"Joy House" Vision Project

Please Join with Us in a New Venture of Faith!

The Journey Has Begun...

Dear Friends,
We are excited to announce a new vision to reach more of our friends, neighbors and family for Christ in Japan. We are trusting God and stepping out in faith because we have already seen Him do amazing things to lead us to this point. Read more below to see how you can join with us!

As you know, our vision for years has been to evangelize and disciple, mainly through the context of one-on-one and small group relational ministry. In Japanese culture the phrase, "Actions speak louder than words," is multiplied by ten in importance! But this is actually a very good thing for the gospel!

Over the years Maki and I have seen the great impact that can be made by impacting a few individuals that can then go on and disciple others also. Instead of just adding converts, disciples can multiply themselves into more disciples resulting in much greater numbers of people reached and much more effective ministry in the long term.

After 14 years in this location, we have really begun to see the fruit of such a ministry vision! Through the disciples that we have led to Christ and trained through relationships over the years, these people, (combined with their disciples, and then their disciples etc.,) are making an impact on hundreds, perhaps thousands of people each year! Specifically, I can think of three of our men who are now leading as head pastors of their own churches or as heads of whole ministry organizations! (See the video here about two of these friends I discipled as college students, Alex and Nozomu)

Every year we see 3-5 people become new Christians (which is not many, but a lot for Japan!), but since they are raised up to know Christ over years of relational evangelism and discipleship, these 3 to 5 people often go on to impact those around them! We know of several more of these friends that are actively seeking to work through their churches and other ministries to impact Japan for Christ! -- So, to make a long story short our vision is to create an even BETTER environment for us to be able to have even more relational impact on those around us for Christ.

The vision plan is called, "Joy House". Usually, ministry happens in the course of everyday conversations and in the context of a relationship of trust. There are real conversations and because of it, people feel comfortable with us enough to trust and discuss heart issues. In the course of revealing God's Word real change happens! But because we live in an apartment, obviously we do not have much space for this, especially as our family has increased to five members. (It is way too small, and way too loud to be honest!)

Secondly, we do not have enough parking space for our guests.

Finally, we do not feel it is a wise use of ministry funds to rent our whole life when we can buy and also be able to help even more people at a larger, more inviting home base!

Now, in the past we have prayed for this opportunity but it had not been God's timing. The banks were not willing to give us a loan, and moreover, the prices were way over our budget! However, through prayer, God has answered in some miraculous ways! (Skip four paragraphs if you have already heard this story.)

First, God granted me favor as I sat down with a bank official and he listened to our vision for nearly two hours! Finally he said, "I want to help you with this!" -- As we were looking into buying some land again however, we saw that land in this area is just way too expensive.

One day while Maki was talking about how impossible it looked I suddenly said, "It may be impossible for us to buy land in this area, but if GOD wants us to be here, it is not hard for Him!" So we decided to pray about it that evening as a family.

We confessed that God had to do a miracle if He wanted us to pursue this. We told God again that we wanted to do all things for His greatest glory in our lives. We asked him to reveal His glory in this situation, and we again repeated our desires to get a home to expand our ministry effectiveness, both to our friends and to our own family. Two hours later we got a call from the real estate agent about a piece of land right outside our window(!), and just a few days ago we purchased the land from the owner!

The land is more than big enough and it is land which we can see every day from right outside our window! :) Amazingly, we were able to negotiate and purchase the land for about 1/2 of the price of a comparable sized land in this area! - All this to say, we have moved ahead as God has opened doors!

However, we are not out of the woods, so to speak, yet. We are still stepping out in faith to be able come up with funds to complete this project! Obviously, we do not want to waste money by paying lots for interest for 35 years on our loan (the current term). We also will have many extra expenses that need to be covered for us to complete a home that would be most useful to our ministry needs. For example, we will need some new furniture as the old furniture will not work for us in the new house; and the upkeep and taxes will be more than our current budget. That's why we are calling on you to take a step of faith with us!

Since Maki's dad is a carpenter, some of the expenses are going to be reduced. But since God has led this far, we feel an urgent need to start a fundraising drive by faith in order to make sure we can stay afloat financially.

The big challenge of faith that has come up for us is that the bilingual Christian school I teach at (where 70-80% of the kids are Japanese and not from Christian homes) has gone through some financial restructuring. As a result, as of April 2017, I will be losing nearly $8,000 in yearly income. Normally, a person would quit such a situation and look for work elsewhere. However, this is such a great ministry! I would teach for free here if I could do it! There is no place or ministry quite like it in all of Japan.

It is at KIU (the name of the school) that we have met so many young people and have begun those key relationships that I referred to earlier! It is here that I get to introduce kids to Christ and His Word from the time they are just little kids!

I teach science and English for 2nd to 5th graders, all the while introducing the Bible and the Christian worldview to kids who are not from Christian homes. These are the kind of young people that can (and are!) growing up to become Christian leaders!

So, may I ask you to pray about joining us financially and prayerfully in this venture of faith, in order to make God's Name and the gospel known in this land where less than 1% know Him and His Son, Jesus Christ?

Stepping out with faith in our BIG God with you!
Mark & Maki, Noah, Taka and Mia Wolter

p.s. We can't wait to see you again this summer! If you want to come and hear us speak, here is our schedule: July 24- St. Mark's Lutheran Church (in CR), July 31 - Nazareth Lutheran Church (in CF), August 7 - Oak Hill Baptist Church (in Humboldt). Since we will only be in America for a month, it may be difficult to meet otherwise! Please e-mail us if you have any questions or ideas: markinkyoto@gmail.com

p.p.s. For giving, make out your check to International Chapel Ministries, and send it to ICM / P.O. Box 10222 / Lancaster, PA 17605-0222 USA. Please write our names on the memo line. If you'd like to give automatically, please go to my blog and click the yellow icon on the right side: www.markandmaki.blogspot.jp
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Our Story

I (Mark) have been in Japan since 2000. In 2002, I joined International Chapel Ministries, with a desire and calling to be more involved in church-based ministry and to reach out to young people for Christ. I married Maki in 2005 and we have enjoyed a variety of ministries since! Our biggest desire in ministry is to reach this unreached people group for Christ by discipling individuals personally so that they can also become leaders for the future of the church in Japan!