Babienco Missions

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

Launch Imminent

3…2…1…blast off! Rocket launches are always exciting events. Many months of preparation work, complex calculations, and a lot of sweat and tears all pay off when the rocket lifts off the pad and shoots into space with its payload. Once that operation is complete, an entire team gets to celebrate all the work they have accomplished.

Caitlyn and I (Michael) won’t be launching via a rocket ship to Japan, but our launch countdown has begun in earnest. Our funding is in, visas are in process, suitcases are being filled, and long-term storage bins are being packed away. We are now about one month away from launching full-time to Japan for the first three-year segment of our commitment. Lord willing, we will launch sometime between October 29 and November 12.
Behind the Scenes
So, what has been going on behind the scenes? The most urgent and time-consuming item on our to-do list has been working to obtain our visa. Because of the difficulty of transitioning between different types of visas in-country, we need to obtain our long-term Religious Activities visa before we go. The Japan Union Conference (JUC), which is the Seventh-day Adventist entity over the country of Japan, has been extremely helpful in helping us obtain these visas. We first had to work with the JUC to submit paperwork for our Certificates of Eligibility, a prerequisite to the visa. That process can take anywhere from one to three months. Thankfully, our official certificates arrived in the USA from the JUC on October 2, around 1.5 months after turning in our applications. Next, we are submitting our certificates and the rest of our visa paperwork to the Japan Consulate in Detroit, where it should take 5-10 business days to process.

We have also been doing a great deal of research about our move to Japan. Because we are the first AFM missionaries to go to Japan, we don’t have other missionaries who have gone before us who already know the process, which adds to the challenge. A sample of questions we have been working on answering are:
  • How do you open a Japanese bank account?
  • What bank works best for expats who may not speak Japanese yet?
  • What cellphone provider has good service while remaining economical, and do you need a residential address before getting a phone number?
  • Where do you find apartment listings for foreigners?
  • Will there be a beginner class at the language school we would like to attend soon after we arrive, or do we need to look into a different school because of the timing?
These questions and more need some answers before arriving in Japan.
We have had some fun along the way. Here we are at an Ohio favorite, Tom’s Corn Maze. It is always good to have a break before life’s busy seasons.
One of our recent joyful activities has consisted of spending time with family and friends in Ohio and Tennessee before we leave. Spending quality time with family before departure is critical before moving overseas for several years, and we are grateful that AFM gives us the time to say goodbye as best as we can, even when it is difficult to say goodbye. We are treasuring each moment.
Keeping in Touch
Please do keep in touch with us when we move overseas. Our email address, adventure@shoesatthedoor.net, is probably one of the best ways to reach us. Feel free to send us your prayer requests and just say hello every now and again. If you would like to message us, Caitlyn and I are both on the Signal and WhatsApp messaging apps via our USA phone numbers. Please contact us if you want to confirm those numbers. We will still have updates and articles in the Adventist Frontiers magazine, so please keep an eye out for those. We are still deciding how to send shorter “slice of life” updates via social media or similar.

We are mailing magnets to those for whom we have an address. If you would like to receive a magnet, please reply to this email with your name and mailing address, and we will send one your way. Please put this magnet on your fridge, or somewhere you will see it regularly, and send up a quick prayer on our behalf and for Japan when you look at it. Missions are the story of answered prayer, and we greatly desire your prayers, not just for us but also for the people of Japan, so that many Japanese can hear about Christ and decide for Him.
A preview of our magnet that we are happy to send to you if you would like.
Praises & Prayer Requests
  • Our certificates for our visa paperwork came right on time. Praise God!
  • Please pray for our final visa paperwork, our launch airplane ticket purchases and that we will not miss any details that need to be taken care of while still stateside.
  • We have been having a wonderful time with family and are so grateful for all their support and encouragement.
  • Please pray that we find an excellent location for our first apartment in the greater Tokyo area, where we want to study the Japanese language for 6-12 months.
  • Please continue to pray for our language learning opportunities. Understanding and speaking the language is crucial for long-term success in Japan.
We would love to hear back from you. You can email us at adventure@shoesatthedoor.net. We’re happy to pray for any prayer requests you might have, so please feel free to send them our way.

Thank you so much for your support!
Michael & Caitlyn Babienco
Career Missionaries
Adventist Frontier Missions