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Month October 2017

Photo Update

Many things have happened in the last 4~5 months in the life of our family, one of which was going back to America for a few months. Here are some of the highlights of our trip (we forgot to take pictures at some of the places…we still loved our time there with awesome people!) and pictures from recent weeks after we came back to Toyosu.

I had an opportunity to preach/share what God is doing in Tokyo at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in San Diego (a generous church that has supported our new church planting work). I got to spend time with Hunter Powell (missions pastor) and Kevin & Jane Woo (my gracious hosts and a couple thinking about moving to Tokyo soon!). Thanks guys!!

Dave & Heidi Farly and their awesome boys. Dave and I used to serve together on staff at our sending church in Fairfax, VA. Now he leads Grace Christian Fellowship in Spokane, WA, and their church has been a very generous partner since the very beginning. I was so grateful for the opportunity to see them and share God’s Word with the church.

On the way to Seattle, we made a brief stop at Leavenworth. It was…interesting…

Our friends from VA now live in Seattle. Great time with Phil & Jessica Gallo and their children. Thanks guys for hosting our crazy family!

Hello DC!!

Emma’s family welcomed us at the airport. So good to see them and spend time with them for several weeks!

Great to be back with our family, Redeeming Grace Church in Fairfax, VA. No place like it. Our church planting partner Ian led the time of singing for us.

Our friends Peter & Joy Lewis and their kids opened their beautiful home to us. Grateful for their friendship and such gracious hospitality!

Nags Head, NC with “the Barn” folks. Such great memories from the previous years, and this year was no exception! Friendship, fellowship, food, fun, what great gifts from God…

One of the biggest challenges of being away from Tokyo was to keep our kids Japanese schooling going while being on the road. I think we survived…Maybe.

Matt & Julie Rawlings were there when Jesus first revealed Himself to me. Matt leads Redeeming Grace Church in Greenville, SC, and their church has been a great partner in the gospel with us since the beginning. So good to see them and their children. Thanks Aaron & Colleen for hosting me!

All the cousins…

Saying goodbye to Mom & Dad (Granny & Grandpa). Their help/support has been an incredible blessing to us. They came to see us off at 5am!!

Back in Toyosu. Simon Murphy and Mark Tapping (taking the picture) and their wives came to Tokyo to discuss further the idea of forming a family of like-minded churches in Asia to encourage/strengthen one another. Excited to see what the Lord will do in these relationships!

Weekly “Kids Games” Good to be back and have this opportunity to bless the kids and get some exercise!

I serve on the board of the PTA at our kids’ elementary school, and this year we’re busy getting ready to celebrate our school’s 70th anniversary. Hard to see it, but the picture is made up with the students.

Bi-weekly “Community Dinner” with our friends. It’s been encouraging to see the Lord bringing these people (mostly non-Christian friends) together to develop meaningful friendship. Praying for God’s blessing on these relationships!

I finally turned 30 (shhhhh!) and had a party with our friends. Grateful to God for these people we get to be in community with.

Finally, our church plant, Toyosu Community Church, began with the core group (our family and Ian & Chi Nagata) meeting weekly on Sundays. We sing, pray, and hear God’s Word together. We hope to start a regular gathering with others in the next several months. Please pray for God’s wisdom!

Introducing Ian & Chi

Starting a new church is not something Emma and I wanted to do alone, so we prayed many times for like-minded partners to work with. God has graciously answered our prayers in bringing us Ian & Chi Nagata! Some of our friends met Ian when he came and visited our home church, Redeeming Grace Church, in June during our itinerating in America, but I wanted to introduce them to people we were not able to visit this time. I’ve asked Ian to write a little bit about their journey below:


Hello! We are the Nagatas, partnering with the Sakaguchis in church planting here in Toyosu, Japan.

Chihiro (Chi for short) was born in Japan to a Japanese family, but grew up in New York, Australia, and her home town near Kyoto, following her dad’s work. She came to faith in middle school, attending a Christian international school, before attending college in LA. For the past five years she has been working for a British bank in Tokyo.

I (Ian) was born and raised in Los Angeles, a fourth-generation Japanese-American. Upon coming to faith at age 16, I soon became curious why there were so few Christians in Japan, and began to feel a burden for the country of my ancestry. Though it took 10 years, in 2012, I moved to Tokyo after serving on staff at my home church as a worship pastor for eight years.

Despite overlapping four years in LA, we didn’t meet until one fateful Sunday at our previous church in Tokyo. Last spring we got married.

Since then, we had been praying about partnering together with the Sakaguchis, and officially committed this past spring. Having first met Seita just months after he and his family arrived in 2014, we had been meeting periodically for fellowship, and to track where the Lord was leading us in ministry. Coming from very similar theological backgrounds, partnering seemed like a natural fit. Once we got to know Emma and the kids, that sealed the deal!

We are excited to serve together for His name, and for the people of Japan.

Chi and Ian Nagata