John and Etsuko Martin

John and Etsuko Martin, serving in Kanto (Greater Tokyo), Japan

Our deep, deep desire is that the Japanese people will come to know they are loved, will know Jesus, and will become more like Him, even as WE know more deeply how loved we are, know Jesus better, and become more like Him ourselves.

etsukotsunamiwork200 John grew up in Kentucky in the US and decided to follow Jesus at a young age through the influence of his parents and people in Southern Baptist churches.

Etsuko's from Yokohama, Japan and came to Jesus as a university student in Hawaii through the ministry of the Navigators.

God's missionary call on our lives began to be realized when fellow members of an Evangelical Covenant church that God led us to become part of said, "We see that the Lord has called you and we believe He wants us to help send you to Japan."

That memory still moves us deeply.

Since that time in 2002 we've worked in a variety of places and ways as a family serving together in Japan, including at two Japanese universities, with several different church fellowships and ministries, and in our home. Among other things, we've hosted ministry meals and simple church gatherings, prayed, listened to and cared for people, planted seeds of the gospel in various ways, taught English and Japanese and the Bible, encouraged fellow disciples, and cleaned up and visited with people in the earthquake- and tidal wave-affected areas of northern Japan. Most importantly, we've worked, and are continuing to work, to learn about God's grace and to live out what it means to be Jesus followers and to BE church--using the gifts God's given us and learning frorm the life experiences He's graciously led us through.

While we're working to encourage existing churches, we're also especially motivated to take the gospel "out" to people, meeting and interacting with people in our community and not just expecting people to come "in" to some building or institution at some set time of the week. And we pray and are actively working to model what we might call life "in Jesus"--a life that's not just "showing up" some certain place for a couple of hours a week.

Recently the Lord's opened doors for John to begin building on his interests and skills in small-scale agriculture, skills he's long wanted to use in ministry. John is experiencing that to be a means to know the Lord better, a way to heal a bit of God's creation, and a non-threatening way to get to know and interact with people, with the goal being not just producing food with people, as important as that is, but building grace-filled communities that will help more people come to know, and become more like, Jesus.

Etsuko is especially involved in teaching, in caring for her aging mother and in pastoral care and ministry to friends the Lord's led us to over many years here in Japan and elsewhere, including friends Etsuko grew up with in the area where we now live.

The Lord is working through all these things and in other ways, too.

We do want to join the Lord where He's working, both in Japan and elsewhere in the world. And we want to point others to places they can experience God's love and where their God-given gifts and character might be used and developed further, for His glory.

From the beginning of our time in Japan, many different kinds of denominational and non-denominational Jesus followers and churches have been on "our" sending team. We're grateful for our sending team and our service together, for we couldn't be here without what God's doing through the churches and individuals on that team!

Like John the Baptist who said, "He must increase, but I must decrease," we pray that we will always point people to the Lord, for His kingdom and for His glory, and not be tempted to build any kind of "kingdom" of our own.

kentuckycolonels200Please pray for the people in Japan and for us!

Information on how to send and keep us going in Japan through your offerings is in the category "Donations--Missionary" to the left.