Why Japan?

Japan is the largest unevangelized country that is completely open to missionaries.

Japan has had Christian influences of one kind or another since around the middle of the 16th century with the arrival of Francis Xavier, a Catholic missionary. Christianity took off at first, but the Christian population soon fell under a long period of harsh persecution. Japan closed itself off from all outside influences, and only one port remained open for trading. In 1844, King Williams II of the Netherlands sent the leader of Japan a letter suggesting that the country reopen, but this didn't take place for another 10 years.

Christianity slowly grew from 1854 until the second World War began. After the war, General MacArthur called for missionaries and workers to help Japan rebuild, and Christian membership once again flourished. What does it look like today? Despite centuries of Christian exposure and workers, in a country of around 126 million people, only about 2% of the country have embraced the good news of Jesus Christ. Around 0.6% of the population is considered evangelical. Even though the country is completely open to gospel workers, Christianity declines in membership by nearly 0.5% each year.

The Seventh-day Adventist message reached Japan with the arrival of Abram La Rue in 1889. The first SDA missionary, William Grainger, arrived in 1896. Unfortunately, few people in Japan are active members of the SDA church today. There are only around 6,000 active members in the entire country, amounting to about 0.005% of the population. In fact, there are more people in the Tokyo metropolitan area (30+ million) than there are SDAs worldwide (21-22 million). To put it in perspective, if you were to make it your full-time job — 8 hours a day — to meet a Seventh-day Adventist by talking to random strangers back-to-back and spending only one minute with each person, it would take you an average of 17.5 days to meet an SDA church member in Japan. In the United States, this same job of meeting a Seventh-day Adventist would take less than one day, even though the U.S.A. has a much larger overall population.

The people of Japan still need to hear the gospel in their own language and their own cultural context, and we want to go there to help start a church-planting movement among the Japanese people by sharing the gospel with as many as possible. Will you please pray for us and prayerfully consider joining our support team so that we can go and share the good news with those who haven't heard?

About Michael & Caitlyn

Michael was born and raised near Dayton, Ohio, then attended college at Southern Adventist University. Caitlyn grew up in Ooltewah, Tennessee and had wanted to serve God as a missionary ever since she was very young. They met at Southern and got to know one another at a Friday evening vespers group. Soon after getting engaged, Michael and Caitlyn went to serve overseas: Michael with AFM in Cambodia, working as a teacher and web developer; and Caitlyn in Southeast Asia, teaching English as a Second Language classes.

After returning to the United States in August 2019, Michael and Caitlyn got married. They moved to Berrien Springs, Michigan, where they have worked the last few years in various capacities, including recruiting for AFM. They both love working with young people and encouraging them to follow God and learn more about His character from the Bible.

Together, Michael and Caitlyn are excited to follow God's leading as they embark as career missionaries to Japan. They thank each of you for your prayers and support as they seek to show the incredible love of God to those who have never heard.

About Adventist Frontier Missions

Adventist Frontier Missions establishes indigenous Seventh-day Adventist church-planting movements among unreached people groups. They are a Seventh-day Adventist supporting ministry based in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and they have missionaries around the world sharing the gospel with many different people groups. To read the monthly Adventist Frontiers magazine, listen to their Frontier Missions Journal podcast, or learn more about the ministry, please visit their website at https://www.afmonline.org.

Michael & Caitlyn's missionary page on AFM's website can be found at the following link: https://afmonline.org/missionaries/detail/8185.