Babienco Missions

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

We're Finally Living in Japan!

At long last, Caitlyn and I (Michael) are in Japan, not for a short, two-week trip, but for the long haul! It was quite the packing experience before we left; we ended up with ten checked bags, two backpacks, one carry-on suitcase, and a trombone. Fitting all that in our tiny Honda CR-V when driving away from Michigan for the last time was like playing a real-life game of Tetris. Thankfully, everything fit. We flew out from Dayton International Airport on November 6 and arrived at Haneda Airport in the early afternoon of November 7, local time. At the airport, we were met by a local pastor who had graciously offered us a ride to our first place of lodging, thus initiating another adventure — cramming all of our belongings into his van.

Once we arrived at the apartment building that houses our Airbnb, we took our suitcases two at a time up a tiny elevator to the thirteenth floor. We have a lovely little studio apartment where we will stay for a month while searching for a longer-term apartment. The apartment building is close to the train station, post office, and many stores, so the location has proven to be a great place to start. After many months of prayer, planning, work, and help from many of you in a variety of ways, we’re finally here!
Here we are with all of our many bags at Haneda airport.
Tasks Accomplished, Questions Answered
As I write, we’ve been in Japan for about two weeks. God has already blessed us as we have been able to accomplish many tasks, and we are very thankful for His handiwork in our arrival. We are also incredibly thankful for the previous experience we gained in our exploratory vision trip in February — it has made moving here so much smoother and more comfortable.

Here’s a summary of the sort of things we’ve been able to achieve and the experiences we’ve had.
  • The day after we arrived, we needed to register our Airbnb address as our first residence with the local city hall. To do so, we needed to get our marriage certificate translated. We found out about a new international exchange center nearby, and it was an excellent discovery. They were able to translate our marriage certificate within an hour for a small fee, and we learned how to write our names in katakana, one of the syllable-based scripts used in the Japanese language. (Michael is マイケル and Caitlyn is ケイトリン!) In any case, with our marriage certificate in hand, we successfully fumbled our way through our residence registration process at city hall.
  • Bank accounts were on our minds the following day. After a recommendation from the Japan Union Conference and some sleuthing online, we figured that opening a standard Japan Post bank account would be easiest. Once we filled out the forms online, we uploaded a PDF of them to the internet for printing at the nearest convenience store, then went out for the adventure at the nearest post office. Thankfully, this task was not much of a hassle, and the lady at the bank who helped us got the task done in about an hour. I now have a bank account, and because there are no joint accounts in Japan, we will open an account for Caitlyn sometime soon.
  • On our first Sabbath, we went down to the Kamakura SDA Church, which we attended during our exploratory vision trip in February. It was good to see people we recognized here, including the sister of Hiroko, our platinum missionary worker. It was a joy to worship with the members that Sabbath.
  • We start language school on November 27! The school was willing to start a Beginner 1 class soon after our arrival, and we are so thankful that we can start learning soon.
Thank you for all your support in helping us get here. The adventure has really only just begun. We’re excited to see what God will do!
The view from our Airbnb.
Social Media and "Slice of Life" Updates
For those who would like smaller updates outside our newsletters, we have started social media accounts for “slices of life.” You can find us on Instagram by searching for “babienco_missions” or on Facebook in a private group via a link we would happily share with you if you email us. If you prefer not to use social media, no problem — all the same content appears on our website at https://shoesatthedoor.net/media, and you can view it there at your leisure.
Praises & Prayer Requests
  • All of our luggage arrived safely with our belongings intact — this is a huge praise!
  • Please pray for us as we get settled and continue to learn about life in Japan.
  • We’ve been so grateful to God for helping us get through a lot of the initial paperwork for life in Japan.
  • Please continue to pray for our language learning. It’s an ever-present request, to be sure, but one that we will start seeing the fruits of very soon.
We would love to hear back from you. You can email us at adventure@shoesatthedoor.net. We are 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