Jeffrey S. Johnston grew up in Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina. He became a Christian through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating, Jeff spent a short-term ministry assignment in Japan with Asian Access. He met Nozomi at Columbia International University where he earned his Master of Divinity.
Nozomi Takeda Johnston was born in Sendai, Japan, and her family moved to Atlanta from Japan to start a Japanese church in 1977, which is still active today. Nozomi holds a B.A. in Christian Ed. and a Bible Teaching certificate from CIU, as well as a Masters in Education from Concordia University concentrating in elementary curriculum & instruction. She is currently teaching third grade.
Zack completed his degree in electrical engineering, is a software engineer and web app developer, and he is a performing member of the Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood, California.
Ellie is halfway through her college career where she is majoring in PR and minoring in Bible.
Jeff is serving as the Vice President for Advancement & Communications for all of Asian Access, and he lives in Los Angeles. His primary responsibilities are to communicate the vision and mission of the organization—telling the Asian Access story through video, the web, print materials, and personal contact. Jeff has been with Asian Access since 1987, including the time to complete seminary and a church internship. He is also serving as a member of the Asian Access Leadership Team, and the family recently returned from a 4-year ministry stint in Tokyo. Jeff also has contributed to establishing the A2 pastor training model in North India and Bangladesh.
Nozomi is investing her time teaching third grade and raising the kids and building a healthy and God-centered home. Whether in Tokyo or now Los Angeles, this is something lacking in both countries. In the past, she helped to write Bible class curriculum for the young kids at church. She has a ministry to moms and kids, teaching the Joy of Parenting book and marriage from a biblical perspective.
Words of wisdom...
If you are interested in pursuing a potential career in missions, here are our suggested action steps...
- Pray. Ask God for direction. Get a copy of Operation World and begin praying for the world.
- Get active in a local church. Join a church and develop relationships as you minister there. If you want to serve in Japan, you'll need church ministry experience here before you go. And it will be this sending church that affirms your call into missions and commissions you to serve.
- Find a mentor. Seek an experienced person who has knowledge of missions to help you make some decisions. This should definitely include your missions pastor and/or missions committee. It may include a missionary.
- Taste missions. Take a short-term missions trip -- anything from 1 week to 1 year. If you need ideas for where to find opportunities, check out these sites:
- Get trained. If God is still moving you into long-term service, get a hold of a handbook called "Send Me!: Your Journey to the Nations" and find some training. Look into formal training opportunities.
- Friend-Raise. Build a network of financial and prayer supporters. Keep them informed through regular newsletters. Be involved in the local church.
- Go! Step out in faith!
When you're in Japan, be sure to...
- bathe before you get into the bathtub;
- push buttons on the toilet only when you're sitting, not standing!
- never wear your bathroom slippers outside the bathroom;
- never leave your chopsticks sticking directly in a bowl of rice.
Wonderful ministry memories...
I (Jeff) love to see people and teams I have helped to recruit and train, go to Japan and touch lives while there. Some have been used to bring people to Christ; others to plant new churches. All encourage the believers with whom they work. Invariably, these missionaries return home more mature than when they first went, whether it was for 3 years or 3 weeks. God does a work in them and through them. That is satisfying to me.
Looking to the future...
We hope that Japan experiences a revival, first in the church; then an awakening in the rest of its society. We'd like to see 5-10% of it's people come to Christ in the next decade or two. Further, I am trusting God that the Japanese church will play a significant role in reaching the rest of Asia for Christ.
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