we consider how we can help with relief efforts. We’ve both done relief work before, but this is the first time a disaster like this has happened “in our own backyard.” We are already gathering what information we can from churches and missionaries in the area. Pray that the Church can be united in sharing God’s love with Ishikawa in the weeks and months to come, and that we will be wise and discerning in doing our part.