We are missionaries to Japan, serving with the Evangelical Covenant Church. We first went to Japan as missionaries in 1993, but both of us were born and raised in Japan as missionary kids. Jim’s parents were Covenant missionaries in Japan from 1955~1993. Hydi’s parents were TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission) missionaries in Japan from 1961-1996. But the story goes back a bit further as Hydi’s grandparents were also missionaries in Japan, sent from Germany by the Liebenzeller Mission in 1928.
So, answering the question, “Where are you from?” tends to be a bit complicated for us. But, we are fortunate to have partial roots in many places, including Illinois. Hydi’s parents did graduate studies at Wheaton, her dad studied at the University of Chicago and the national office for TEAM, their sending mission, was in Wheaton. Jim’s dad did his undergraduate work at Wheaton and further studies at North Park, and as Covenant missionaries they were frequently back in the Chicago area. They were also blessed to be supported by the Glen Ellyn Covenant church for many years.
Even though we both come from missionary families, our parents never even suggested that we consider becoming missionaries. I guess they knew it needed to be a personal decision. In deciding to become missionaries, neither of us were really motivated by a desire to follow in the family footsteps or tradition. It was more about reflecting the gifts and abilities we had and then thinking and praying about where those gifts could be most effectively used for God.
We are blessed to have three wonderful kids who all grew up in Japan. Our eldest is Miles. He works and lives in Japan, is married to Miho and they have a beautiful son Gen, who is almost two. Miles is a backcountry skiing guide in the winter, a mountain climbing guide in the summer and is currently working on a Ph.D. in fisheries. Our daughter, Kendra, lives in Seattle and is a free-lance photographer and social activist. Our youngest, Eli, lives on the coast in Oregon where he and his wife Mandi are currently on an adventure as commercial clam divers in the Tillamook Bay. During the warmer half of the year Eli is a wild-land fire fighter.
Whether working or playing, we tend to be extremely active. Hydi plays tennis, competes in triathlons, trail runs and marathons, while Jim enjoys cycling, sailing, hunting and landscape photography. We both love mountain climbing as well and are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live deep in the mountains of Japan at a church owned camp facility.