Alastair and Marlene Paterson are fresh to the field ACCI Missionaries, who have now been working in Japan for three years. They left their home in Brisbane, and are supported by Hope Centre Church and several others to minister to this largely unreached population. They share here the highs, lows and unexpected surprises of this journey!
Moving to Japan has been one of the most exciting and challenging experiences of our lives. We knew we had a missions call even before we were married, but over the years I guess we got stuck, caught up with mortgages, cars and life in general.
After visiting Japan to see some friends, God put it in our hearts to really seek Him about our future. And when we asked Him about Japan, He simply came back to us with ‘Give me one good reason not to go!’ We couldn’t come up with one!
The hardest thing about stepping out and moving to another country is leaving everything behind – family, friends, church and also our self-reliance! But the biggest single challenge for our family was how our children adjusted. As parents we made the choice to move, but our kids who were aged 5 and 3 at the time really had no idea what they were getting into. In hindsight, neither did we!
Despite our expectations of smooth riding, our eldest daughter struggled - the sparkle went out of her eyes, she became terribly homesick and lonely, and we could see her retreat into herself. She never complained but we knew she was hurting. Getting our daughter settled became a priority. The international school helped her find her feet again, and three years later we have learned to take things one day at a time.
So in moving to Japan we had to learn to prepare for the unexpected. Be flexible and trust God. Listen to each other, and take it slow.
The best part of moving to Japan for us is knowing 100% we are right in God’s will, living on the edge, living by faith, totally trusting in God every day. And God has also given us a whole new bunch of amazing friends and family to do life with.
The biggest single unexpected event for us was being asked to pastor an inner city Japanese national church with the Assemblies of God in Fukuoka, Japan. Fukuoka is a city of around 1.5 million people and services a population
around it of nearly 5 million. Our church is a family church reaching families and God has given us a core of young people with a heart for the lost. We are actively engaged in creative outreach in a number of different ways, including street outreach, English, and are about to start a youth style service. Our church is quite multicultural by Japanese standards, and also runs an international school with over half the students from outside the church!
Our heart is to work with the national church in Japan to see local churches rising up to present Jesus in a lively, contemporary way
that’s fun. Shortly, we plan to plant a church with a team in conjunction with the national church, and right now we have two possible areas in mind near Fukuoka. We’re excited to see what happens in the future!
To find about more about supporting the work of the Paterson family, click here.