Testimony

Mark's Testimony:
 I was raised in a Christian family. I became a Christian at a young age of eight at Elim Baptist Church of Detroit. I realized that I was a sinner when I heard Romans 3:23. I came to know that there was a punishment for sin from Romans 6:23 and I heard of the promise of salvation in Christ through John 3:16. I believed in Christ that day. I accepted Christ as my personal Savior through a children's worker, Mr. John Libkie. I was later baptized in 1969 at the age of 12.

My parents were Christians. We had daily prayer before meals and at night. We had daily devotions as a family. My father, being a Christian, was especially a good example of witness to people we met at stores, at the dentist office, on trips, etc. My father also had a great love of the Bible especially teaching the Old Testament. I grew to love and study the Bible as well as to teach the Old Testament. (I later graduated with an OT major in seminary).

Even as a child I was open to the possibility to be a missionary. I faithfully filled in my Sunday School lessons each week. I joined Christian Stockade and Brigade (Boys' Group) and was an active member in my youth group. B. Gaynor and J. McLean were great youth leaders at that time. I learned Evangelism Explosion and used it in high school and college. I felt a call to the ministry while in high school. I started to go to Covenant Community Church during college. I went to Detroit Bible College for a short time and transferred to Wayne State University. At Wayne I was an active part of Inter-Varsity there teaching Bible studies and part of the Inter-Varsity leadership. I went on a STIM Student training in missions to Japan in 1977 which I enjoyed. I had the chance to see the mission field in person. I finished my degree at Wayne State University with an emphasis on Speech Communication, Psychology and Sociology. I felt like I received a good secular education, but my love was for the Bible.

In 1979, I was accepted at Dallas Theological Seminary and majored in Old Testament (Hebrew). During my seminary days, I found and joined a Japanese ministry at First Baptist Church of Dallas Texas. I grew to love the Japanese people more and more. I graduated from seminary in 1983.

I returned to Michigan to get Missionary Internship Training and started a student ministry to internationals at Wayne State University. I did that ministry for about a year and began to make missionary support contacts with individuals and churches. After that I left to become a missionary to Japan under SEND International which I stayed with for about 20 years. During this time I have often worked with high school and college students, built up a church, and helped start a new church. After my first term in 1989 I was ordained at Covenant Community Church. It was a joy to write up my doctrinal beliefs and to defend them. Recently, in 2007, I finished my doctorate degree from Michigan Theological Seminary. I wrote a dissertation on how to witness to Japanese. I want to continue to grow and to serve the Lord as a missionary to the Japanese people.

God has given me the gift of personal evangelism. I am able to make friends with non-Christians easily and then begin to present the gospel to them. I also have the gift of teaching. I enjoy teaching God's Word especially in small groups where I can ask questions, get feedback and then answer with more insight and content. I enjoy interacting with international students a lot.

In 2005 Harumi and I got married and soon came to the United States.

Harumi's Testimony:
I was raised in a non-Christian family. Although, my family was not very religious, I went to a Buddhist kindergarten. Since I was in kindergarten I thought there was a super-power, but did not know God. As a kid, a couple of times I went to a Salvation Army Church and had some good experiences there. I also watched Christian TV programs for children and got a little knowledge about some Bible stories.

After graduating from college, I started to work for a construction company. Although I enjoyed my job, I did not like the old style bribery in the Japanese construction industry. I quit the job and went to New Zealand to study English to learn a language skill for 1 year and 3 months.

While I was in New Zealand, I remembered about my old childhood memories of going to church. So I started to go to church, and the people warmly welcomed me. I became interested in knowing more about God. After about a year of going to church, my friend gave me lessons on how to receive the Lord as my Savior and I prayed to become a follower of Christ. I know I am saved according to the Bible which says salvation is by faith alone. I came to know that the super-power was the God of the Bible.

Returning to Japan, I found a nice church in my hometown. There were many young people who became Christians overseas. I could strengthen my faith with those who had similar experiences like me overseas. In this church I was baptized. I regularly attended cell group meetings, and participated in a short-term missionary trip to Cambodia.

After I married Mark, a missionary, I think I have been growing in faith more than before as a Christian. I am especially very glad that now I always have a prayer partner and we can pray together as a couple and read the Bible together.

For my hobby I am taking china painting lessons from a former pastor's wife. Through the class, I am learning how she talks to people about God. I realized the importance of being a witness to people anytime and anywhere through different activities. So now whenever, I talk to my non-Christian friends, I try to be a witness. I am learning more about how to socialize and evangelize people as a Christian from the example of many other Christian friends who are older in their faith than me.

I am attending a Bible study group for non-Christian Japanese ladies every week. I am learning how to lead the Bible study group from two American ladies. I am continuing to learn more about how I can talk about the Bible to non-Christian people.

I want to be able to minister to others as a couple. I would like to support my husband under his leadership in our ministry. At the moment, I do not have so much experience leading a Bible study or teaching the Bible. So now, I am trying to support my husband by being hospitable while he invites people to our house for dinner or a Bible study. I am learning how to evangelize people from him.

Since I came to America, I have been studying at Michigan Theological Seminary.  I have taken now 16 credit master level courses. I have already taken some Bible courses, Theology, Hermeneutics, and Christian Education courses. Taking the courses in English has been a challenge, but I have learned a lot.

Last summer, I helped lead VBS for children at a Japanese church. I would like to have other different experiences like this more and more. I would like to be able to lead a Bible study for ladies myself or teaching small children myself. I am often the receptionist at the church.

At the moment, I am discovering how I can serve as a missionary's wife. I always want to be like my china painting teacher who is a pastorís wife, or my ladiesí Bible study teachers who are always working for Godís glory.