Why Now & Why Short-term?
In June of 2018, Bill & Becky Petite, veteran ABWE missionaries, asked us if we would return to Izumi Japan and care for their church plant so they could go on home assignment. At that time, they had been on the field for about 6 years. We are initially here as short termers which permits us to get on the field quickly so that we can relieve the Petites. We want to be long-term church planters in Japan and are viewing this as a first-term of sorts. We will be here for 2 years; during this period we will be working on long-term qualifications.
Bill & Becky Petite
So what do we actually do?!?!
Good question. :)
We work alongside the leadership team to care for the body. We work with a Japanese couple and a Canadian missionary, and will do so with the Petites once they return.
Joel is responsible for preaching & teaching. He is involved in discipleship relationships. Misti's role is primarily Japanese language study. While Joel is fluent in Japanese, Misti is not. Because we want to be long-term church planters in Japan, it is critical that she spends this time in intense study.
We both meet people and work on building relationships through time spent with others and Bible study. In addition, we plan special events and kids programs. Joel also performs some administrative tasks for the ABWE Japan team because of his language proficiency.
Izumi is located on southern Kyushu and has a population of about 55,000. The church plant is the only Evangelical church in town. In Japan it is thought to be a small town in the country, but there are shopping centers, convenience stores, and a few years ago, a bullet train line was built! It is different from other Japanese cities in that it doesn't have a great public transportation system. Izumi is famous in Japan for the thousands of cranes that migrate there every year.
Statues outside the Izumi Crane Observatory
About Izumi Hope Church
On any given Sunday there are between 15-20 people in attendance. Not all who attend are Christians. The Christians that are part of the church come from many areas. The next closest evangelical church is 30-45 minutes away by car. For many people, Sunday worship is the only time they will see another Christian that week. There is Wednesday evening Bible study, and 5-15 people attend. Some Sundays there will be 0 children, other Sundays up to 20 will come! None of these children come from Christian homes.
Our First Sunday in Izumi