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