Babienco Missions

Stories and Updates from Michael and Caitlyn's mission service to Japan
-March 2023-

Exploratory Trip — Check!

We’re back from our two-week exploratory trip to Japan! Thank you for your prayers while we went on our short adventure to the island nation. They were so much appreciated, and we are incredibly grateful for all your support. Now, we are even more excited to move to Japan full-time.

Unfortunately, there are just too many pictures to show in this short newsletter. To see our pictures, along with short descriptions of nearly every photo, please visit our website: https://shoesatthedoor.net/trip. We have also publicly archived the live-stream videos we did while in Japan, which you can see on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/@ShoesAtTheDoorAdventures.
Notes and Short Tidbits from Our Journey
  • Our trip was a blessing right from the beginning. It turns out that the owner of our first guest house was a Christian and fluent in English, so we were able to spend time with him talking about Christianity and introducing him to the SDA church. Some of the SDA church members from the local congregation invited him to come and attend church some Sabbath. We got the owner’s contact information, and we’re looking forward to getting to know him better once we move to Japan.
New friends from our first guest house
  • During our journey, we visited the cities of Tokyo, Kamakura, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hofu, and Yamaguchi and stayed at five different hotels. Traveling a lot helped us learn a great deal about successful navigation on the various public transportation systems.
  • We were able to visit two different SDA churches in Japan. Both churches are very small, but all the members we met were so incredibly welcoming, and they are excited for more laborers to come to Japan to work in the areas where the gospel needs to be shared.
  • We found that getting vegetarian food in Japan is definitely a challenge — as a tourist. If we had been able to use a kitchen, we would have had no problem finding vegetarian ingredients and cooking our own meals. However, with our lack of language ability, we struggled to find quality, filling vegetarian food. We definitely learned a lot in this area about the amount of preparation a vegetarian tourist needs in Japan, and we’ll be more prepared the next time we travel away from home.
We rode many trains – both normal ones and bullet trains – during our trip.
  • One small culture shock we experienced was that although tofu may be listed in a dish, that doesn’t mean the food was vegetarian! In the U.S.A., tofu is usually used only as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes, whereas in Japan, tofu will happily sit alongside meat products in a meal.
  • We did a great deal of walking between places during our trip. We walked over 20,000 steps on at least two different days! This was a great — but tiring — way to get our exercise in.
A huge torii gate at a Shinto sacred area. Michael (6’5”) is the tiny blip at the bottom-left. (See Matthew 7:13)
  • The language learning we have done so far, small though it may be, was extremely useful. We couldn’t really speak, but even the small amounts of reading we could do helped, especially when navigating public transportation. We were able to pick up a few new words while we were there.
  • One of the most impactful moments on the trip for Michael was visiting a Shinto shrine in person (as a tourist) and watching a young girl, probably in her late teens or early twenties, bow reverently toward a spirit house. Seeing this spirit/demon worship in person was more difficult than he imagined.
Japan still needs to hear about the unconditional love of Christ and the salvation that He offers freely to all. We’re looking forward to moving there, hopefully, this year, to begin the process of sharing with those who haven’t yet heard. In the meantime, we hope to share more stories of our two-week trip in future newsletters.
Upcoming Speaking Appointments
We currently do not have any speaking appointments. We would love to come and share with you and others at your church, vespers or small group. Please let us know if you would like us to come and share.
Praises & Prayer Requests
  • We are so thankful for safe travel and good health during the course of our whole trip.
  • We are also thankful for the new friends we met in Japan and the learning experiences we had!
  • Please pray for us as we consider and plan some of the next major steps of our journey, including packing up and moving out of our current rental apartment. There’s a lot still to do!
We would love to hear back from you. You can give us a call or text at ***.***.**** or email us at adventure@shoesatthedoor.net. We would also be happy to pray for any prayer requests you might have.

Thanks so much for your support!
Michael & Caitlyn Babienco
Volunteer Missionary Candidates
Adventist Frontier Missions