Andrew and Jo, and their daughter Emily, left us at the end of 2012 to work in Japan. In 2015 Joanna gave birth to another daughter in Japan – Hannah.
Andrew is a ‘true-blue’ WSCCC kid – having transitioned from rowdy Sunday School kid, to awkward youth group teenager, to rowdy youth group leader, to eventually Youth and Young Adults Pastor and now finally missionary sent from the church.
Joanna grew up with the unique background of having gone to a Japanese international school in Sydney since primary school, and so has been studying Japanese most of her life. After marriage, they went on a short term mission trip to ex-USSR parts of Central Asia, studied at Sydney Missionary & Bible College before heading out with OMF International to serve in Japan.
Presently (January 2015) they are based in Sapporo, which is the largest city in the most northern island of Japan – Hokkaido. Winter there lasts five months and Sapporo is the snowiest major city in the world. Andrew is studying Japanese at the OMF International Japanese Language & Culture Center, whilst Joanna looks after Emily & Hannah, reaches out to other Japanese mums and takes part in university outreach ministry.
In mid-2015, Andrew will graduate from language school and they will relocate to Sendai where they will work with Sendai Evangelical Church, a church planted and presently pastored by OMF missionaries. In Sendai their main focus will be outreach to those who were affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
“To mark the two year anniversary of our arrival in Japan, we made a fun video for you all. In the video you get to see us all speak a bit of Japanese – including Emily!” Wongs
Note, the video was made in November 2014, so Emily states her age as being two. But she’s since turned three in December.
Prayer and Praise Points (February 2015)
- Joanna (just) passed the highest level (N1) for Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) – Phew! Praise God! But the language learning doesn’t just stop there. Pray for continual language learning. Now that Joanna’s been at home so much, she can already feel the Japanese ability getting a bit rusty!
- Life with a new baby is never easy, and as many parents would know – we’ve been losing sleep. Andrew has been particularly finding it hard to have the mental concentration to study now that he’s getting broken sleep. Please pray for adequate rest to enable us to function well throughout the day.
- Praise God that Andrew was able to go by himself and negotiate the local government offices and the Japanese immigration bureau to do relevant paperwork to register Hannah’s birth. Andrew was quite stressed at the thought of it all, and despite his poor language ability is very glad that it all worked out.
- Andrew’s mum and Joanna’s parents are presently staying with us here in Sapporo. It’s been wonderful having parents around to help with housework and giving Emily a chance to connect with grandparents. Pray for their safety as they negotiate the slippery conditions. Pray for good times together reconnecting as a family.
- Pray for Emily to adjust to new life as a big sister. Praise God that she has been adjusting well to the new routine.
- Andrew has recently started to experience some gastritis (inflammation in the stomach). It hasn’t been serious – just general discomfort. However, it’s a bit disconcerting to have to deal with a new illness. Please pray for healing.
- Pray for Andrew as he goes through the Bible course – pray for effective learning of Biblical language. Pray especially for his non-Christian teacher Mr. “High Forest”, that God might soften his heart as he attends church and goes through the Bible Course with Andrew.
- And as always, please continue to pray for a close walk with God in word and prayer.
Here are some links that will help you feel what Andrew and Jo are feeling:
- Why send missionaries to Japan?
- Nat and Anna (UK OMF missionaries) using carols to explain Christmas in Sapporo
- Video of an ex-Yakuza Christian pastor who runs a church reaching out to the Yakuza
- And don’t forget the March 11 disaster! Here is a video of Japanese pastors asking for help. So if you’re looking for ways to help, visit here.