Latest news from the Snows in Japan
Latest news from the Snows in Japan
New Roles of Ministry for the Snows
After serving in Hokkaido for 30 years, from this summer we will transition to ministry in Okinawa, the southernmost region of Japan. These new ministries will change our everyday activities some, but still serve the overall goal of IM - to see souls won for Christ, and facilitating the multiplication of Japanese churches.

We recently enjoyed hosting some new friends !
We recently ejoyed hosting some new friends for some winter outdoor fun !

We first arrived in Hokkaido, Japan on August 21, 1992. After serving in the Capitol area of Sapporo for two years and completing a minor in missions, we were appointed as career missionaries in April, 1995. We returned and served there until 2012, planting the Miharashidai FWB Church. After a year of Stateside Assignment, we relocated to the city of Abashiri to minister in the unchurched remote areas of Eastern Hokkaido, and have ministered here until present.

  Throughout our career here, Linda’s primary ministry roles have been: classroom teacher, English conversation teacher, overseeing children’s ministries, event coordination, neighborhood outreach, hospitality ministry, and many others.

Nathan’s primary ministry roles have been: Church planting and Pastoral ministries, music, construction, event coordinator, disaster relief coordinator, various team and field leader positions, JEMA board member, VP, and President (currently position), JEA board member.

  For the last several years, Nathan has also served as President of JEMA (Japan Evangelical Missionary Association), of which IM (Japan) and 45 other Protestant missions are members, as well as many independent and tent-making Protestant missionaries. With a membership of over 1,100, JEMA’s ministries cover all regions of Japan, and as well as some international areas and ministries (including America) where outreach to Japanese people is present. As President of JEMA, he also serves on the board of JEA (Japan Evangelical Association), the national church network of Protestant Japanese church organizations and associations. His service to JEA also entails serving on their missions committee (home and foreign).
proud parents
graduation day for 9th graders
last days of school together
                                     Saying goodbye to snow-shoveling and frozen seas

Primary roles Nathan and Linda will have in Okinawa

Linda is a licensed (U.S.) elementary teacher. Besides being wife and mother of their three boys at home, her primary role will be teaching at OCSI (Okinawa Christian School International). Of the Pre-K through 12th grade student body of 500-600 students, approximately 80% of the students at OCSI are non-Christian.

  Nathan will continue to serve as President of JEMA. Until now, he has been pastoring and ministering in church-planting roles, as well as fulfilling the responsibilities of JEMA and JEA. Over the last several years, the growth of JEMA and its recent launch of new equipping ministries have increased the responsibilities of serving the greater missionary community.

JEMA’s mission statement says: JEMA exists to network and equip its members to make disciples for Christ.

Nathan’s primary role will be to focus on the ministries of JEMA. In so doing, the end results are better equipped, encouraged, spiritually and emotionally healthy church-planters spread throughout each region to establish vibrant church-planting churches in Japan.

While in Okinawa, the Japan FWB National Association has asked Nathan to survey the possibilities of future FWB work in Okinawa, as this is a new area for FWB. For the time being, even though the Snows will transition to Okinawa, Nathan will continue the pulpit ministry of the Abashiri FWB Church remotely (via internet).

Day to day ...

The Snows, along with their three teenage boys still at home – Noah, Josiah, and Isaac – maintain their desire and goal to reach Japanese for Christ. While in the initial two-year phase following the move, they are looking forward to building new relationships in the neighborhood and region in which they live. This is primary and paramount to sharing the gospel. Japan even has a word for it – “shinraikankei” (trust relationship). In other words, to gain someone’s ear, their heart must be able to trust you first. From having ministered in the remote areas of Japan for close to ten years, they find Japanese friendships natural and rewarding to invest in. Over the years, one of the main ministries of their family has been hospitality, and building those personal trust-relationships.

Nathan and Linda state, “We are very much looking forward to getting to know the Okinawans, and to find creative ways to introduce the love of Christ in this largely-unreached prefecture.”

    Here is an interesting excerpt from The Japan Times, one of the leading newspapers in Japan, on November 18, 2019:

…”according to regular surveys conducted by Okinawa Prefecture of elementary and middle school students… 25 percent of households in the prefecture with school-age children live in poverty. This does not, of course, cover senior citizens … A 2015 poll found that to be 29.9 percent.

Transition ...

Please be much in prayer for the Snows as they make this transition. It will no doubt be a challenging move. Although both Hokkaido and Okinawa are prefectures (similar to states in the U.S.) of Japan, the cultures are quite different. Pray for wisdom, for opportunity, and for a smooth transition for their family. Also, pray for the Snows’ missionary account. There will be some significant costs in moving such a distance.

By airplane, including the cost of one 44 pound suitcase allowed per person, the cost and distance for the two flights necessary to get there (Abashiri – Tokyo / Tokyo – Okinawa) would be approximately $300-$500 per person, depending on the season, and covers about 1,540 miles of air travel.

By ferry (two ferries), it involves:

375 mile drive to the first ferry – 9 hours / $75 highway tolls / $150 fuel

800 mile car ferry to the southern part of the main island of Honshu – 23 hours / $900 ferry fare

900 mile drive to the second ferry on the southern part of the island of Kyushu – 15 hours driving time / $200 highway tolls / $500 fuel

425 mile car ferry to Okinawa from the main island, making 5 port stops along the way – 25 hours / $2,000.00 ferry fare

25 mile drive to destination

Total approximatations: 2,800 miles by land and sea / $4,000.00 / 4-5 days

* drive times and ferry times (shorter drive, but 20 hour / 45 hour ferry trips, etc) may vary, depending on which way is cheaper. Driving will also give us a vehicle to have upon arrival.

But the good news is … you can get there from here !!!
This is the type of ferry we will use to transport our vehicle and family to Okinawa. It has 3-4 decks for vehicles - 6 to 8 lanes wide and the length of a two football fields. Various grades of cabin grades are offered, from sleeping on the floor, to a private bunk with curtain, to very expensive executive rooms.
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